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THUWAL: More than 90 students recently participated in an ideation challenge organized by a leading Saudi research institution.

The three-day event at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology was organized in partnership with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Saline Water Conversion Corp. and Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries.

Designed to push the boundaries of innovation and creative thinking, the KAUST Ignite initiative challenged students to tackle some of the biggest regional and global issues.

Armed with their own entrepreneurial thinking, educational experience and passion for problem solving, team members worked on cutting-edge solutions and on the final day shared their thought processes with a focus about next steps, goals and the positive impact their solution could have. have on the world.

Hattan Ahmed, Director of the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center, said, “Every KAUST Ignite event starts with a simple question: how do we spark solutions that can change the world?

“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 a matter of days is inspiring and gives us all great hope for the future.”

The 94 students participating in the event, which ended on Saturday, came from more than 18 Saudi universities and were all graduates of KAUST’s latest online course, Entrepreneurship Adventures.

They were divided into teams of five based on their individual skills and academic background. Once grouped, the teams took on real-world challenges presented by KAUST Ignite partners representing water, aviation and the Hajj experience.

One of the challenges, reinventing the food experience in holy places to ensure better quality of service, greater availability and improved nutritional needs, was presented by the Ministry of Hajj and won by the Biscuit team with its packaging of biodegradable and recyclable utensils.

Another challenge, highlighted by the SWCC, was to improve desalination through the optimization of alternative energy sources and to combat the impact of jellyfish on freshwater production. The winning team was Mangrove who came up with the idea of ​​a relocating jellyfish trap.

The third challenge focused on improving technologies to improve wildlife detection and limit bird strikes, presented by SAEI. The Future Seekers team was the winner with a solution that used radio frequency fields to disturb birds at aviation sites.