Siemens sponsors clean water and zero hunger challenge

Engineering for Change activates the international engineering workforce to solve some of humanity's most pressing problems.

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Two tech heavyweights are joining forces to challenge socially minded engineers and hardware innovators to do something to end hunger and make clean water more accessible. The challenge is built on the belief that technology can be a driving force for equality.

In collaboration with Engineering for Change (E4C), a knowledge organization dedicated to preparing, educating and activating the international engineering workforce to improve the quality of life of underserved communities, global software company Siemens is sponsoring Innovate for Impact: Siemens Design Challengea competition that gives individuals the opportunity to develop solutions to address fundamental human needs for clean water and adequate food supply. 

The competition began accepting applications this week.

"[The challenge] brings together the ingenuity of engineering communities focused on changing the world and the resources of a top global software company," says E4C President Iana Aranda. "By applying human-centered design thinking and powerful digital technologies, engineers and other innovators will be well equipped to address the challenges of clean water and zero hunger and improve the quality of life around the world. We are grateful and fortunate for Siemens' support in this vital endeavor, and excited to see the proposed solutions."

E4C will run the application and evaluation process. Using its knowledge base, the organization will share human-centered design principles with challengers, as well as a variety of other tools and resources. For its part, Siemens will provide free access to and training on technology tools for digital design and engineering, including Solid Edge software and a new co-creation platform for low-code application development. 

"We are proud to partner with E4C to provide engineers with platforms to expand what's humanly possible, creating new spaces to dream, innovate and develop technology to drive sustainable development goals," says Siemens USA CEO Barbara Humpton. "Those who accept this challenge will get to use software and technology that have already reduced product development cycle times by half. But instead of speed to market, engineers can now focus on speed to society, delivering the solutions needed to advance a more equal world in time for 2030."

The challenges two tracks are zero hunger and clean water. The problems the applicants will set out to solve fall into two buckets. One set of applications will design a postharvest off-grid preservation technology to reduce farm-to-table food loss in lower resource settings that lack electricity. Other applicants will design a low-cost, energy-efficient, scalable technology for desalinating brackish water.

The deadline for applications is Friday, April 3, 2020. Those accepted to the challenge will design their concept in 3D CAD software, iterate their design based on their research, and simulate how their product works.

Winners of the contest will receive $10,000 each.