Design Engineers urged to tackle the world’s sustainability challenges with Protolabs-backed ‘training hackathon’

A unique training hackathon that will help design engineers from across the UK tackle some of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges has been launched today.

Created by ‘InspirON’ – the Protolabs centre for connecting, sharing, inspiring and innovating – the event will fast-forward participants so they are ready to meet evolving ‘green’ legislation and society’s accelerated desire for energy efficiency, plastic waste reduction and the mitigation of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

Taking place online from 20th April until the end of May 2021, it will consist of a series of panel discussions and webinars by sustainability experts and thought leaders, including ‘innovation warrior’ Simon Lockrey, Sophie Thomas from Thomas Matthews, author and public speaker Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino and Chris Grantham from IDEO.

The InspirON event, which is being delivered in partnership with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (The IET) and Wevolver, will help participants understand how products can achieve optimum sustainability through life-cycle analysis.

Bjoern Klaas, Vice President and Managing Director of Protolabs, Europe, commented: “The ambitions of governments will lean more heavily on industry, on manufacturers and consequently on those designing the products, creating the great engineering challenge of tomorrow.

“This is why we’re excited to announce the upcoming InspirON event because it will help empower design engineers to support the move to a more sustainable economy.”

He continued: “Whatever stage of their career, this is a great opportunity for individuals to learn directly from experts in the field and collaborate with their peers to advance their learning.”

The change to a more sustainable future is expected to ramp up over the coming years due to agreements set out by governments around the world. For example, the UK’s target for greenhouse gas reduction is at least 68% by 2030; the EU’s target is at least 55% within the same timeframe.

Areas of focus will include ethics, public perception, materials, processes, the circular economy, sustainability best practice – all delivered by leading authorities.

The training hackathon will bring together participants under the principle of learning whilst responding to a challenge: What can participants redesign with life-cycle analysis (LCA) and sustainability in mind?

Participants will have the opportunity to work in teams, to put their learnings into practice and to receive feedback on their work. All webinars, panel discussions and the challenge that form the event will be CPD accredited, in accordance with The IET’s CPD policy.

Dr Simon Lockrey, Senior Lecturer at RMIT, Australia and board member of the International Sustainable Development Research Society, added his support: “We face grand challenges this century, such as climate change, resource limits, food security issues and water shortage.

“Increasingly, designers and engineers need to be cognizant of the impact the products and services they create have on the world in light of such problems. Life-cycle assessment is one way to understand these issues and the InspirON event from Protolabs will help illuminate best practice methods that can be applied on projects of the future.”

Dr Vannessa Goodship, Associate Professor, Materials and Manufacturing Group at WMG, is another one of the experts speaking at the event: “Leaving sustainability to somebody else is no longer an option. The time to act is now. The time to learn is now. Join the InspirON event from Protolabs, share in the design of the future, meet the community, make the connections and make a difference.”

Protolabs’ Bjoern Klaas concluded: “Manufacturers are increasingly realising the true value of sustainability, with many practical short and long-term financial benefits. With a suitable framework in place, such as the InspirON event, design engineers will be better placed to help reap these benefits, help improve profitability, and meet the regulatory and consumer demands of the future.”

 Registration is open from today and more information can be found at the event website here.