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International Student Entrepreneurs Awarded Top Honours in BIEA 2020 University STEM Challenge

Plastic Bottle Pollution

The British International Education Association (@BIEAeducation) was proud to host its inaugural University STEM Challenge this year. With entries from over 34 countries, the competition unleashed the potential of students to use their innovative and entrepreneurial skills to create solutions for some of the most pressing global challenges.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the competition was held online for the first time. This successful pivot in event planning gave these deserving students the opportunity to experience the culmination of their year-long efforts.

The Challenge began in January; the 2020 theme was ‘Save Our Shores from Plastic Pollution’.  Young innovators from around the world were encouraged to come up with sustainable solutions to help counter the plastic waste epidemic to both human and wildlife.

The entries were evaluated by judges with expertise in business, industry, research and academia.

“These young people have shown they are the game-changers who will shape our future.’ said Prof Rick Chandler, lead judge and CMA Chairman. ‘I am very impressed by their dedication to coming up with commercially viable solutions to the plastic pollution problem in their local regions.’  

The grand prize award went to a team of young biochemistry students from Brawijaya University Indonesia. The project looked at the microplastic problem in oceans around Indonesia; the team developed a prototype to filter microplastic from the seawater using the ferro-fluid concept.

The following teams were recognized as outstanding category winners for their pursuit of innovation and entrepreneurship:

> Engineering: Project A.W.R.D 1, Daniel Oakley, a UK student who developed a robotic amphibious vehicle to collect plastic waste from waterways

> Innovation: Project Nilam Pad, a sustainable sanitary pad for women, developed by a team of university students from Indonesia

> Social Impact: Project iRecyle, Maria Gitau from Strathmore University in Kenya developed a business plan to improve plastic recycling in her local community through education and recycling stations.

> First runner up: Project Microplastic, Team WWTP from Notre Dame College, Bangladesh come up with a concept to remove microplastic from local waterways.

Nearly half the entries came from girls and countries with poverty, the competition has fulfilled BIEA’s pledge on diversity, inclusiveness and making STEM education accessible to all.

About The British International Education

The British International Education Association is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting collaborative, real world-relevant learning that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. Through its programmes, students develop transferable skills and the potential to create impactful solutions and a sustainable society for generations to come. For more information, visit

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