A record 5,499 students from around the world registered to participate in the fifth edition of Airbus’ Fly Your Ideas, the global student challenge organised in partnership with UNESCO. Of these, 50 teams comprising 202 students with 38 different nationalities were selected to participate in the next round of the competition, starting in January 2017. The Fly Your Ideas competition encourages students to develop innovative ideas to meet real-world aviation challenges. It offers a unique opportunity for students worldwide, working in diverse teams of 3-5 members, to develop valuable skills, including teamwork, project management, communications and presentation, and to get involved in engineering.
This 5th edition of the challenge counts with unprecedented participation from students worldwide. In total 356 teams from 89 countries submitted ideas, which were assessed by a group of 60 Airbus experts and innovators through a rigorous evaluation process. Innovative ideas from the 50 chosen teams include robotic luggage trolleys, passenger seats which can be boarded outside the aircraft, new solutions for energy harvesting and virtual reality applications.
UNESCO shares Airbus’ ambition to inspire young people to innovate for sustainability and pursue careers in science and engineering. “We need more young people both men and women, from every background and of every profile to acquire the skills the world needs to solve our greatest global challenges, as well as realize the potential of new opportunities”, says Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences, UNESCO. “With Fly Your Ideas 2017, student teams are working towards prototyping their ideas and gaining a thorough understanding of how to tackle real-world challenges through a rich learning experience.”
“Fly Your Ideas is unique and we are proud of the company-wide engagement of Airbus employees who support the competition, either as assessors, mentors or experts”, says Charles Champion, Airbus Executive Vice President Engineering. “We are offering students the rare opportunity to interact directly with senior specialists from across the business. In turn, these experts will benefit from their direct interaction with talents from across the globe, all sharing the same passion for one of the world’s most exciting industries.”
Diversity is an essential driver for innovation and success, and this is reflected in the composition of the teams, with 52% of teams mixing male and female students; two thirds of all teams are diverse in some way, for example with members coming from different countries or studying different subjects.
Each of the teams has 100 days to refine and develop their ideas. The top five teams to make it through to Round Three will spend a week at the “ProtoSpace” based at the Airbus HQ in Toulouse to prototype, test and visualise their ideas using state-of-the art equipment with personalised guidance from Airbus. The winning team will receive a €30,000 prize, the runner up team €15,000, at a live prize giving event in May 2017.