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Middlesex University students crowned winners of the Design Challenge 2016

Institution News Team

Winning team Middlesex University
Winning team Middlesex University

Engineering students from Middlesex University won the Institution's Design Challenge 2016 at the National Finals held at One Birdcage Walk on 7 October 2016.

The Design Challenge Competition provides undergraduates with a taste of the ‘real world’ of engineering by challenging them to design and create a device to a strict technical specification. The competition also aims to enhance students’ practical experience, complementing their theoretical knowledge in order to provide them with an edge when it comes to securing employment. 

Six university teams qualified as regional finalists: Middlesex (Greater London), Sunderland (North East), Manchester (North West), Bournemouth (Wessex), Coventry (West Midlands) and Huddersfield (Yorkshire). The final event was a buzz of activity as the competing teams went through the various elements of the Challenge with great enthusiasm. Bournemouth and Middlesex inched out the rest in the first half of the Challenge to become finalists.

Aleksandar Zivanovic, Team Leader of Middlesex University, said: “The competition required our students to follow the complete design engineering process, from concept through design and implementation to operation. They worked really hard as a team to develop their device and were successful on the day. The experience will stand them in good stead as they develop their engineering careers."

Middlesex University's winning device
Middlesex University's winning device

Dr Colin Brown, the Institution's Director of Engineering, said: “We set up the Design Challenge to show first-year students that their academic studies had real life application. We want to build on their interest to study the subject into an interest to subsequently follow an engineering career.  

“The Challenge adds the further real life experience of competition and highlights the need to perform on the day. The winning teams are invariably the ones who have taken the most professional and structured attitude to solving problems. They give us great confidence for the future of engineering in the UK.”

The competition involved five elements:

  1. Working in a team to design, build and test an electrically-powered line launcher to simulate transferring of materials or goods between ships on the high sea
  2. Competing with other teams to produce the most accurate device. This involved line launching a squash ball from a range of six metres to hit a target grid. The winner of this element is the team that achieves the most accurate shot
  3. Producing a poster to explain and publicise the team’s work
  4. Delivering a presentation explaining the rationale for the team’s work
  5. Facing an assessment to determine the ‘best’ design
Middlesex University with runners up Bournemouth University
Middlesex University with runners up Bournemouth University

The President of the Institution, Jon Hilton, awarded the participants their certificates and the winners their trophy. Dr David Ball, founder of the Challenge, was also present and adjudicated the day’s events.

The Design Challenge is an annual student competition conducted regionally with the National Finals held at the Institution’s headquarters and is now open for entries for 2017.


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