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NAE selects OSU team to represent U.S. at the 2019 Global Grand Challenges Summit

Monday, June 17, 2019

OSU's Grand Challenges team members are (from left) Christian Griffith, Muwanika Jdiobe, Angela Peter and Jackson Moore.

The U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) selected an OSU team among five teams and an alternative team to represent the United States in a business plan competition at the 2019 Global Grand Challenges Summit in London on September 12-18, 2019.  This is the first time OSU has been selected at this level. 

The summit is a collaboration of the NAE, the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE).  Each Academy is selecting five student teams tha twill propose an innovation or novel approach for addressing aspects of the theme of this year’s summit, “Engineering in an Unpredictable World.”  The teams will convene in London to compete, and then will be reassigned on-site to mixed country teams for additional challenges. 

The team includes Christian Griffith, mechanical and aerospace engineering; Muwanika Jdiobe, mechanical and aerospace engineering, Jackson Moore, mechanical and aerospace engineering; and Angela Peter, chemical engineering.    

The team is tackling the challenge of sustaining a global population of 10 billion, which the United Nations says will be reached by 2050.  They are developing an innovative technological system that increases yields and reduces input costs and waste for farmers.  This system employs sensors that collect data from farms, transmitting it to a data hub for processing, and communicating that information back to individual farmers. 

“Being a part of this competition is great,” said Jdiobe.  “However, it is not just about the competition.  This is about finding solutions to the challenges threatening the existence of humanity.  With the increasing world population and few resources, humanity is at stake, and therefore, it is upon all of us to make this world sustainable and better for all generations”. 

“This program is all about innovation, engineering and entrepreneurship,” said Peter.  The work is very interdisciplinary in nature and involves making something new from what we have learned in our core courses.  This project is greater in scope than our normal class work, and being able to use what I have learned and applying it in the real world has been very rewarding”.  

In an effort to insure that solutions address the most pressing issues facitn targeted populations, the NAE teams participated in a version of the National Science Foundations’s I-Corps program.  Teams were trained to identify, access, and interview key members of the ecosystems who are directly impacted by the problems they are attempting to solve.  Teams interviewed numerous ‘customers’ and in doing so, came to a deeper understanding of the specific challenges they must address.  

The 2019 Global Grand Challenges Summit will be broadcast worldwide, with satellite events on every continent, creating a truly global effort in addressing global grand challenges through engineering. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Kristi Wheeler | CEAT Marketing | 405-744-5831 | Kristi.wheeler@okstate.edu

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