Thursday, May 26, 2011

Team Algaebus - out of the box and out of the classroom

Tired of hearing us say that SAIS is an experience both inside and outside the classroom? Bear with us and consider this example of student activity.

Nicolò Lanciotti, Andrew Orihuela and Michael Volpe recently participated in a global competition sponsored by Airbus. Part of the airline's efforts to develop a greener future for aviation, the "Fly Your Ideas" challenge drew entries from 2,600 students from 75 countries.

Participants chasing the €30,000 first prize were encouraged to propose an idea related to one stage of the aircraft's life: design, supply chain, manufacturing, aircraft operations or aircraft disposal.

You'll have to watch the short video below to learn the details of the SAIS Bologna students' project. To whet your curiosity: think algae, biofuel, cosmetics, fishmeal and Omega-3.

Orihuela, Volpe and Lanciotti
Mentored by SAIS Bologna Director Ken Keller and assisted by engineer Luca Perletta, the three MA candidates focused on creating a cost-effective and marketable idea. They made it to the second round, where the number of participating teams was whittled down to 80 from more than 300.

"I was able to integrate the project to some of the courses I am taking. It was a great way to use the efforts put into the project in class," said Volpe, a U.S. citizen.

The fledgling engineers said one of the biggest challenges was finding time outside of class. They had to consider the project from the standpoint of an investor and then market their idea. "I highly recommend this experience, although it was time-consuming," said Orihuela, also from the United States.

Lanciotti, from Italy, edited the video. Volpe contributed the drawings. We'll let you guess who did the voice-over.

Amina Abdiuahab


Anonymous said...

This project is absolutely phenomenal. Are they engineers by trade? Because beyond the marketability of such an idea, its quite technical. As well, are there many of these sorts of competitions that are advertised during the school year?

NVM said...

Cool voice over...but cooler project. Some may say that I am too interested in environmental sustainability. This project does not, therefore, fall on deaf ears or shut eyes. Lanciotti, Orihuela, Volpe and Perletta good job- are you going to take this one to the laboratory and get to work?

MVolpe said...

Anonymous- I studied Physics before coming to SAIS, but I was the only one on the team with a technical background. The project was advertised to the class e-mail, as were a few others throughout the year, but none caught my attention more than this one.

NVM- Thanks for your support. I'd personally like to track developments in the field and work on algae projects in the future, but I won't speak for the team on that one.

N.L. said...

@Anonymous. I have a political background; so I'm really far from being a lab guy or a Physics as Michael. During the year, you will receive proposal for attending business games or similar competitions from many schools and companies. I can mention "Hult business game" about water; or the Strategic studies competition from Cambrige.

@NVM. Thanks, I am glad that you've appreciated our project. By the way, for me no more algae for the next few months.It had enough this year :)


Anonymous said...

Well, I'm genuinely impressed. I started my undergrad in engineering but then switched to finance later on. But during that time (and even now), I was really interested in innovative ways to sustain the environment without impacting profitability and I find that algae is one of the best ways to go. Best of luck to you guys!

Anonymous said...

What is the strategic studies competition at Cambridge? Can you provide the program name?

Anonymous said...

Is this Director Kenneth Keller who did the voice?

MVolpe said...

Anonymous- That's correct, Dr. Keller did the voiceover