Twenty five students have successfully completed the annual Inmarsat Strategy Challenge, which aims to bridge the experience gap for high performing STEM students, through tackling complex, real world problems that the space sector is supporting.
The students from City and Islington College’s Sixth Form College and Centre for Applied Sciences were set the challenge of how to effectively respond to natural disasters using satellite communications.
They attended six weekly workshops at Inmarsat’s City Road, London headquarters where Inmarsat and subject experts helped them to come up with appropriate applications and to give a presentation of their case at the end of the challenge.
Oscar Lizardo, Project Manager for Inmarsat’s UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme project in the Philippines, explained how it aims to reduce the impact of disasters in the region.
Trade and investment expert Phil Brown took the students through the UK Department for International Development’s role in disaster relief.
Joel Freedman from the Satellite Application Catapult led a session on critical analysis based on design thinking methods.
Armed with this knowledge, five teams developed satellite-enabled solutions including more effective and efficient early warning systems; use of drones to find earthquake victims; and a smartphone app to efficiently track the flow of aid supplies.
The Summer Strategy Challenge forms part of Inmarsat’s promotion of STEM education, which is crucial to the UK maintaining its position in an increasingly scientific and technological world.
James Cemmell, Inmarsat Vice President, Government Engagement said: “This is the fourth year that we have run the Inmarsat Strategy Challenge with mostly STEM students from the local community around Inmarsat.
“Each year we work with the students on a real problem Inmarsat is dealing with. This year it’s been about the use of satellite communications for disaster response in the Philippines, and in previous years we’ve looked at the role of satellite in MH370, the digital divide in Africa and environmental sustainability in Indonesia.
“Over six or seven sessions, the students have an opportunity to learn from a range of experts about satellite content as well as form – from human-centred design to critical thinking and presentation skills.
“At the end of the challenge we aim to achieve two main goals – enhancing the employability of high calibre STEM students and addressing the critical connectivity challenges facing the world today.”