A team of students from the University of Plymouth will be travelling to an international summit in Washington DC after impressing judges with their vision of how to eradicate the global slum crisis by 2030.
The quartet entered a contest organised by the Royal Academy of Engineering, in which they were tasked to develop a solution to a global challenge using engineering expertise.
They will now present a poster outlining their idea at the Global Grand Challenges Summit in the United States, where they will be up against other students from the UK, US and China.
The Plymouth team comprises Sri Kalidass (Stage 3 BEng Marine Technology, Claire Morrison (Stage 1 BEng Civil and Coastal Engineering), George Mustoe (Stage 1 BEng Civil Engineering) and George Norcott (Stage 1 BEng Civil Engineering).
Their project – focusing initially in Africa and Asia – uses artificial intelligence and a database management system as a means to streamline the international aid process in a sustainable manner.
It aims to ensure monies designed to reduce poverty and improve the wellbeing of slum people reach those most in need, enabling them to access basic services like water, sanitation and healthcare.
Sri Kalidass said:
“It is very exciting to have won this stage of the competition, and we are all looking forward to representing the UK at the Global Grand Challenges Summit. It has given us the chance to use skills from our courses – such as problem-solving and pitching – and I am sure the trip will give us new experiences which we can apply going forward.”
The Global Grand Challenges Summit is the third in a collaborative series sponsored by the US National Academy of Engineering, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
The 2017 Summit aims to inspire the next generation of engineers, policy makers and the public to address critically important engineering challenges and opportunities facing humanity.
For the competition, the teams had to create ideas which took into consideration the Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations.
And before being selected to go to Washington, they had to go through a series of rounds, including a two-day workshop in London in March.
“The slum crisis might seem a complex problem, but all the possible solutions already exist. However, it is our opinion that because of improper strategies and planning it is increasing day by day, and that is what our solution hopes to overcome. All along we have said the most important part of this competition is not for us to win, but for people to see our idea, and for it to hopefully win the hearts of people living in poverty all over the world. We really hope the concept we have developed will change the lives of people around us.”