Students to boost life in rural India

Dr Stephen Beck, of Sheffield university's Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Dr Stephen Beck, of Sheffield university's Department of Mechanical Engineering.
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ENGINEERING students from Sheffield University are set to transform the lives of people in an impoverished rural community in India as part of a ground-breaking new project.

More than 900 first year undergraduates are to tackle assignments to improve waste management, water, energy and ICT facilities in Devikulum in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Their week-long initiative is part of a national Engineering Without Borders Challenge, which begins on January 23.

Teams of six will work together to find solutions to real life engineering problems faced by developing communities.

And along the way it’s hoped the students will develop important skills – including working effectively in groups, solving problems and experiencing different cultures, all of which will benefit them in the future.

Dr Stephen Beck, of the university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, said: “Instead of doing a series of exams, every first year engineering student will spend a week working on a project.

“I am anticipating great things to come out of this for our students and it will help them on their transition from school or college to the university.

“It will be a great chance for them to learn not only about how they can use their skills to improve people’s lives, but also to develop the interdisciplinary group working skills that they will need on their courses and also in their future careers.

“The exercises have been designed to develop a range of skills that will be useful during the week itself, throughout the rest of their degree and in their future employment.

The students will be asked to present their ideas, showing they have considered the social, environmental and economic impacts.