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Two DIT students win WHERE THERE IS NO ENGINEER competition

Posted: 13 June, 2018

Two students from the Product Design programme in DIT, Rachael Ryan and Olivia Holbrook, are the overall winners of this year's WHERE THERE IS NO ENGINEER, a national competition run by Engineers Without Borders - Ireland.

Rachael Ryan and Olivia Holbrook, designers of Tide a menstrual toolkit to help those in refugee camps.

This year's theme was Forced Migration, with six projects chosen for the National Finals on Saturday 9th June in DIT Grangegorman. Olivia and Rachael designed and presented "TIDE" - a menstrual toolkit including pad washing system to help those in refugee camps. The judges were particularly impressed with the effort the team had gone to while researching their concept, speaking to women living in Direct Provision and ensuring the product made sense on a practical, social and cultural level - meeting the needs and concerns of their end users.

The overall prize for the WTINE winners is a working trip to a refugee camp to meet people affected by this issue to develop their concept further. The trip is sponsored by Davies Water and facilitated by Concern Worldwide. Second and third place teams from TCD and NCAD were awarded an ARUP Innovation Award and will have their product concepts developed further here in Ireland over the coming months. 

"We are delighted with this achievement and hope that it will help to highlight the plight of females in the refugee crisis. We are very grateful to Engineers without Borders for the opportunity to enter this competition and to our lecturers for their guidance and to the guest talkers who gave of their time generously to help us in attempting to understand the scale of this issue", said Olivia Holbrook. 

The project was supervised by Dr Colm O’Kane and Keith Colton of the School of Mechanical and Design Engineering. A number of guest lecturers were invited to speak to the Product Design students to aid their understanding of the refugee crisis, including Fr Alan Hilliard, Peter Kifle and Sara Hakim of Places of Sanctuary Ireland. 

The BSc in Product Design in DIT was developed to produce graduates who can oversee the complete development cycle of a product and who are equipped with the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical skills to work in today’s demanding design fields. It takes a holistic approach to Product Design education and is a partnership between DIT's Schools of Mechanical and Design Engineering, Creative Arts and Marketing. 

This project was conducted within a new Ethical and Sustainable Design module developed by Dr O'Kane, who is also chair of the Programme, and Mr Colton along with Dr Pearl O'Rourke. They will present the process of developing the module and its approach to Sustainable Design Education at the upcoming Engineering and Product Design Education conference in London this September. Rachael and Olivia will also represent DIT at the European Innovation Academy in Shenzhen later this summer. 

TIDE. Poster - EWB 2018 Interactive