Invent for the Planet is an Intensive Design Experience which engages students at different universities around the world and tasks them with solving some of the world’s most pressing problems in just 48 hours.

Led by our partner, Texas A&M University, students work in local teams to develop solutions to challenges such as food security, waste management, energy consumption, and flooding. Student teams develop concepts, prototypes and elevator pitches which are presented to a panel of expert judges. Read about their ideas below.

In 2018 Swansea was one of just 14 universities worldwide invited to participate in the inaugural Invent for the Planet and it remains the only UK university invited to partcipate.

In 2019 a Swansea team was selected to participate in the Invent for the Planet Grand Final in Texas where they took 3rd place overall.

Swansea team wins 3rd place

Invent for the Planet Grand Final 2019

Winning student team

Finding Solutions to the World's Most Pressing Problems

Teams select a challenge from a set of Needs Statements such as:

  • Improving Recycling
  • Reduce Food Waste
  • Preventing Bush Fires
  • Reducing Single-Use plastics
  • Tackling Fake News
  • Providing Access to Clean Water

2023 Winners: H2Grow

Improving access to Clean Water

Photo of winning student team with event judges

2.2 million people around the world currently lack access to safe drinking water.

2023 winners H2Grow chose to tackle this issue and were tasked with developing an affordable and easy device that could provide safe drinking water.

The team, which comprised Alex Henson from Engineering, Oli Leslie-Golding from Physics, and Engineering exchange students Matthew Coomes and Rachel Simms from Texas A&M University, developed a reverse-osmosis pump which could convert toxic river water into potable water for rural farming communities. 

2020 WINNER: LifeLight



Ocean Trash

2019 Winner: SuperSocials

Iphone screen

2019 Runner-Up: Tech Connect

Drone prototype

Winning Team 2020: LifeLight

Needs Statement: A smart city uses information and communication technologies to address public issues with solutions that leverage resources more intelligently and efficiently. As a result, smart cities experience cost and energy savings, improved service delivery and quality of life, and a reduced environmental footprint. Develop, replace, or upgrade an existing process or technology that would make a city smarter.

Product: LifeLight

  • This solution aims to improve emergency vehicle response times by using an Internet of Things system architecture to alert motorists of approaching emergency service vehicles ahead of time so that they can move out of the way

Team members: Alexander Santo Ruiz (Mechanical Engineering), Patryk Adamiak (Mechanical Engineering), Olimpain Belu (Mechanical Engineering), Mahmoud Elshenawy (Materials Science and Engineering)

Winning Team 2019: SuperSocials

Needs Statement: A large portion of the population spends at least a portion of their lives feeling isolated and lonely. This can happen during a child’s adolescent period and extend into their adult life. Can we design a system, better than current social media that connects people and reduces loneliness?

Product: SuperSocials App

  • This solution uses technological innovations such as near-field communication, geo-location and social media to incentivise users to go out and meet new people and reduce loneliness.
  • Users can earn points by meeting new people, creating and participating in events.  These points can later be redeemed for items or at local businesses. 

Team members: Josephine Leong (Mechanical Engineering), Jekaterina Macilevic (Chemical Engineering), Anna von der Bank (Aerospace Engineering), Sajal Gurung (MSc), Tofazzal Rashid (MSc) 

"Our innovation has the potential to save countless lives"

Mahmoud Elshenawy, Winning Team 2020

Mahmoud Elshenawy

"I learnt so much from having the chance to work as an interdisciplinary team"

Christine Entwisle, Chemical Engineering, 2018 Participant

Students working around a table

Runner-Up Team 2020: Ocean's Heaven

Needs Statement: There is growing concern over the “Great Pacific Trash Pile” currently floating in the North Pacific Ocean. However, it’s not necessarily the visible plastic waste that poses the largest threat to the environment - it is the small, microparticles. The longer these microplastics are exposed to numerous ocean elements, the more toxic they can become. How do we properly collect and dispose of ocean plastics?


  • A modular plastic collection and sorting system that is adapted to remove and sort through plastics on the surface water.
  • Using a suction-based funnel system, the device draws plastics in and sort them plastics into hard (thermoplastics), soft (thermosetting) plastics and microplastics.

Team members: Abigail Crane (Chemical Engineering), Michal Urbanski (Mechanical Engineering), Jessica Sarah Britton (Mechanical Engineering), Florence Mayo (Medical Engineering), Hamza Eren Gunaltay (Aerospace Engineering), Roby Karan Singh (Electronic & Electrical Engineering)

Runner-Up Team 2019: Tech Connect

Needs Statement: We are promised a world where everything is connected everywhere. However, for now, “things” are mostly connected in homes, factories, urban environments. As soon as you venture into the wild, network connectivity lacks. Airbus is developing a new electronic chip, that can be embedded in any product so our “things” can be connected anywhere, anytime. Find a promising application for this chip.

Solution: To use the Airbus IoT chip to bring access to both satellite and cellular networks to areas affected by natural disasters:

  • The chip would be located inside a hard, water-resistant case and delivered by drone, allowing people affected by communications breakdown to be rapidly reconnected to cellular and internet networks

Team members: Abigail Crane (Chemical Engineering), Chalisa Ano (Materials Engineering), Henry Hoddinott (Chemical Engineering), Michal Urbanski (Mechanical Engineering), Ryan Gallagher (Materials Engineering)

IFTP Judging Panel 2019

Featuring Swansea academics & College of Engineering alumni

Panel of judges

Invent for the Planet 2019:

32 students, 13 countries, 7 Engineering disciplines

Group shot