Two student teams reach Engineering Design Challenge National Final
09 July 2018
The award-winning initiative, delivered by Engineers Without Borders UK, gives students the opportunity to learn and practice the ethical, environmental, social and cultural aspects of engineering design.
In 2018, over 6,000 students from 28 Universities from the UK and Ireland were challenged to solve real world problems faced by residents in Kibera, Kenya. The creative solutions proposed by LSBU students resulted in two teams being shortlisted for the final 36 at the Grand Finals, held at the one of the most sustainable buildings in the world, the Crystal in London.
LSBU’s Sava Otasevic, Samuel Mitchell and Jerome Graves, students on the BEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering course, secured their place in the semi-final for their innovative mycelium farm which creates new, usable material by repurposing organic and agricultural waste products. The material is water resistant, fire retardant, durable and environmentally friendly. The project empowers the entrepreneurial spirit within the community and will create local jobs with the aim to develop the Kiberan community into the world-leaders for mycelium solutions.
LSBU’s Besrat Mekonnen and Husam Mohammed, students on the BEng Computer Systems and Networks, and BEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering courses, were also shortlisted in the semi-final for their water sterilisation and filtration design, the Alum Water Filter. Their design uses a natural substance, alum sulphate, to sterilise dirty water. It is then purified using a clay and sawdust construction. It’s simple, easy to build, child friendly and requires low maintenance. Pottery was also selected as the production method due to its stress reduction effect and to promote self-esteem building for the people creating the pots.
The students pitched their ideas to an esteemed panel of judges, including Chadwick Professor UCL, Nick Tyler, and Private Sector Development Advisor at the Department for International Development (DfID), Matt Rees.
Sava Otasevic, first year LSBU student, said: “The design challenge was a unique experience for me. Thanks to the overwhelming support from our teaching staff, we earned ourselves a place in the Grand Finals, representing LSBU and competing against some of the top universities in the country. Even though the competition has now ended, it has inspired my team to further develop our project in the hope that we will be able to start our own business.”
Alessio Corso, LSBU’s Senior Lecturer in LSBU’s School of Engineering, said: “Engineering is pivotal to human development. Humanity is facing global challenges like water and food shortages, lack of adequate shelter, energy crises and infrastructure limitations. Engineers will help to conceptualise innovative solutions to these problems, and will be central to their implementation. We are the levelling spirit that works hard to balance the pressures that the world faces daily.
“Our engineering programmes at LSBU understand this and ensure that real-world challenges are central to the curricula that we teach. I am beaming with pride at how well our students presented their ideas; demonstrating creativity, innovation and professionalism at the National Finals.”
Sam Scurlock, Programmes Administrator and Interim Education Projects Manager at Engineers Without Borders UK, added: “Once again we were really impressed by the standard of the entries to the 2018 Engineering for People Design Challenge. With only one place guaranteed for each university, LSBU should be exceedingly proud, taking not one but two places by securing an additional wildcard entry by scoring two of the highest scores in the preliminary round. The competition has the best young engineering minds in the country battling it out so to have two teams go through is a real achievement.”