COVID-19 Update - 08 September 2020

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Second Year Engineering Module - ENGR205 Business Development Project: The module covers a range of material in student entrepreneurship, innovation, idea information including generation, business planning, marketing, presenting and pitching, using tools such as the Business Model Canvas, and various external and industrial speakers to supplement and reinforce the taught theory.

In groups, students work on weekly tasks and feedback to the full class each week. The assessment panel (for Business Presentations) is made up of well-respected industrialists from companies, innovation training providers and a nominated representative from the Board of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, an international academic (in recent years: Akdeniz University, Turkey; Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong, Australia) as well as a representative of the student enterprise support function on campus.
Winner: Plantara Team - pictured are team leader, Alvira Kumar, MEng (Hons) Mechatronic Engineering and Jeremy Funk, MEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering who received the award on behalf of the Plantara Team. Other team members: Harrison Beaumont, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Reiss Drewett, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering); Joel Jenkins, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Marizu Onuoha, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Nick Sadik, BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering; Fangqi Shen, General International – Beijing Jiatong University; Nikolay Stoyanov, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Marco Ventura Pereira, BEng (Hons) Electronic and Electrical Engineering and Peter Walkden, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering. The team was awarded £1,000 Engineers in Business Prize.

The Plantara team developed Thorn, a sensor-based detector for optimising soil management and plant growth. Thorn uses carefully selected sensors to read the main variables plants need to survive. An ion-sensitive field effective transistor for pH, soil moisture and nutrients are detected using simple electrodes and the signal attenuated is measured, thermometers for soil and ambient temperatures and a photodiode for sunlight. All encased in subtle but stylish water and fertiliser resistant plastic and powered using a solar charge lithium polymer battery.

The data is processed and stored both locally and sent to the cloud using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth low energy. This data is contexualised and elegantly presents this data using Plantara’s app, in which lots of auxiliary services are available such as plant recommendations or soil adaptations, tutorials, a plant library and many others.

With the development of Thorn, the Plantara Team will make the prospect of gardening a reality for people who are interested in gardening but fear it is too difficult to start and to grow plants successfully.
Winner: TABS Team – pictured are Alex Cartwright, MEng (Hons) Electronic and Electrical Engineering and Robert Fairclough, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering received the award on behalf of the team. Other team members: Max Smith, BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering; Rosin Joseph, MEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering; Archie Maheswaran, MEng (Hons) Mechatronic Engineering; Piers Broady, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Renzo Terte, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Robert Fairclough, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Tom Lumborg, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Benji Carrera-Knowles, MEng (Hons) Mechatronic Engineering; Scott Woolley, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering and Vasco Pinto Vieira (MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering). The team was awarded a £1,000 Engineers in Business Prize.

TABS is a subscription-based service that provides a network of sensors for data collection and analysis in the building management sector (for landlords, tenants and businesses) which allows clients to monitor and optimise every aspect of their building through an online dashboard.

In a world of increasing energy demands, adapting homes and businesses to run more efficiently is essential. TABS aim to do this by delivering a smooth efficient feedback system for building owners and occupants alike.
Winner: Build-A-Difference - Josh Robert, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering is pictured with the certificate which he received on behalf of the team. Other team members: Jonah Hughes, MEng (Hons) Mechatronic Engineering; Andrew Tyson, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Anthony Njoku, BEng (Hons) Nuclear Engineering; Anton Lee, BEng (Hons) Electronic and Electrical Engineering; Asshwin Mugundharajah, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Billy Machin, MEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering; Mackenzie Clark, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering, Matthew Hofton (MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Rowan Burgess, MEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering and Shahmir Akram, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering. The team was awarded a £500 Engineers in Business Prize.

Build-A-Difference is an online community-based DIY website that provides DIY hobbyists, enthusiasts and beginners useful step-by-step guides in the form of instructions (how to build it, tools and materials needed) photos and videos to help build DIY projects.

Build-A-Difference will provide a range of services including:

• DIY guides
• A store for selling and buying materials and tools
• A subscription service for month long DIY projects
• A live chat service for people who need assistance on projects/shopping
• A shopping directory

Build-A-Difference will help hobbyists and newcomers with DIY projects and access to all the support, information and tools needed.
Winner: Rocket Sockets – pictured are Naeem Khan, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering and Mark Palmer, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering who attended the prizegiving to accept the award on behalf of the team. Other team members: Eleanor Hodgson, MEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering; Zendo, BEng (Hons) Mechatronic Engineering); Anna Best, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Ben Eastwood, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Safdar Saleh, BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering; Nathaniel Stubbs, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Wei Wang, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Eva Zhang, General International – Beijing Jiatong University and Duncan Lancaster, MEng (Hons) Mechatronic Engineering. The team was awarded a £500 Engineers in Business Prize.

Rocket Sockets is a proposed start-up company that will produce and sell a new design of plug socket which will accept a standard British 3-pin plug in two different orientations, either in the usual orientation or turned through 180 degrees. The socket will be made from recycled polypropylene and will be available in a variety of colours to match the surrounds of different coloured sockets.

Rocket Sockets’ primary market is building companies for use in new residential and commercial developments. However, it will also be targeting a secondary market, by targeting electricians and hardware stores to reach owners of longer established properties.

Positive Feedback

The financial support made available from Engineers in Business Fellowship (EIBF) adds a healthy air of competition between the groups participating in the Business Development Project module, and really inspires the students to do well. With so many groups this year, and with the quality of the ideas proposed and presented being of a high quality, it made the assessment and final decisions on the award of funding a really difficult task - but actually, that's a nice problem to have. With EIBF's support, we're now keen to see the winning groups develop their ideas further, and all going well, represent Lancaster University for the first time at the Champion of Champions Grand Final.

Dr Allan Rennie, Professors, Lancaster University’s Engineering Department