Putting Psychology into the EPS Innovation Bootcamp
On 29- 30 March 2021, Psychology students took part in the first cross-School, inter-Faculty female-only student innovation competition.
This event was organised by Athena SWAN Champions and attended by 23 female students from across the Engineering and Physical Sciences Faculty. The aim of the event was to demonstrate the importance of collaboration and innovation, by supporting female students from across disciplines to come together to share their knowledge and skills to solve a social problem within the topic “Building Good Together”.
The two-day innovation competition provided students with the opportunity to hear from a number of influential guest speakers, including Janet Toal (Innovation Manger at InterTrade Ireland), Clare Gallagher (Head of Membership, Women in Business NI), and Judy McElroy (Sustainability Manager, NIE Networks).
Students worked in small interdisciplinary teams to develop innovative solutions to real world problems. All teams presented excellent ideas, with three teams shortlisted for the final. There was a psychology student on each of the finalist teams:
1st Prize - Team 5: AAHAR promoted zero food waste through the use of their app to reduce the amount of food waste
Clockwise from left: Alice Liddell (MAE); Suyi Yang (Psychology); Nidhi Kumari (EEECS)
“I was delighted to have this opportunity to participate. I was very interested in this theme, which was “Building Good Together”.
My team chose sustainability as our sub-theme and designed a mobile phone app ‘AAHAR’ to deal with food waste. My team members came from different schools, so we applied our disciplinary knowledge when designing this app, which I thought was the most interesting part of the event. As a psychology student, my part was how to motivate people to use ‘AAHAR’. I proposed adding a function to ‘AAHAR’ that allows people to buy Funky Boxes made of veggies that look ‘ugly’. By appealing to people’s curiosity to use ‘AAHAR’ to buy the Funky Box, the farm can also reduce food waste on ‘ugly’ veggies. My teammates Alice and Nidhi used their expertise to organize the data, develop other functions, and design a web page for ‘AAHAR’.
This event allowed me to express my ideas and also improved my communication and teamwork skills."
2nd Prize - Team 4: ConnectAir who proposed indoor/sensory gardens as a response to the global pandemic and creating safe spaces for collaboration around QUB
Clockwise from left: Laoise Duffy (EEECS); Eva Kocicova (Psychology); Sara Sokolowska-Katzer (NBE)
Eva said about the Bootcamp:
“I personally loved the idea of connecting with other women from various EPS Schools and was intrigued by the competition. My worries about how the event would go were quickly relaxed when I met my team. Utilizing our knowledge from psychology, architecture, and computer science, we developed an idea of safe, sustainable outdoor pods bookable by Queen’s students. These would not only provide a place to meet in the fresh air (so important during the times of viral airborne pandemics), but also promote equal opportunities via developing a peer-support network, as well as tackle mental health problems by allowing to re-connect with nature. Overall, I had a great time during the event, and I enjoyed listening to so many inspiring ideas from other women. I find cooperating with people outside my field productive, and I would love to attend a similar event in the future."
3rd Prize - Team 1: Light Box Home looking at re-use of PPE through UVC technology
Clockwise from top left: Clarisse Dugast (Psychology); Catriona O'Neill (EEECS); R T Ravindran Bairavee (CCE); Laura Kettyles (NBE)
“I decided to take part in the EPS innovation boot camp as I wanted to experience what QUB had to offer with regards to personal and professional development outside of my course. It was enlightening to work with students from other EPS divisions such as chemical and environmental engineering. We combined our knowledge to develop a UV-C light box to decontaminate PPE in order to promote sustainability. From a psychological perspective, input included assessing environmental behavioural trends and the importance of ensuring our product was naturally selective while endorsing beliefs and values of potential consumers in relation to sustainability. The opportunity to network with lecturers, professionals and students from EPS backgrounds improved my confidence and widened my awareness of the potential benefits and opportunities of multidisciplinary work. I would thoroughly recommend involvement to other psychology students who want to gain experience of working with individuals from different disciplines and using their skill set to contribute to the development of new and innovative ideas."
Dr Lisa Graham-Wisener who was involved in organising and judging at the event said;
“It was fantastic to see the unique contribution each of the psychology students made within their teams. The students applied their psychological knowledge to solving real world problems, and accomplished a great deal in a short space of time. All the judges were very impressed and found it difficult to pick a winner. Well done all!”
Congratulations to all the finalist teams, and in particular to our psychology students- Suyi Yang, Eva Kocicova and Clarisse Dugast!
To learn more about SWAN visit: https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/psy/about/AthenaSwanAwards/