Xylem launches student contest to solve water challenges
Surface water
Digital Solutions
Europe
Friday, 06 August 2021

Innovation contest connects students to four water challenges

A contest launched by Xylem is challenging students from 47 countries to solve four of the water industry’s biggest current and future challenges throughout 2021.

Solutions for water’s biggest challenges

A new contest launched by Xylem is challenging students from 47 countries to solve four of the water industry’s biggest current and future challenges throughout 2021.

Called the Xylem Global Student Innovation Challenge, it will see over 650 students addressing four water challenges over the course of eight weeks to develop solutions and projects.

The challenges include:

  1. Reducing the water footprint of everyday products
  2. Gamifying water quality education
  3. Urban flood prediction
  4. Water for life on Mars.

The competition has generated 103 final projects with three winners in each of the high school and university categories receiving cash prizes to the total of $20,000.

Contestants were able to submit solutions to one of four challenges and were given access to masterclasses for that category. They also received support from mentors across the water industry.

“Young leaders are playing such an essential role in our collective ability to solve the global water crisis facing us.”

Each project will be judged in three categories; impact, relevance & feasibility and innovation.

Projects will need to have a large market scope and consider the social impact of implementing their idea. They will also be accessed on their 'disruptive' nature, essentially is this an idea that will disrupt the current status-quo.

An essential role

Student focused water innovation contests are on the rise with Bloom Alert winning the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Water Innovation Prize for its analytics platform focused on coastal desalination.

Patrick Decker, Xylem’s chief executive officer, said: “Young leaders are playing such an essential role in our collective ability to solve the global water crisis facing us.”

He went on to say: "The future of water innovation is coming from many places, including students who are engaging passionately to help address our water challenges."

The contest is part of Xylem Ignite, the company’s student-focused development programme aimed at high school and university students globally. The programme has already seen 1,700 students from around the world take part in water-focused hackathons and sustainability events.

Why these four?

Xylem said the Innovation Challenge was designed to address the threats of “climate change, pollution, how ageing infrastructure threatens global water supplies and water security”.

To drive interest and enthusiasm for these mega-challenges, the company pitched the four challenges in a fun and creative way. For the water on Mars challenge, students are tasked with creating a plan to make life sustainable on Mars for 100 scientists, engineers and designers that will be arriving in the years to come.

“The Innovation Challenge was designed to address the threats of climate change, pollution, how ageing infrastructure threatens global water supplies and water security.”

Another challenge is to create a game to raise awareness to the public understanding of surface water quality and get people to protect their water resources.

These four challenges then aim to get young people involved in caring about their water in a fun and interactive manner, while generating solutions to water's biggest threats.

 


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