UCD students to represent Ireland at ENGCOMM 2021 after win in ESB Inter-Colleges Challenge

Image Credit: Dominic Daly

After winning this year’s ESB Inter-Colleges Challenge, UCD students Aoife Cunningham, Scott Mulligan, Allannah Duffy and Benjamin Fitzpatrick will represent Ireland at the international engineering and commerce competition, ENGCOMM 2021.

Coached by Associate Professor Aisling Ní Annaidh, from the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, the team will compete against other universities worldwide at ENGCOMM 2021, which will take place virtually next February. This is the third ESB Inter-Colleges Challenge win for Assoc Prof Ní Annaidh. The UCD team narrowly beat representatives from Queen’s University Belfast and Cork Institute of Technology.

According to a press release from the ESB:“The teams were tasked to set out a vision for Ireland’s hydrogen economy in 2030 with a specific focus on transport and moving the country’s freight sector to net-zero carbon emissions – as the adoption of hydrogen will play a role in Ireland’s transition to a clean energy future”.

The ESB Inter-Colleges Challenge 2020 was held online on Thursday 19th November and Friday 20th November, as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions. 36 students from nine colleges across the island of Ireland were required to pitch their creative solutions to the question posed to “an expert panel of judges”. According to the ESB; “Participants were tested over a full range of engineering, financial, marketing and team working skills. Other winners on the day included Waterford Institute of Technology for Best Technical Solution and last year’s overall winners, Technological University Dublin for Best Commercial Solution”.

Marguerite Sayers, ESB’s Executive Director, Customer Solutions commended participants, saying: “The quality of the work undertaken by each of the teams over the two days demonstrates their ability to think critically and creatively about the challenges facing Ireland and the energy sector in the transition to a low carbon future. Each team worked incredibly well together in different circumstances this year as our event took place online for the first time due to Covid-19.

“I was hugely impressed by the novel solutions to the challenge that each team pitched to the expert panel. I would like to thank all teams for their participation and wish UCD the best of luck as they represent Ireland on the international stage at ENGCOMM 2021.”

Cunningham from Kildare, Mulligan from Dublin, Duffy from Mayo and Fitzpatrick from Dublin will all be presented with the prestigious McLoughlin perpetual trophy at a later date – “in line with Covid-19 protocols”. As part of their win, the team will also receive placements within ESB.