The Royal Academy of Engineering invited UK university teams to participate in the Engineering a Better World Student Innovation Competition 2017; a seven-month programme of challenge-led innovation, design and business development, culminating in the opportunity for five successful teams to attend the Global Grand Challenges Summit in Washington DC.

Nominated teams of undergraduate students took part in a two-day interactive workshop on 9 and 10 March 2017, facilitated by UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP), where they were confronted with a global challenge and tasked to develop a solution that engineering expertise can address in an innovative and effective way. This solution must contribute to sustainable development and reduction of poverty in developing countries. 

Showcase Winners

The Competition Showcase on 5 April 2017 saw 18 teams of students pitching their ideas to our group of esteemed judging from the engineering and international development professions, and to other attendees from our community. 

Congratulations to the five winning teams that have been chosen to attend the Global Grand Challenges Summit 2017 in Washington DC, and compete in the Grand Finals against teams from the US and China with their ideas. 

The UK Finalists are:

  • University of Hull
  • University of Bristol
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth
  • University of Sheffield

Global Grand Challenges Summit

The winning teams will go on to develop full business proposals for their design solutions, supported by a Business Development Bootcamp with Marcius Extavour from XPRIZE on 20 May, and then will have the opportunity to represent the UK at the Global Grand Challenges Summit in Washington DC in July.

The UK, US and Chinese academies of engineering are hosting this Summit on 19-20 July 2017 at the George Washington University, with the student competition day on 18 July and an opening reception that evening. Engineering leaders, educators and rising star students are invited to gather and seek solutions to humanity’s great challenges, inspiring the next generation to forge a better future for the world through engineering and interdisciplinary collaboration. 

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist, Oculus VR
  • Jeffrey Dean, Google Senior Fellow 
  • Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer to the UK
  • Christof Koch, President and Chief Scientific Officer, Allen Institute for Brain Science
  • Professor Molly Stevens FREng, Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine, Imperial College London
  • Rajiv Shah, President, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Dean Kamen, Inventor and Founder of FIRST Robotics
  • Lori McCreary, CEO and Co-Founder, Revelations Entertainment
  • Deanne Bell, Host of CNBC’s “Make Me a Millionaire Inventor”

...with more to be announced shortly.

Visit to register, support our student teams, and join 800 professionals and students at the Summit.  

Please contact with any queries.