UCD team wins prestigious ESB Inter-Colleges Challenge 2020

University College Dublin students Aoife Cunningham (from Kildare), Scott Mulligan (Dublin), Allannah Duffy (Mayo) and Benjamin Fitzpatrick (Dublin) will represent Ireland at the international engineering and commerce competition, ENGCOMM 2021 after their team won this year’s ESB Inter-Colleges Challenge.

UCD pulled ahead in the grand final against stiff competition from Queen’s University Belfast and Cork Institute of Technology.

The teams were tasked to set out a vision for Ireland’s hydrogen economy in 2030 with a specific focus on transport and moving the country’s freight sector to net-zero carbon emissions – as the adoption of hydrogen will play a role in Ireland’s transition to a clean energy future.

The winning UCD team (pictured in the attached) will be presented with the prestigious McLoughlin perpetual trophy at a later date – in line with Covid-19 protocols. They were coached by Associate Professor Aisling Ní Annaidh (Wicklow) who won her third ESB Inter-Colleges Challenge, following victories in 2014 and 2015.

They will now represent Ireland at the international case competition, ENGCOMM 2021, which will take place virtually next February, where they will compete against other worldwide universities.

ESB Inter-Colleges Challenge 2020 took place online for the first time due to Covid-19 restrictions, over the course of two days on Thursday 19th November and Friday 20th November as 36 students from nine colleges across Ireland pitched their creative solutions to an expert panel of judges.

Participants were tested over a full range of engineering, financial, marketing and team working skills. Other winners on the day included Waterford Institute of Technology for Best Technical Solution and last year’s overall winners, Technological University Dublin for Best Commercial Solution.

Following the event, Marguerite Sayers, ESB’s Executive Director, Customer Solutions said: “The quality of the work undertaken by each of the teams over the two days demonstrates their ability to think critically and creatively about the challenges facing Ireland and the energy sector in the transition to a low carbon future. Each team worked incredibly well together in different circumstances this year as our event took place online for the first time due to Covid-19.

“I was hugely impressed by the novel solutions to the challenge that each team pitched to the expert panel. I would like to thank all teams for their participation and wish UCD the best of luck as they represent Ireland on the international stage at ENGCOMM 2021.”