Stratchclyde student wins award for Gambia energy project

A Strathclyde University engineering student has graduated a week after winning an international award for his work on sustainable energy in Gambia.

David Smith won the IMPACT Award for Best Student Mobility Experience from education technology company QS Unisolution. The award was made for his work on developing remote monitoring systems for off-grid energy systems in the West African nation, as part of Strathclyde’s Gambia Solar Project.

56 solar module

The device will enable academics and students to monitor the solar photovoltaic systems they have installed in village schools and clinics in Gambia from Glasgow, thereby enabling them to analyse system performance remotely and offer advice on repairs.

David, who studied in Strathclyde’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, received his award at a conference in Valencia and has now gained his MEng degree in Computer and Electronic Systems.

David said: “It’s been fantastic to receive this award and it was an exciting experience to go to the ceremony in Valencia.”

“I was originally involved in the Gambia project in my second year at Strathclyde. I was part of a team which went there to install an early prototype of monitoring systems designed by students.”

“Going to Gambia made a real impact on me and the experience showed how important this project is. I went back to it alongside a group of peers for my final year project and developed the monitoring system, which worked through the cellular network, transmitting data back to the Strathclyde campus.”

“We’re hoping to get monitors put in in place in Gambia, to enable the maintenance and repair of the energy systems.”

Michelle Craig, head of sales and marketing at QS Unisolution, said: “David’s entry truly reflected the essence of the IMPACT Award. His story impressed the panel, particularly in relation to the long lasting effects his mobility will have personally, academically, culturally, for future employment and most of all, on the lives of others.”

“We wish David a continued success and hope the University of Strathclyde continues their great support in international mobility.”

David will be retaining a Strathclyde connection after his graduation, when he takes up a post with Smarter Grid Solutions, a spinout company from the University.

David’s award was made by QS Unisolution for “best student mobility experience” and acknowledges the University’s role in the “organisation, management and support of international educational experiences.”

David’s work in Gambia was carried out via the University’s Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) teaching programme, which allow academics and research staff to bring together undergraduate students from different disciplines and years of study to collaborate and address large-scale and complex research challenges throughout their time at University.

Further information on the QS Unisolution Awards can be seen at: