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KAUST's Ideation Challenge Sees Students Present Solutions To Tackle Issues Related To Water, Aviation, And The Hajj Experience The participating students, from over 18 universities across Saudi Arabia, were also recent graduates of KAUST's latest online course Entrepreneurship Adventures.

By Entrepreneur Middle East Staff Edited by Tamara Pupic

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KAUST Entrepreneurship Center
Hattan Ahmed, Director of the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center

94 students participated in a three-day ideation challenge hosted by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), in partnership with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) and Saudi Aerospace Engineering Industries (SAEI).

Titled "KAUST Ignite," the event was held from February 10-12, 2022. The participating students, from over 18 universities across Saudi Arabia, were also recent graduates of KAUST's latest online course, Entrepreneurship Adventures. The challenge invited them to present innovative solutions that can solve contemporary regional and global issues, with students assigned to teams of four members, based on their individual skills and academic qualifications.

Source: KAUST

"Each KAUST Ignite event starts with a simple question: how do we spark solutions that can change the world?" said Hattan Ahmed, Director of the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center. "We are very fortunate to have partners the Ministry of Hajj, SAEI and SWCC to design key challenges and provide mentorship opportunities. Seeing the level of innovation that can emerge in just a few days is inspiring, and gives us all great hope for the future." 

Among the topics that students had to tackle included problems related to water, aviation, and the Hajj experience. The Ministry of Hajj brought forward the issues of better quality of service, greater availability, and improved nutritional needs in the food offered at the twin holy sites of Makkah and Madinah. A biodegradable and recyclable utensil package Biscuit was the winning solution in this category.

The Mangrove team. Source: KAUST

The SWCC presented the challenge of improving water desalination techniques through optimizing alternative energy sources, as well as addressing the impact of jellyfish on freshwater production. Mangrove, a jellyfish trap that enables their relocation, was the winning solution in this category. Finally, the SAEI highlighted the need to use enhanced technologies to improve wildlife detection and curb bird strikes. In this category, Future Seekers, a solution that uses radio frequency fields to disrupt birds at aviation sites, was deemed the winner.

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