Rise to the challenges

Jason Ford

News Editor

Inventors are urged to read on as Briefing outlines two calls for ideas that could see entrants’ innovations save lives or appear on national TV.

First up is the Aid Innovation Challenge, which is looking for a game-changing invention that will help the supply of humanitarian aid to those in developing countries.

The competition, launched by the organizers of October’s AidEx event in Brussels, is looking for solutions that assist with water and food aid; provide better medical care in rural or basic areas; improve communication or sanitation; or provide shelter for the homeless.

This isn’t, however, a definitive list of concepts and all ideas are welcome.

Entries, which should be submitted before 5pm on Monday 27th June, must either be in development or have been launched onto the market no earlier than January of this year. Prizes include a £2,500 grant to take the winning idea forward.  

Click here to find a full brief and entry form.

The Engineer has its own Aid Blog Posts. Follow these links to read the accounts of engineers bringing their professional skills to the front line of humanitarian aid.



Next up is a call for energy saving ideas from the producers of a Channel 4 TV show provisionally entitled Future Family.

Made in partnership with E.ON and scheduled to be shown later in the year, the show is a new five-part TV and web-based documentary series that will follow an average family as their lives and home are transformed by next-generation technology.

To make this work, entrepreneurs and innovators – as well as established manufacturers – are being asked to put forward products that could change the way energy is used in the home or improve everyday life with an outstanding invention.

In publicity material issued last week Jeremy Davies, marketing director of E.ON’s Energy Solutions Business, said: ‘It’s vital that everyone understands the importance of energy and that’s why we’re searching for cutting edge developments which will provide new and unique ways to help customers become more energy efficient.’

More information on the show, plus details on how to enter, can be found at this address: http://www.futurefamily.co.uk.

Here’s an idea that can be introduced into my rented flat that isn’t new and certainly won’t make interesting TV viewing. It would, however, likely save me a fortune in heating bills: it’s called double glazing.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change estimates that a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions comes from energy used to heat homes, of which three million are rented.

Luckily, the government’s Green Deal – announced last December in the Energy Bill to help householders buy into energy efficient technologies – provides scope for tenants to demand energy efficiency improvements.

According to ARLA (Association of Retail Letting Agents), the government has stated that it may introduce regulations to force landlords to improve their properties by 2015.

Furthermore, the government’s aim is for all properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G to be improved, although this is likely to provide a significant challenge for older properties. It remains to be seen whether there’s a ratings winner in a TV series about improving energy efficiency in Britain’s ageing housing stock.

In other news, G20 countries are meeting on nuclear energy issues in France, as part of efforts to learn from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan following the 11 Mar 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami.

The meeting comes ahead of the IAEA’s International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety on 20 June, when an initial assessment of the Fukushima accident and a preliminary review of the international response to the crisis will be presented.