The theme of the brief for the competition, Sustainable Urban Solutions for Future Cities, aims to help improve people’s lives by developing useful initiatives that overcome obstacles to daily mobility, help people and goods move easily, safely and securely, encourage active mobility, connect communities together, and provide more efficient energy opportunities, plus many more.
The Ford Fund will be providing £22,500 of funding to support students who come up with sustainable, realistic and affordable urban mobility solutions which can make a difference to society. This is part of a wider partnership with the Ford Fund that has seen them donate nearly £250,000 to support initiatives across the University since 2012.
The Design students will work together in small teams to submit their proposals later in the academic year, which will be judged by a mixture of Ford, University and community representatives.
Three teams in the competition will be listed as finalists, each being awarded £5,000 to support the initial stages of project implementation, with the overall winning team being provided with an extra £7,500 to follow through with their proposal.
Debbie Chennells, Fund Manager at Ford Motor Company, presented to students at the launch event which took place on Wednesday 21 November.
Of the competition, she said: “At Ford, we’re all about making people’s lives better through innovation and access, so we really thought this would be a lovely way of helping the community through the lens of mobility by engaging the students in something that is fun and creative.
“I’m really excited to have the Design students involved. It’s slightly different to what we’ve done before and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with.”
Dr Val Mitchell, a Senior Lecturer based within the Design School, added: “This is a great project for our students. They’ll be developing a range of new skills, and will learn more about business and enterprise too.
“Not only will they providing a solution to a problem, but also something that will probably be making a real difference, and I think that will really motivate them throughout.”
The launch comes after Jim Vella, President of the Ford Fund visited the University last month to see the huge impact that their support has had over the last six years.
They have supported a number of projects at Loughborough, including Formula Student – an international, extracurricular activity where students design, build and race their own racing car.
They have provided Blue Oval Scholarships to 14 students across the institution, who have each received £10,000 in financial support annually during their degree programme. Last year, Ford also awarded a prestigious Alan Mulally scholarship to an engineering student at the University, being one of 10 students worldwide and the only student within the UK to be given the accolade.
Furthermore, for the last two years Ford have worked with the University to organise a residential trip at Loughborough for over 50 Year 10 and 11 female students to encourage them to study and work in STEM-related areas as part of the ‘Girls into STEM’ project.