Students win prize for prototype to tackle litter issues

Mechanical Engineering students Lucie Gale and Anthony Fong and Economics student Shubhansh Bharati formed an interdisciplinary team that scooped first prize at the Vice-Chancellor’s Challenge 2020.

The competition, this year themed on ‘Global Cities, Global Challenges’, is open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students and is sponsored by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood who also chairs the competition’s judging panel.  The panel also consisted of Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Kathleen Armour, and Simon Purkess, Partner at KMPG - a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax, and advisory services.

The competition launched in January and saw teams of students from 13 different schools across the University being supported by academics and business representatives to develop a novel solution to a variety of real-world challenges. Teams worked on a range of issues including cultural integration, sustainable transport, promoting democracy, healthy urban living and air pollution. All teams involve students from different subjects working together on a single issue.

As part of the challenge, the teams had to develop an impactful video to pitch their idea to the judging panel, who then whittled the entries down to the top four. These teams went through to a virtual live final, held earlier this month, and saw each student group engaging in a lively Q&A debate with the panel and audience.  

Lucie, Anthony, and Shubhansh were crowned winners for their ‘Bin It Spit It Latch’ invention to stop rubbish falling or being blown out of wheelie bins, which they turned into a prototype using 3D printing technology.  The trio will now be able to access funding to make their idea a reality.

Lucie said: “The Challenge was very memorable, we even camped outside our house – before Covid-19 lockdown kicked in - late at night during a storm to record the prototype in action.

“It was like being on The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den all at the same time. Both challenging and fun, I was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone but I have gained so much experience both in an engineering aspect as well as in a business one.”

Shubhansh said: “The Vice-Chancellor’s Challenge provides an opportunity for those who have entrepreneurial dreams to bring them to light through a rigorous and analytical approach with cohesive teamwork. We have gained invaluable skills towards our future career aspects along with the momentum to carry our idea forward.”


Students who want to take part in next year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Challenge should contact


Read more about the Vice-Chancellor's Challenge


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