This year’s Challenge Week would be my last. It was also the final year that our ReNUWIt counterparts from across the Atlantic would be joining us. This year we had the pleasure of showing 5 wonderful students – Scott, Yalin, Jon, Chelsea and Kim – the delights of Torquay.
We arrived at noon on Sunday to a beautiful setting – a grand hotel on the seafront – and whilst we awaited the arrival of the rest of the STREAMers, we found ourselves a big screen to watch Murray win the Wimbledon Men’s Final.
After an evening spent watching the Euro 2016 final taking place across the Channel in France, the following morning the challenge was revealed.
We would be playing a ‘serious game’: an online simulation on water distribution systems. We were allocated a team – split up to work with members of other cohorts from different universities and sponsors – and the first task was to familiarise ourselves with a simplified version of the interface.
We had to remedy a failing water distribution network: replacing, upgrading, downsizing and closing off pipes to minimise cost, leakage and water age (and therefore, maximising water quality) without compromising the pressure in the network and ensuring all of the nodes had a supply.
Tuesday afternoon included a scheduled break from the challenge. As we collected our packed lunches and boarded the bus to Haldon Forest we speculated over what the activity would be. A rumour had spread it might be Go Ape so there were one or two slightly disappointed faces when we found out we wouldn’t be swinging through the tree tops.
The group split into two teams for training and games for the segway activity. As my group would be going second we had a little free time so we hired some mountain bikes and went to explore a couple of trails.
Wednesday was the annual STREAM one day conference. The turnout from our industrial partners was probably one of the best ever and the STREAMers no doubt appreciated the feedback and insight they provided during the poster sessions (cohort 5-7) and presentations (cohort 4).
But real credit should go to Sam (Sheffield Uni/Scottish Water) – who was judged by Steve Kay at Anglian to be the best project: due to his engagement with stakeholders (namely the environment agency) and clear presentation of his topic.
We had put quite a bit of effort into planning, costing and writing a proposal for a mini conference, workshop and team-building activities to support the IAB event…and we found out this week that our proposal had been accepted.
There was an overwhelming interest from STREAMers to participate. The application for the opportunity will be circulated ASAP so that David Werner, who secured the collaborative funding back in 2013, can select the successful handful that will be able to go. Keep your eyes peeled!