Two student teams took home on Friday, 18 March 2022, the Young Sustainability Champion (YSC) trophies at the Grand Finals Showcase and Award Ceremony for the 2021 YSC Programme, for their innovative products that tackled the issue of food waste respectively.

Details of the teams, with members from different schools, are as follows:

  • Team Carbs consisting of Breanna Solomon, Phua Zu Yi, and Naomi Ng (Yio Chu Kang Secondary School) and Emma Ho and Lim Si Ying (Nanyang Girls’ School) worked on a novel method to give coffee grounds a second lease of life by converting them to seed bombs for acid-loving plants. Their innovative product and business model impressed the judges.
  • Team Sustainability Champs consisting of Renzo Ng (Palm View Primary School), Praishan Joshi (Bendeemer Primary School), and Yeshwanth Senthilkumar (Punggol Primary School) created a portable biodigester using six plastic bottles to generate methane gas which was stored in an inflatable rubber tube. Their functional prototype, which could potentially be scaled for a whole apartment block impressed the judges and guests.

The winning teams represent the best in class for the junior and senior categories respectively, out of the fourteen outstanding shortlisted groups in the 2021 YSC Programme, organised by Science Centre Singapore and supported by Temasek Foundation. The annual youth-centric initiative aims to raise awareness about the importance of sustainability and encourage students to design creative solutions based on environmental science and innovation.

The 2021 challenge attracted over 10,000 participants from more than 70 schools, with challengers aged seven to 12 competing in the junior category and those aged 13 to 17 competing in the senior category. Some of the students have been working on the challenges since April 2020 for a chance to be part of a prototyping and incubation programme. They had to first complete a series of self-directed tasks via the “I am a Young Sustainability Champion” badge programme, one of which was to develop a solution to achieve one of three selected United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Namely, the three curated goals were:

SDG 11 – Make cities and communities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

SDG 12 – Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

SDG 13 – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

200 students were shortlisted to progress to the mentorship and prototyping stage focused on tackling food sustainability issues specific to Singapore. Students formed teams and worked on objectives such as promoting sustainable food production through the efficient use of resources, effectively converting or composting food waste, creating a holistic system for collecting, sorting and processing food waste, and developing ways to help citizens reduce carbon footprint through conscious food choices.

To achieve this, shortlisted teams went through workshops to learn and implement microcontroller-programming. Augmented Reality, App development etc. They also underwent workshops on design thinking, business modelling and value proposition, and had access to their schools and community makerspaces under social distancing guidelines to meet with mentors and prototype solutions.

In January this year, fourteen teams were selected as finalists and given a S$150 grant per student as part of an incubation programme to further refine their prototypes for today’s Grand Finals Showcase. The two winning teams in the two categories will get to enjoy staycation focused on food sustainability and urban farming. In addition, the remaining 12 teams got the Special mention award for their projects such as the Best prototype, Best Presentation and Most Resilient team.

Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive of Science Centre Board, said, “The sustainability challenges we experience today will hugely impact the tomorrows of our youth. 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. We are privileged to partner with Temasek Foundation to offer our young people a platform to not just think about future issues, but act on them, by giving them access to industry level expertise and tools for developing practical but problem-solving innovations.”

Mr Lim Hock Chuan, Chief Executive, Temasek Foundation Liveability, said, “The Young Sustainability Champions are youth who have heeded the call to safeguard the planet and our health. Through organising such sustainability challenges, Temasek Foundation hopes to help our youth fuel the engine of science and innovation and address sustainability goals. This will open the door to a better future for all”.

Information on the finalist teams can be found in the appendix below and more details on the Young Sustainable Champion programme can be found at: https://app.gather.town/events/PImqEFb0TR30A4BO5hf3

Annex: Selected Finalist Teams

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