The annual initiative aims to raise awareness about the importance of sustainability and encourage youths to design creative solutions.
Two student teams, one from the primary school category and another from the secondary school category, won the Young Sustainability Champion (YSC) trophies on Mar 18, for their innovative business plans to reduce food waste.
The two teams were awarded the championship after showcasing their prototypes at the Grand Finals Showcase and Award Ceremony. There were fourteen shortlisted teams in total, all of whom participated in the 2021 YSC Programme organised by the National Science Centre and Temasek Foundation.
The senior winning team, Team Carbs, consists of Breanna Solomon, Phua Zu Yi and Naomi Ng from Yio Chu Kang Secondary School, and Emma Ho and Lim Si Ying from Nanyang Girls’ School. They spearheaded a business model to convert coffee grounds to seed bombs for acid-loving plants.
The junior winning team, Team Sustainability Champs, comprises Renzo Ng of Palm View Primary School, Praishan Joshi from Bendemeer Primary School and Yeshwanth Senthilkumar from Punggol Primary School. They created a functional prototype of a portable biodigester, which could potentially be scaled to an apartment building.
The 2021 YSC challenge had over 10,000 participants from more than 70 schools, with challengers aged seven to 12 in the junior category and those aged 13 to 17 in the senior category.
In order to reach the final stage and compete for the championship, the students had to complete several stages of innovative activities individually and in teams. This challenge started as early as April 2020.
First, students had to develop a solution to achieve one of three selected United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
200 students were then shortlisted to progress to the mentorship and prototyping stage. They worked in teams on Singapore’s food sustainability objectives, such as sorting and processing food waste and helping citizens reduce their carbon footprint.
The shortlisted teams were guided by mentors and given workshops to learn and implement both hard and soft skills in the challenge. These included microcontroller programming, Augmented Reality and app development training, as well as design thinking, business modeling and value proposition workshops.
The 14 teams at the finals were selected in January this year. They were given a $150 grant per student to further refine their prototypes for the Grand Finals.
The annual YSC initiative aims to raise awareness about the importance of sustainability and encourage youths to design creative solutions based on environmental science and innovation.
Today’s sustainability challenges will greatly impact future youth, said Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive of Science Centre Board.
“Hence, they need to be empowered to lead the charge in ideating and implementing solutions to build sustainable, inclusive and stable societies in the next 10 to 50 years,” he added.
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