Playground for ideas

Three of the winning concepts last year were synthetic meat, innovative breast pumps as a healthcare innovation, and inexpensive storage for sustainable energy. This year, the dean has once more challenged the students, and the fruit of their efforts can soon be enjoyed.

2017.10.04 | Amalie Tromborg Thaysen

The Dean’s Challenge is being held for the third year in a row, and the kick-off event on 5 October marks the beginning of twenty-four challenging days in this innovative case competition. It involves teams with at least one Science and Technology student coming up with the best solutions to the major global challenges we face today. They can thus benefit by working in an interdisciplinary team of students from other faculties or even from the business sector. There is something for every taste in the three different main areas – FOOD, HEALTH and CLIMATE/ENERGY, where the winner of each area is rewarded with DKK 10,000. All the contestants are judged on their ideas by a panel made up of this year’s affiliated companies – ENORM, Oticon and LEGO. Representatives from the companies will assess the ideas submitted in their area, and will join the panel of judges in the final of the Dean’s Challenge, along with Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen, Science and Technology.

“The top talents of tomorrow have to be educated now. Societal challenges and technological megatrends with the potential to change the world we know are just around the corner. As dean of Science and Technology, it’s a great pleasure for me to challenge our fantastic students to turn their acquired skills into solutions to some of the great challenges of the future.
The Dean’s Challenge is not only an academic opportunity for the students, but also a chance to establish ties with the business sector, where a number of last year’s winners were subsequently invited to interviews with the participating companies. On a personal level, I look forward to seeing the innovative solutions that will be presented and, as dean, I wish all the competitors a great time with some exciting and academically challenging weeks in October,” says the dean.

“The Dean's Challenge encourages the competing students to take a step back from their everyday study activities, and put everything into relief regarding specific societal challenges,” explains Marie Cecilie Vinther, chair of the NOVA student association. She and the dean are responsible for organising the event.

“In a way, it’s about allowing the drive shared by many of the students here at Science and Technology to find solutions to some of the problems of the future. The Dean’s Challenge provides an opportunity to put theory into practice, and to try out some of the ideas they run into in their studies. They can spend the three weeks concentrating on an academic network, and studying and refining a knowledge-based idea. They also get hands-on experience with innovation processes during their studies. In addition, the students have an opportunity to get feedback from some of Denmark’s largest companies, which is an added value for the competitors,” she says with a smile.

If you are interested, the team behind the Dean’s Challenge 2017 would like to invite you to meet the budding ideas in science, and experience the proposals for innovative solutions to the dean’s challenge. The final takes place on Friday 6 November at 15.00–19.00 in the Peter Bøgh Lecture Theatre, Finlandsgade 21, 8200 Aarhus N.

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