Strathclyde student teams make finals of sustainable engineering contest

The Mondulkiri province in Eastern Cambodia

Two teams of Strathclyde undergraduates have made it to the Grand Finals of the Engineering for People Design Challenge, run by Engineers Without Borders UK.

More than 11,000 university students take part in the competition, which aims to broaden awareness of the social, environmental, and economic impacts of engineering.

This year, the challenge community is set in the rural village Pu Ngaol in the forested hills of the Mondulkiri province in eastern Cambodia.

Reduce pollution

The Strathclyde team from Civil and Environmental Engineering includes third year students Cara Winterburn, Christopher Skinner, Hannah Tyndale, Michael Reid-Thomas, and Ruairidh Revill Hayward. Their design aims to reduce pollution and waste through an innovative solution which transforms plastic bottles into ropes.

The Design Manufacturing & Engineering Management team includes second year students Louisa Duncan, Evan Goldie, Isobel Tame, Jude Young and Jack Evans. Their project is focused on flood prevention during extreme weather, whilst enabling irrigation of fields throughout the year. A novel and easily deployable flood barrier was developed that can inflate into the desired size to fill gaps in the natural landscape, and deflate for storage when not required.  

Judging panel

On Friday 21 June the students will pitch their concept to a judging panel of academics, non-governmental organisations, Engineers Without Borders UK and industry experts at the Grand Finals in Manchester.

Since launching in 2011, more than 60,000 students have participated from institutions in Cameroon, South Africa, UK, Ireland, and the US.

The Engineering for People Design Challenge takes a project learning approach to support students in understanding their impact as engineers on both people and the planet. At Strathclyde, the challenge is now embedded into classes within three Engineering departments: Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Design Manufacturing & Engineering Management.

Environmental improvements

Through their studies, teams have been exploring opportunities for developments in and around Pu Ngaol that will improve environmental systems and people’s livelihoods. The top five teams from each university submitted their designs to a pool of more than 200 international reviewers.

The top 36 are then invited to present their ideas during the Grand Finals event.