While some UWaterloo students spent their reading week relaxing, decompressing, or hard at work on their courses, a group of entrepreneurial students focused their energy else where. Over the past three weeks, the students who enrolled in the Climate Innovation Discovery Stream spent their time researching climate change related problems and developing potential innovative solutions.

With no prior knowledge or experience needed, these students joined this multi-week challenge with the goal of further understanding their specific problem space. They were split into small teams and focused on problems within four areas: understanding how our climate is changing, solving for carbon, adapting to thrive, and protecting our health. Each team was paired with an experienced mentors for their problem space to help guide and support their research. Additionally, the teams worked closely with dedicated coaches to provide feedback, encouragement, and advice on their innovative solutions.

Drawing on the climate change experience and resources from The Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3), the problem and research skills of The Problem Lab, and the innovation experience of Concept, this collaborative effort aimed to attract students from the entire UWaterloo community.

“We wanted to create an intersection between students that all have one common interest in mind, being climate leaders.” Said Carly Cameron, Manager of Entrepreneurship Experience at Concept. “The opportunity was created to give students access to resources that will help them continue their research and understanding of climate change as they carry on during their undergrad and graduate studies, all the while being able to do it with like-minded people.”

After three weeks of research, the student teams prepared pitches and met with a judges panel to further discuss their progress. After 15 highly impressive interviews, our judging panel picked their top three teams to take home the funding. We are proud to introduce you to the winners of the Climate Innovation Discovery Stream!

Meet the Winners

1st Place: $5,000

Pests and diseases are decimating global crop yields as the current methods to monitor and alert people of these threats are insufficient.

Taking the top spot in the Climate Innovation Discovery Stream was a team of Engineering students working in the “Understanding How Our Climate is Changing” section. They focused their research on understanding the devestating effects that pests and diseases have on global crop yields and began developing a data driven solution. Their innovative idea utilizes weather sensors alongside novel plant health sensors to monitor weather, pests & diseases in fields.

Team:
Abigail Chan, Systems Design Engineering
Brandon Chan, Mechatronics Engineering
Tyko van Vliet, Mechatronics Engineering
Kurtis Steven Leroy Eisler, Mechatronics Engineering
Jack Zachary Paduchowski, Mechatronics Engineering

2nd Place: $2,500

Climate change will increase the frequency of landslides in high risk areas within the Rocky Mountain area.

The second place team was small but mighty. Completing the stream with only two dedicated members with Environmental backgrounds, they worked within the “Adapting to Thrive” section, this team focused their research on landslides in the Rocky Mountains. They plan to continue working with researchers to create a risk analysis map over the Rocky Mountain area that predicts future landslide risks. This data can be used to reduce risks and potential future damages to residents and infrastructure.

Team:
Anthony Robertson, Environment & Business
Maria Fraser Semenoff, Environmental Engineering

3rd Place: $1,000

Reducing household food waste in developed countries by raising awareness about the environmental and monetary impacts of food wastes.

Our third and final winner worked within the “Solving for Carbon” problem area and focused their research on reducing household food waste. Their solution proposed to raise awareness about the environmental and monetary impact of food wastes through a food planning chrome extension to reduce the overconsumption of food and decrease carbon footprints.

Team:
Iris Guo, Accounting & Financial Management
Lucy Low, Science
Ayman Urfa, Materials & Nanosciences
Krystal Xin Yang, Biology


We wish the best of luck to all the participants in this stream, and hope we can continue to support them as they complete further research and development on their work. To see more exciting ideas coming from UWaterloo students, attend the upcoming Concept $5K Semi-Finals and be sure to follow Concept on social media to be first to hear about exciting initiatives such as this. Spoiler alert, there is another climate change related opportunity on its way very soon!

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