Test your engineering skills – can you solve a real-world sustainability problem in just one weekend? Find out with Engineers Australia GradHack 2022
EA GradHack is a new initiative from Engineers Australia that challenges teams of recent graduates to innovate at speed, and propose solutions to real-world engineering problems.
Taking place over the weekend of 21–23 October, entrants will have a little over 48 hours to present their solution as a video submission. There are $7000 in prizes to be won.
Melanie De Gioia is Director and Founder of Ramaley Media, and is helping to organise this year’s GradHack.
“There are a number of fun and interesting elements being woven into Engineers Australia’s GradHack this year,” she says.
“Without giving too much away, the challenge we are designing is very much connected to a great event on the Australian and global calendar. Participants in this GradHack will have a wonderful opportunity to develop a solution that can showcase how important engineers are to embedding the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“This is your chance to really show how engineering can help connect and develop the Australian and global community.”
How to craft a compelling entry
The participants will be asked to create a 5-minute video of their solution, says De Gioia.
“The standout entries will have developed some engineering elements or basic prototypes,” she says. “But the key to a compelling entry is one that utilises the full extent and magic of the video medium.”
Teams will be given the brief on the afternoon of Friday 21 October, and will have until 11.59 pm on Sunday 23 October to submit their video.
“Participants will gain an unrivalled opportunity to work on a problem that could potentially see great impact to the Australian community,” says De Gioia. “And having your participation in EA’s GradHack on your CV or LinkedIn profile will show your dedication and determination in advancing engineering towards the UN SDGs.”
The impact of a hackathon victory
Reaner Jacqueline Bool and her teammates Ghia Luwalhati and Nicole Elizabeth Tan were named as winners of the World Engineering Day Hackathon, organised by the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) in early 2022.
Their winning proposal, WONDERPETS, showed how they could extract terephthalic acid (TPA) from used PET bottles through the application of chemistry and engineering.
“With this starting material, we were able to develop, in a “greener manner,” a metal organic framework which we used as an adsorbent for the removal of pollutants like heavy metals, dyes, and organic contaminants from wastewater,” says Bool. “The material can also be reused which makes it a sustainable solution in water remediation.”
Victory in the hackathon allowed Bool and her teammates to showcase their engineering knowledge to a worldwide audience.
“We discovered our strengths and were able to share them to inspire others,” Bool says.
“[The hackathon] gave us an opportunity to challenge ourselves and bring out our potential as chemical engineering students. Our journey in the competition encouraged us not to break under pressure, which we think is a much-needed skill we can use in our engineering career,” she adds.
The WONDERPETS team also expressed pride in being an all-female team.
“We also genuinely believe that our team’s victory in this hackathon empowered women, especially Filipino women.
“It has become a misconception that when we hear the word “engineering,” the first thing that comes to mind is that it is a man’s job or a challenging job for women, while in reality, engineering has no gender. Gender is never a barrier to fostering an environment of innovative insights and perspectives.
“To us, this victory serves as an acknowledgment of a job well done and validation for all the hard work and self-doubt we went through to win the hackathon. It gives us great pride and happiness, together with our friends, family, and university, who have supported us from the beginning.”
Who can take part in GradHack?
To take part in GradHack 2022, you’ll need to form a team of two to five engineers. Team members must be graduate members of Engineers Australia.
Entry to the competition is free, and there are no restrictions on the number of teams that can take part.
Interested teams should register for the briefing webinar, happening on 6 October from 12 pm. The webinar will help teams prepare – you will hear insights on how the hackathon will be run, the challenges, and the judges who will assess your entries.
You can register your team for GradHack 2022 now.