A project aiming to improve water treatment plants; a helmet that filters polluted air and takes samples to gather data about air quality; a robot that gathers data about microplastics in the oceans; and an app to mitigate the exposure of runners to pollution. These are some of the innovative solutions developed by students from Esade, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTech (UPC) and the Instituto Europeo di Design (IED Barcelona) within the framework of the 10th edition of the Challenge Based Innovation (CBI) program, a venture promoted by @IdeaSquare and the Innovation Department at the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) to encourage multidisciplinary teams of students, in conjunction with the teaching and research staff of several entities, to develop new solutions for the future of humanity.
This year’s CBI, within the framework of the EU ATTRACT Academy, has focused on SDG 3.9.1 concerning the reduction of deaths and illnesses caused by air pollution, SDG 11.6 related to the reduction of the environmental impact of cities; SDG 14.1, the reduction of ocean pollution; and SDG 14.3, reduction of the acidification of oceans.
Specifically, 8 university teams consisting of 43 students (between 21–49 years) from 14 different nationalities ― studying the Esade (full-time MBA) programmes, the UPC Telecom Engineering and Electronic Engineering bachelor’s degrees, and the IED Barcelona Master in Design Management ― worked for 15 weeks on the startup prototypes to address the challenge of air and water pollution using specific CERN technologies assigned to them, such as IALL, SNIFFIRDRONE, PiPe4.0 and H3D-VISIOnAiR.
Indian students, who are enrolled in the MBA programme in Esade participated in CBI and completed the projects that will help in creating a greener environment.
Student: Tushita Sethi from Bangalore
Participated in 5 Feynmans - The Delhi case
The project was based on a systematic approach aimed at reducing emissions from 2-wheelers through an EV transition plan. To engage the drivers on the roads in Delhi, the team developed a helmet that filters polluted air and gathers samples to obtain data on road air quality. Tushita was involved in the Delhi case study that aimed at improving driver safety, providing updated data about air pollution through an app, encouraging drivers to make the transition, and using the gathered data to draw up action plans.
Student: Simran Ahuja from Mumbai
Participated in Maxwell - oil spills
Simran and her team focused on the detection and monitoring of oil in contaminated areas. By monitoring and detecting oil spills in the Niger Delta and other parts of the African continent, they developed a system that involved SNIFFIRDRONE technology with other gas detectors in order to detect and monitor oil spills early.
Student: Ankit Rawat from Pune
Participated in The Bridgeman's - detecting microplastics in the air
Ankit worked with Infosys in Pune and Sweden before enrolling for an MBA in ESADE. He participated in the project on the detection of Microplastics existence in the air. The invisible tiny particles and fibres of plastics are putting our health at risk, especially our respiratory system. The team decided to focus and dedicate the project to research and offer a solution for textile factory workers in Vietnam. The country has 1.5-2 million workers in the textile industry and the social impact of this project can benefit their health, families, financial stability and rights. The team aims to collect data related to microplastics, factories and global brands working with them will take responsibility and make sure to protect their employees from overexposure to Microplastics.
Student: Dhruv Agarwal from Mumbai
Participated in The Curietors - Algae Blooming
Driven by entrepreneurial spirit, Dhruv worked with several startups in India. He completed the Nutri Clean initiative designed to upgrade water treatment plants across Europe. The solution addresses the pressing problem of nutrient overload in marine ecosystems resulting in harmful algal blooms creating dead zones in waterbodies. This initiative uniquely blends existing water treatment technologies with a state-of-the-art monitoring device, ensuring optimal plant performance. Targeting the EU's 2045 goal for 100% tertiary water treatment (excess nitrogen and phosphorus removal), Nutri Clean stands as a leap towards environmental sustainability and economic efficiency in water management.