The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) are inviting students to solve real life agricultural problems in a series of new competitions.
Three individual challenges are being set by the organisations, each looking at a particular aspect of 21st century agriculture: living in an automated world, soil and water management, and crop storage. Entry is free and open to all students under the age of 35 at UK universities, with a deadline for submissions of April 1 2016.
“The collaboration came about as part of a discussion between ourselves and the CEO of the IAgrE,” Megan Phipps, head of Design and Production Sector at the Institution of Engineering and Technology told The Student Engineer.
“Together, we recognise the importance of engaging with young professionals and academia and want to highlight the role of engineering and technology within the food security question. The student competition provides an exciting opportunity to increase engagement while also looking to solve some real world engineering challenges through creative and innovative design solutions. We would encourage all students to get involved and try to help resolve these real-world issues.”
The first challenge will ask undergraduates to develop technologies that produce food with minimal human intervention or supervision, employing recent advances in drones, robots, autonomous vehicles and AI. In the second challenge, students are being tasked with creating new soil and water management solutions that will improve availability and management of resources. Lastly, the crop storage challenge will push students to find new ways to mitigate against the loss of crops, something that can affect up to half the harvest in developing countries according to the organisers.
A panel of judges from the IET and IAgrE will select the top three challenge entries in each category to go through to the final, where the entrants will then present their ideas in front of a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style panel. Overall winners will receive a Macbook, with trophies presented to the best in each category at a winners’ lunch.
For further information, FAQs and application forms, visit the competition website.