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The Biosystems Engineering Design Challenge at University College Dublin

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  078045.(doi:10.13031/2013.23543)
Authors:   Thomas P Curran, Enda J Cummins, Nicholas M Holden, Kevin P McDonnell, Colleen Blaney
Keywords:   Biosystems Engineering, academic module, engineering design, project management, teamwork

The Biosystems Engineering Design Challenge has recently become an academic module open to all undergraduate students at University College Dublin. The focus of the module is on designing and building a working, bench-scale device that solves a practical problem relevant to Biosystems Engineering. The module provides an opportunity for students to learn about engineering design, project management and teamwork. Enrolled students are split into teams of up to seven and meet an assigned mentor each week during a semester (12 weeks) to solve a specified problem. The objectives thus far have focused on water-driven electricity generation, treatment of greywater from domestic buildings,and biofiltration of malodors from food waste. The assessment criteria include teamwork, minimisation of expenditure, device design, innovation, operational safety, system performance, report writing and appropriate use of biological and recycled materials. External experts evaluate each entry and substantial cash prizes are awarded to the top teams. Students receive individual academic grades based on their contribution. Feedback on the module has been very positive from both inside and outside the University. The most recent developments have been the introduction of an online project journal for each student and the involvement of biosystems engineering graduate students as mentors.

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