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Engineers Without Borders UK, Engineering for People Design Challenge 2024

Monday, 24 June, 2024

The School of Civil Engineering incorporates the EWB UK Engineering for People Design Challenge into its Creativity in Design module, taken by all 320 first year engineering students, along with elective students.  This year two of our Creativity in Design teams were selected to compete in the Engineering for People Design Challenge 2024 Grand Finals, in Manchester Stoller Hall.  We are delighted to announce that the team who designed an affordable solar integrated purification system were crowned the winners!  The SIPS team members are:

  • Barbara Ziarnowska (Engineering)
  • Alicia Brennan (Engineering)
  • Lorcán Martin (Engineering)
  • Cian Ginest (Engineering)
  • Arthur Daley (Liberal Arts and Sciences)
  • Vincent Bradford (Engineering)

We congratulate the team on their fantastic win, and also thank Sarah Cotterill (Creativity in Design Module Coordinator) and Keith Finglas (External Contributor to Module), for their work in bringing the 52 first year engineering teams through the Challenge.  Thanks also to the Innovation Leadership module students, who very successfully facilitated the first year Creativity in Design studio sessions during the Autumn Trimester.  We thank Puneeta Sreenivas (PhD student in Civil Engineering) for her work during the Spring Trimester supporting our five (of the 52 teams) shortlisted teams as they prepared their submissions to EWB UK for consideration for invitation the Grand Finals in Manchester.  Finally we thank Sue Philpott (College Office Director) and Professor Aoife Ahern (College Principal), for their support through bursaries for the selected team members from the College Student Fund, which allowed the team members to travel to Manchester.  We are very grateful to all of the donors to the College Support Fund for the many ways in which their donations support our students.

See below a photograph of the team below at the Grand Finals, and read the account of their experience in Manchester.

Team Winners L to R: Arthur Daley, Vincent Bradford, Lorcán Martin, Cian Ginest and Barbara Ziarnowska.  (Not in photo: Alicia Brennan)

Team Winners L to R: Arthur Daley, Vincent Bradford, Lorcán Martin, Cian Ginest and Barbara Ziarnowska.  (Not in photo: Alicia Brennan)

“We were incredibly proud to represent UCD this year at the EWB Engineering for People Design Challenge Grand Finals, which focused on addressing the multitude of problems faced by the village of Pu Ngaol in Cambodia.  Engineering students from around Ireland and the UK were tasked with choosing a problem area to address, and our team was thrilled and honoured to compete at this event.  Our team chose to focus on water, as we recognised that access to clean water in Pu Ngaol is unfortunately not a given.  This and many other reasons inspired us to create SIPS, our Solar Integrated Purification System.  SIPS initially particle filters the water using local materials to ensure accessibility and affordability, and then it uses the SODIS process to purify any contaminants.

Participating in the Grand Finals was an incredible experience.  Each team pitched their designs to a panel of judges who are experts in their respective fields, which in our case were experts in water purification.  Our 3-minute pitch was followed by 5 minutes of rigorous questioning.  After deliberations, the judges selected toe top six teams to present their pitch in front of the entire audience on stage at The Stoller Hall.  We were thrilled to be chosen as one of the top six teams, and presenting our design to the audience and the second round of judges was a testament to our hard work and dedication throughout the year.

During the event, we had the opportunity to network with industry professionals and make valuable connections that will undoubtedly be important for our future careers.  After the pitches and ore questions from a wider panel of judges, we were delighted to be announced as the First Prize Grand Final winners.  This achievement awarded our team a £2,000 educational bursary and the opportunity for our design, SIPS, to be integrated into Pu Ngaol to provide safer, cleaner, and more affordable water to the community.

Winning first place was an incredible achievement that we could not have reached without the support and encouragement provided to us.  The competition was a fantastic learning experience, teaching us about engineering design, sustainability, and the value of effective teamwork.  More importantly, we learned the importance of empathy and the impact that our engineering can have on real-world problems.  This experience has been transformative for us as a team, especially at such an early stage in our degrees.  Throughout the entire journey, we had a remarkable opportunity to grow both as aspiring engineers and as individuals.

We are extremely grateful for the support that we received throughout this project.  Representing UCD at such a prestigious event has been a privilege, and winning this title is a significant accomplishment for our team.  We would like to thank everyone who supported us along this journey; your time and effort on our project has been truly invaluable.

We look forward to seeing SIPS make a meaningful impact in Pu Ngaol and beyond.”

Well done to Barbara, Alicia, Lorcán, Cian, Arthur and Vincent on your wonderful achievement!

Contact UCD School of Civil Engineering

University College Dublin, Newstead, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
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