Students tackle global problems in Lyle School competition

Engineering studentsStudents will team up to solve problems ranging from hunger and poverty to climate change and disaster preparedness through a new annual design competition established by SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering.

The Innovation Competition, funded by Dallas-based Carr LLP, will bring together the thinkers, mentors, facilities and processes necessary for dynamic innovation needed to solve humanity’s problems. It will be hosted by the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education‘s Innovation Gymnasium – which is also home to the Lyle School’s Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® Lab in the Lyle School.

“Good ideas come from everywhere,” says Dr. Nathan Huntoon (’06), director of the Innovation Competition. “Each of us has unique experiences and perspectives on the world. These perspectives, more than technical understanding, can often provide the inspiration for ideas that change the world.

“With this competition we are hoping to solicit the good ideas from all our students, and then partner them with people who can help turn that idea into reality.”

Students from all fields of study at SMU are invited to enter the competition. The organizers have future plans to involve students at other colleges and universities.

The deadline for written proposals is April 5, 2010. The teams with the top 5 written proposals will be asked to make oral presentations on April 30, after which two finalists will be announced.

The top two proposals will receive $2,000 each to build a prototype. Engineering students will join each of the two competing teams and will work throughout the summer to build a prototype in the Innovation Gymnasium.

At the end of the summer, a panel of industry and academic judges will evaluate the final prototypes and award the winning team a $1,000 cash prize.

“The Lyle School challenges its students to explore practical innovation, or what we call applied creativity,” says Dean Geoffrey Orsak. “To teach innovation, we must be innovative ourselves, and strive to provide rich, challenging, and interactive experiences that stretch the boundaries of traditional education.”

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