Members of the USYD Rocketry Team

Five ways our engineering students are making an impact

27 February 2023
Innovating beyond the classroom

At the Faculty of Engineering, students are applying their engineering abilities and knowledge to advance technologies, gain real-world experience, and find creative and sustainable solutions to everyday challenges.

From current students to future students, undergraduate to postgraduate,the Faculty of Engineering supports and celebrates students’ unique ideas and their work to solve real-world problems. Here are five ways we’ve seen students find innovative ways to apply their skills and knowledge to real-world scenarios.

The USYD Rocketry team at work in September 2022 at the Vertical Launch Area.

1. Skyrocketing to gold at the 2022 Spaceport America Cup

The USYD Rocketry Team bested 97 student teams from 22 countries at the 2022 Spaceport America Cup in New Mexico.

Australia’s oldest student rocketry team won first place for the successful launch of Bluewren, the 30,000 feet commercial-off-the-shelf rocket.

The team also took out top honours for the visionary design of Callistemon, the space debris capture payload.

It was the team’s third time joining the annual intercollegiate rocketry competition, having already gained gold, silver and bronze wins in 2021 and 2019.

Humanitarian Innovation Hackathon for 2022 winner, Team Ashaway

Humanitarian Innovation Hackathon for 2022 winner, Team Ashaway. 

2. Award-winning engineering solutions for vulnerable communities

The Professor Ron Johnston Humanitarian Innovation Awards, comprised of The Humanitarian Hackathon and The Innovation Pitch, bring together university students to devise practical, technological solutions to address current humanitarian challenges.

2022 Winner Team Ashaway won the top prize for an engineering solution to monitor air pollution in Tonga after a volcanic eruption, while Runner-up Team Alma Aqua proposed a type of water purifier for the same cause.

Biotech Futures Challenge winner Evelyn Zhu

Biotech Futures Challenge winner Evelyn Zhu.

Photo: BIOTech website

3. School students’ out-of-the box ideas for health or the environment

Pymble Ladies College student Evelyn Zhu was awarded first place in the 2022 Biotech Futures Challenge.

Evelyn took home the honour for her innovative idea to help amputees experience touch and sensations through the use of light to control the activity of neurons or other cell types.

This University-sponsored competition promotes advancing STEM skills among high school students to help develop more alternative ways to tackle prevailing issues in the healthcare and environmental sectors.

SM20, the Sydney Motorsport 2022 competition car

SM20, the Sydney Motorsport 2022 competition car.

4. Navigating the racecourse of automotive design

Sydney Motorsport, a cross-disciplinary student team supported by the University and its industry partners, built and designed a formula-style race car for the 2022 Formula Society of Automotive Engineers competition in Victoria.

The “SM20” was the Sydney team’s lightest vehicle yet for the international contest.

It went on to win first place in the Autocross category, then placed second and third for Business Presentation, Cost, Engineering Design, Acceleration and Skid Pad.

Virtual reality training simulations for NSW Youth Justice

Virtual reality training simulations for NSW Youth Justice.

5. Developing virtual reality training for Youth Justice officers

A team of computer science students based in China started co-developing virtual reality simulations during the pandemic for the training and recruitment purposes of youth custodial centres in New South Wales.

With an aim to effectively safeguard young people’s privacy and centre security, the project is currently being finalised by The Digital Innovation team (TechLab) before its actual implementation by Youth Justice NSW.