Today marks the culmination of months of work for the top seven teams competing at the new Young Sustainability Champion (YSC) programme. They are finalists who pitched their sustainability projects to a panel of esteemed judges at the YSC Senior Hackathon Grand Finals. At the event, Wastebusters from Nanyang Girls High School was announced as the top team for their project to automatically classify recyclable and non-recyclable garbage using a combination of robotics and artificial intelligence. They will get the opportunity to travel overseas upon relaxation of travel restrictions and explore makerspaces and start-ups working on sustainability in order to further refine their project.
Aimed to raise awareness of sustainability issues and encourage students to develop creative solutions related to environmental science and innovation, the YSC programme was organised by Science Centre Singapore and supported by Temasek Foundation. Catering to youths from 13-17 years old, the programme attracted over 4,000 participants across 50 schools, who worked in teams to develop sustainable solutions in line with the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs):
Starting in April this year, the participants first enrolled in the new online “I am a Young Sustainability Champion” badge programme curated by Science Centre Singapore. Part of the long-running Young Scientist Badge programme, it incorporates fun tasks and learning opportunities related to sustainability, complete with online resources and tools, and recognises participants who have successfully completed the programme with badges and e-certificates. The online activities are specially designed to nurture and inspire youths to be creative and to take the initiative into creating a better planet.
Sixty shortlisted participants from the badge programme progressed to the mentorship and prototyping stage. The shortlisting phase of the programme included several online challenges for the participants including designing eco-friendly buildings, measuring their generated plastic waste, and finding ways to spread the message of food sustainability.
Shortlisted students underwent workshops on design thinking, business modelling, value proposition and prototyping. Teams working on physical prototypes also had access to school and community makerspaces under strict social distancing restrictions so that they could meet mentors and access equipment despite not being present in a physical prototyping experience. It was even more significant that several teams were able to manage this despite the fact that the team members were from different schools. The seven finalist teams were eventually selected after the shortlisting phase, and received up to $3,000 in seed funding to further refine their prototypes for showcasing at the Grand Finals.
Learn more about all the finalist as well as special mention teams and their projects in the Annex.
“It has been our privilege to work with Temasek Foundation since the launch of theYoung Sustainability Champion programme last year. This platform has allowed us to build a community of like-minded young learners passionate about developing solutions to address problems we face on a daily basis and build a better tomorrow in the process. On top of inspiring these participants, we want to provide opportunities to empower and enable them to realise their vision and contribute to future sustainable developments,” said Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive of Science Centre Singapore.
Mr Lim Hock Chuan, Chief Executive, Temasek Foundation Ecosperity, said, “Through platforms such as the Young Sustainability Champion (YSC) Programme, Temasek Foundation hopes to nurture our young to be creative, curious and passionate and introduce them to new paths to a more sustainable future. The challenges are global in nature and seemingly daunting, but I am energised by this year’s teams and their projects. As a champion of sustainability myself, I would like to urge all participants and youths alike to stay inspired to drive the changes you want to see, and be empowered to find solutions to the shared challenges that we face ahead of us.”
It is our hope that youth today will recognise the gravity and need for a more sustainable future and develop impactful solutions to help address critical sustainability issues in Singapore and beyond.”
More information on the Young Sustainable Champion programme can be found at: https://youngscientist.sscglobal.com.sg.