Today it’s Monday May 14, and we’re prying open our eyes to look back on a special weekend. No, we’re not talking about the Songfestival (too bad Waylon). Last weekend we organized the semi finals and the finals of Dopper Foundation’s Changemaker Challenge; a competition which encourages students to write their graduation research on water and / or plastic waste issues and helps them make it groundbreaking. And – as predicted – it was a waterful weekend, full of good pitches, fun, inspiration, adventure, and not that much sleep. But students are used to that, right?
On Saturday, we started with a full day of pitches from all eighteen semi fin
alists. And we couldn’t have been at a more suitable location than The Ceuvel, since this is THE playground for innovation and creativity in Amsterdam. Maybe these surroundings helped, but the pitch training at Dopper’s HQ a week before probably didn’t hurt either, because the pitches blew away our judges. ‘I want to create a filter to capture microplastic fibres in washing machines’, wow! ‘I want people to have an alternative to cosmetics with microplastics in them’, another wow! No wonder our judges had a difficult time deciding which ten students should continue to Sunday’s finals. But after a long and stressful jury deliberation, they resurfaced and presented the ten finalists.
When the top 10 was announced, did the semi-finalists walk the proverbial plank? No way! All eighteen students joined the jury members and Dopper crew to the harbor, to kick off the most exciting part of the weekend: a sailing trip across the Markermeer! As stress levels faded, everyone could enjoy music, veggie food and the occasional beer. And we couldn’t have ended the evening better, dancing around a bonfire, on an island in the middle of the lake.
The next morning, after a short night on the boat, everyone could use some recharging. A sunrise yoga session would do the trick! A series of fish- and dolphin poses made sure our finalists felt a healthy combination of adrenaline and relaxation (adrena-zen?) when their speed dates with the jury commenced. And before we knew it, the moment to decide was there. Who would be the winner of the Changemaker Challenge, winning € 5.000, – for their graduation research? Once again, the judges were torn. After a long discussion it was ‘all hands on deck’ for the announcement of the top 10. The winner of the Changemaker Challenge, class of 2018 is *drumroll*… Amy Mooijman! An advertising student at Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam who is working on an awareness campaign around microplastic in cosmetics for the next year. We are going to follow her on her journey, so stay tuned to find out more…
1 Winner of €5.000,-
Amy Mooijman – Advertising at Willem de Kooning Academy
Research and awareness campaign on replacing microplastic in cosmetics.
2 Winner of €2.500,-
Laure Herweyers – Product Development at University of Antwerp
Developing an external filter for washing machines to capture microplastic fibres.
3 Winner of €1.250,-
Donna Algra – Biotechnology and Biology at Wageningen University & Research
Research and development of a low-tech solution to process (marine) plastic waste into usable products to provide local island people with an incentive to collect and recycle (marine) plastic waste.
4 Winner of €750,-
Glenn Verhaege – Strategic Design at University of Antwerp
Design a new (reusable) packaging for food delivery, which better preserves the quality of the transported food, creates a better “restaurant experience” at home and is more ecological than the current alternatives.
5 – 10 Winners of €500,-
Rushabh Chheda – Architecture at TU Delft
Research on the use of the existing network of local waste recyclers and the informal building industry, to create modular, pluggable building elements using waste plastic, that can be used and produced safely by the local community.
Lotte Bouwman – University College Leiden
Research on the effects of micro- and nanoplastics on plants and looking for the right way to measure these.
Jasper Schakel – Civil Engineering/Watermanagement/Sanitation at TU Delft
Research and improvements on the technique of adsorption desalination.
Philip Ehrhorn – Aquatic Ecosystem Analysis at Aeres Hogeschool
Research on the available data on the plastic pollution in the Amsterdam canals and design of a monitoring plan in order to fill the information gap.
Piek Kuppers – Integrated Product Design at TU Delft
Design using seaweed and the acceptation of seaweed products within the plastic industry.
Lea Mazy – Design at Design Academy Eindhoven
Challenging the way we access, perceive and interact with water in our homes.
See all photos here (credits: Anna den Hartog):