We thank our guest speakers for the time and commitment they provided towards our wonderful Hackathon event!
Conrad Young – Entrepreneur, Sustainable Food Specialist, past UCL Anthropology alumni, and Managing Director at Food Forward Ltd,
Stephanie Michelsen – BSc. In Biotechnology and MSc. in Engineering Biotechnology. Stephanie is the Co-Founder & CEO at Jellatech
Shalima Sreenath – BEng and MEng Chemical Engineer with 7 years’ experience working as a Process Engineer within the Food Industry
Over the past two years, the Ramsay Society has developed and hosted the First Year Hackathon, a three-day departmental event, normally held between Friday the 24th of September through to Sunday the 26th of September, the days prior to the start of term and Induction Week.
This event brings together first-year Chemical Engineering students, providing an open-ended research question, with the objective of exposing students to pressing global challenges, providing participants with the opportunity to engage with industry leading chemical engineers, to build friendships within their cohort, and most importantly, to get a taste of Chemical Engineering, teamwork, and Engineering Design Projects, prior to commencing their academic journeys.
The event boasts extensive participation from industry judges, with previous iterations hosting guest judges and speakers from Beyond Meats, Jellatech, and Food Forward Ltd, all of whom are leading specialists within Chemical Engineering, finance, and biosciences. Our panel of judges also comprises leading academics, who assess and provide feedback to the team’s 5-minute elevator pitches.
During the pandemic year of 2020, our first iteration of the Hackathon had over 59 students engaging online, with a further 42 engaging in 2021. During the first edition of the Hackathon, the research question covered the broad scope of “overcoming the challenges facing fossil fuel alternatives”. During the Hackathon students analysed a diverse range of innovations from vanadium flow batteries and machine learning models for wind energy forecasting and optimisation, to Perovskites solar cells for electric vehicles, alongside the future of hydrogen supply-chain logistics within the United Kingdom.
In light of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the rise of vegan diets, and our changing climate, our most recent 2021 Hackathon tackled the broad scope of “Overcoming the challenges facing food security”. During the Hackathon students learnt about elevator pitch elaboration; the industrial processes, scale-up, and chemical engineering behind vegan meets, and the success story behind Jellatech, a US-based vegan-gelatine start-up. Many proposals were brainstormed, these included circular-economy approaches to food packaging (BioBox), innovative recycling of packaging (Scrap2Wrap), a new data network and integrated technology system to optimise plant-based diets (Plant Munch), and a innovative proposal of aquaponics, merging agriculture and fish farming initiatives.