Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) students took part in the EuroTeQaThon competition of European technical universities on the topic "Leave no Waste behind". The third EuroTeQaThon, this time, took place from the 10th to the 12th of June at the Czech Technical University in Prague. All 18 teams had to previously deal with the challenges and problems of companies or organizations during the spring semester studies at their home universities, to which solutions were sought as a team to contribute to a more sustainable future. Each university selected the top three teams to advance to the EuroTeQaThon finals. TalTech was represented by the teams chosen at the student project event TalTech Sustainable Futures held on May 19 - 4Evolution, TestWell and Culinary Course.
If previously the winners were chosen in the categories Energy, Cities and Consumption, this time the awards were given in the categories Impact award – the biggest potential for impact, Innovation award - most innovative solution and Launch award – a most feasible project to implement.
The impact award was won by the team from the Technical University of Munich, The Himalayan Legos, whose slogan was “Building a Waste-Wise Future and Cleaning up Ladakh Brick by Brick”. The accumulation of plastic waste generated by the massive influx of tourists in the Trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh, India, severely impacts both the environment and the local population. The aim of this project is to collect and recycle plastic waste into construction bricks for insulated housing to create a circular economy model for plastic.
The Eindhoven University of Technology team Space Junk Juggernauts won the innovation award, whose slogan was "Smarter solutions today, cleaner skies tomorrow!". The project aims to prevent cubic satellites in the low Earth orbit from becoming space debris. To this end, an affordable de-orbit system solution is proposed that uses a large, lightweight sail that increases the drag area, significantly reducing the time it takes for satellites to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.
The SoftAware team from the Technical University of Munich won the launch award, whose slogan was "Green code, green conscious". The project aims to provide an all-in-one online course to inform software developers about the waste (energy) generated by the code they write to use best practices and reduce the environmental footprint of the final product.
This year, the jury consisted of five specialists in the domain - Prof. Dr. Gerhard Müller (Senior Vice President of the TUM for Academic and Student Affairs), Prof. Zbynek Skvor (vice-rector of science and research at CTU), Søren Ammundsen (DTU Project Manager, Pilots at DTU Skylab), Katrin Arvola (Lecturer and Programme Director of International Business Administration and Management and Marketing at TalTech) and Bart van Grevenhof (Business Developer Student Entrepreneurship at The Gate, Brainport Eindhoven). Katrin Arvola said: “The work of a jury member was exciting and full of responsibility. All 18 teams had worked hard on their ideas, and it was not easy to choose the winners. However, through the presentation and the questions asked, it was possible to understand which teams have gone further with the development of their idea. The presence of a ready-made prototype or sample also provided added value. Although the role of the jury was to announce the winners in three categories, in fact, I dare to say that all the other 15 teams were also winners who gained valuable experience and whose innovative ideas will hopefully change the world for the better in the future.”.
EuroTeQ Collider is a challenge-based learning activity in which students are presented with challenges (incl. by research groups/businesses) in the field of sustainability, for which they then need to find solutions as a team. In order to solve real-life problems, interdisciplinarity, which is based on the knowledge of different fields and the ability to link them to the needs of society and the industry, is essential. Collider is a good opportunity to develop methodologies that support co-creation, innovation and the integration of science into the learning process.
EuroTeQ Engineering University is a 3-year collaboration project between a number of universities across Europe, which aims to set up systematic and sustainable collaborations in teaching activities. The project will establish joint study programmes across different disciplines, sectors, and national borders.