Last year’s competition saw 7 entries, 3 winners and 1 highly commended entry, all of whom are taking their ideas forward towards implementation in different ways.
‘Herd’ was crowned the champion of the 2019 Ford Fund Smart Mobility Challenge, receiving £12,500 in total. Herd is a community-focused platform designed to support those experiencing a crisis in their area – such as a flood - significantly affecting their home, their loved ones, or their own health.
Two other recipients of a £5,000 prize were ‘Ubag’ – a sustainable user-to-user service that delivers and stores travellers’ bags safely so they can have a hands-free journey, and ‘Trove’ - a digital platform that makes a community’s worth of books available at your fingertips for free across a variety of public places.
Over £24k was invested in students and their ideas, and you can read more about the winning entries here.
The 2020/21 challenge runs across several weeks and this year will run entirely virtually, with scheduled online workshops aimed at providing support for student teams such as connecting them with stakeholders and user groups, as well as advising how to rapidly generate ideas, how to prototype potential solutions, and how to pitch ideas.
Student teams can comprise 3 – 6 people, and with groups comprising different specialisms traditionally being highly successful, interdisciplinary participation across the University is encouraged.
Dr Stuart Cockbill says that:
"The Ford Fund Smart Mobility Challenge is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate, postgraduate and research students across the University to engage with an exvciting and challenging design brief. It gives students the chance to tackle real-world issues 'in the wild' by collaboratively designing with our local community. Experiences like this greatly enhance the employability of our students allowing them to demonstrate their ability to research, ideate and deliver innovative solutions to real-world problems."