A multidiscplinary team of undergraduate students has been selected to represent the UK in the Global Grand Challenges Summit in Washington DC this summer.
The competition, run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, is a seven-month programme of challenge-led innovation, design and business development, culminating in the chance for five teams to attend the final summit.
They are wonderful ambassadors for Heriot-Watt University, traversing disciplines and schools, year groups, and representing four nationalities between them. This group truly embody Heriot-Watt's vision of global excellence.
Teams are asked to enter their own, original ideas for a solution to a global grand challenge. 20 teams were selected to take part in a two-day workshop in London in March, honing their ideas for a final pitch to Royal Academy Fellows.
Heriot-Watt University was the only institution to have two teams selected to take part in the workshops.
The ‘Skoon Maji' team, (meaning ‘Clean Water' in Africaans/Swahili), convinced the judges that their three-stage filtration process, utilising local, natural and recycled materials, should be taken to the next stage. It is designed to run at low-cost with low-maintenance for use in marginalised areas.
In preparation for the trip to the US this summer, the finalists will be attending a Business Development Bootcamp with Marcius Extavour from XPRIZE in London in May.
Alex MacLaren, an assistant professor in the school of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS), is the academic mentor for team Skoon Maji.
McLaren said:“We're incredibly impressed by this group of young undergraduates, who have led this initiative themselves throughout.
"Their performance at the pitch session was extraordinary. They are wonderful ambassadors for Heriot-Watt University, traversing disciplines and schools, year groups, and representing four nationalities between them. One of their group began his studies on our Malaysia campus; and their ‘support team' for the pitch event included a student here on exchange from a US university. This group truly embody Heriot-Watt's vision of global excellence.”