UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering


Undergraduate Challenge 1 video winners revealed

19 February 2019

The best video winners from the BEng and MEng Civil Engineering module Engineering Challenges were announced last month. Students collaborated with peers from Chile as part of Challenge 1, in the first half of the module.

Best video CEGE undergrad students collect their prizes from CEGE and UCL Engineering staff

Would you know how to construct earthquake-proof structures, predict when sloped ground will fail, or be confident enough to advise a safe evacuation route for a large public building?

Could you do all this and effectively communicate your ideas in multimedia format, whilst working with peers halfway across the world?

Our first year Civil Engineering undergraduates did just that and more during their Challenge 1 experience last term, collaborating with students from Pontificia Universidad Catolica (PUC) in Chile, plus producing a short video to be evaluated by a panel from PUC as part of their assessment.

Forming the first half of the Engineering Challenges module, Challenge 1 is an opportunity for new undergraduates "to approach real civil engineering problems and the way in which civil engineers can help and support people in the event of a disaster”, explains Dr Lopez-Querol, Senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering and Challenge 1 coordinator for the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (CEGE).  

Tasked with analysing the effects of the 2010 Chile Earthquake, BEng and MEng Civil Engineering students from CEGE shared work and activities with teams from PUC, “fully replicating an international work environment”, as Dr Lopez-Querol notes.

The winners from CEGE were Group 3, comprising students Lai, Kenneth, Yi, Celik and Liz, who are pictured above with Dr Lopez-Querol (far left), Postgraduate Teaching Assistant (PGTA) and CEGE PhD student Michail Spyridis (back row, right), Dr Truscott, Engineering Challenges Lead (front row, middle) and PGTA and CEGE PhD student Silvia Bertelli (front row, right). Congratulations are also due to the runner-up Groups, 8 and 16.    

Group 3 member Liz states that “Challenge 1 was a great introduction to my Civil Engineering degree”, commenting how “it was new to participate in so much group work, but it ended up being rewarding once we’d completed the project. Learning theory and then seeing its use in real life situations felt useful, and the workshops let us combine mathematics and design. Communicating and exchanging ideas and reports with students in Chile was different and very topical considering the location of the case study, really adding to the project as a whole. I gained a range of geotechnical knowledge from Challenge 1 and am very glad to have participated.”  

Dr Lopez-Querol adds that “the outcome of Challenge 1, both at PUC and UCL, has been extremely rewarding and satisfactory, with the main result being highly motivated students, excited to tackle the next set of modules in their degree.”  

The Engineering Challenges module is part of UCL Engineering’s Integrated Engineering Programme (IEP) teaching framework, which combines creativity, interdisciplinarity and the application of theory to solve real-world engineering problems. Challenge 1 is Department specific, and entirely organised and delivered by CEGE. Special thanks go to Dr Manni Bhatti for her help with Challenge 1.