Siemens competition unearths next generation of engineering and technology business talent

Siemens has found the next generation of engineering, technology and business talent through an innovative, virtual competition which challenged students to design a smart, sustainable and interconnected transport system.

The two-day hackathon-style event, called ‘Siemens SustainaCity Racer’, involved 60 students from 11 of the company’s partner universities including the University of Manchester.

Participants were put into 10 hybrid, multidisciplinary teams and asked to work together virtually to design a new transport network for a fictional city region, combining a variety of transport types, and considering the demands of different environments. An exercise in design thinking, the students were challenged to take into account engineering, digital and commercial elements.

The winning group scooped the prize of a £250 Amazon voucher and a trophy for each member, as well as an interview for internship and graduate roles at Siemens Digital Industries which is based in Manchester and Congleton, as well as Siemens’ Mobility and Smart Infrastructure businesses.

Key characteristics of the team’s proposals, which aimed to achieve zero emissions, included: smart vehicles powered by IoT technology; smart power sources for cars, trains, trams and boats such as electric, hydro, wind and solar power; smart charging stations for cars and buses; a Smart app for users to plan journeys, receive information and also make payments; a Smart transport framework to facilitate public transport access; and new Personal Electric Automobile (PEA) vehicles to provide transportation in the countryside.

SustainaCity, which took place at the end of 2020, was created as a virtual competition to replace the annual Sir William Siemens Challenge, a live hackathon-style event held at the University of Sheffield, which had to be cancelled due to Covid-19.

It was launched by Brian Holliday, Managing Director of Siemens Digital Industries, and Will Wilson, CEO of Siemens Mobility, reports Business Manchester.

Nicholas Dunne, Director of Technology for Siemens Mobility, said: “Siemens is shaping the global landscape with every kind of energy, transportation and technological infrastructure imaginable. In this digital world, where everything is becoming increasingly interconnected, we’re in constant need of visionary talent who can help us build on a new age of connected mobility that allows people to move more intelligently and sustainably.

“I am delighted that our Talent Acquisition team was able to come up with SustainaCity, a fantastic alternative to replace the annual Sir William Siemens Challenge which had to be cancelled due to Covid-19.

“The judges were hugely impressed with the creativity of all of the participants and how they responded to the additional challenge of working in a virtual and collaborative environment, and we hope the experience could be a defining moment in what could be a fascinating and rewarding career with Siemens.”

SustainaCity builds on Siemens’ commitment to forging a partnership with higher education providers to bridge the Industry 4.0 skills gap.

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