ASME’s Engineering for Change and Siemens Announce Innovate for Impact: Siemens Design Challenge Winners

September 15, 2020 11:00 AM EDT

Teams from Colombia, Uganda and the U.S. selected for outstanding innovations that help meet need for clean water and adequate food supply globally

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Earlier today in a virtual awards ceremony, global technology company Siemens, in collaboration with Engineering for Change (E4C), a knowledge organization, digital platform and community from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), announced the two winners of the Innovate for Impact: Siemens Design Challenge. The winning teams produced scalable solutions addressing two of the United Nations sustainable development goals: zero hunger and clean water.

Taking the prize in the Zero Hunger category, the EcoLife Foods team introduced EcoLife Cold Room — a cold room storage solution that aids rural farmers in lessening crop loss due to poor handling and storage techniques. Targeting communities in central and southern Uganda, the cold room is made of locally sourced and recycled elements, resulting in a cooperative, affordable, and sustainable design. Representing Uganda and the U.S., the team is made up of Kyle Gaiser, Hadijah Nantambi, and Ian Williams.

“We were inspired by the opportunity to model agricultural innovations from the ground up,” said the EcoLife Foods team. “We have farmers and academics alike brainstorming insulation designs and testing manufacturing processes. This challenge gave us the opportunity to pursue research goals and accomplish our vision of providing every Ugandan - whether in a far-off village, or a densely packed informal settlement- with fresh healthy food."

Topping the competition in the Clean Water category, the Apü üya Wüin—The Guardian of Water team designed a ready-to-assemble solar-powered water desalination device. Targeting the arid La Guajira region of Colombia, the team supplemented the device with a comprehensive education strategy that assures social appropriation of the technology for the Parenskat-Wayuu community. The team consists of John Aguilar, Mónica Gutiérrez, Manuel Mejía, Sebastian Rodriguez, and Aliex Trujillo of Colombia.

“The beauty of our device is that it can be assembled and maintained without any special tools or training,” shared the Apü üya Wüin team. “We are one step closer to providing a sustainable solution to water supply in the community of Parenskat.”

Each winning solution has been awarded $10,000 (USD), as well as tailored guidance and support based on their individual product development needs. Winners will connect with the appropriate subject matter experts at Siemens and within the E4C network, and have their designs highlighted in the months ahead at events including Impact.Engineered. Winners will participate in the Impact.Engineered “Tech Gallery” alongside other hardware-led social enterprises to gain valuable exposure to global development professionals for their startup ventures.

Announced in February, the challenge was a call to action for socially minded engineers and hardware innovators who chose to either design a postharvest off-grid preservation technology to reduce farm-to-table food loss in lower resource settings or to design a low-cost, energy-efficient, scalable innovation for desalination of brackish water. Participants were made up of engineering students, practicing engineers, faculty, entrepreneurs, and global development practitioners. Competitors from 34 countries, representing 43 universities, took part in the challenge and proposed more than 220 solutions. Four finalists were announced in August for each of the two tracks.

“We created this challenge nearly a year ago with the purpose of discovery at the forefront of our goals -- and what we received in response has exceeded our expectations,” said Barbara Humpton, CEO, Siemens USA. “As we confronted a global crisis, we watched our participants adapt – utilizing digital tools to connect across the globe – resulting in more than 200 submitted solutions. Rising to the top among hundreds, I congratulate our two winners for embodying Siemens’ mission of using technology to serve society by creating two exceptional yet practical innovations.”

ASME’s E4C team architected the application and evaluation process, educated participants on human-centered design principles, and provided a variety of enabling tools and resources. Siemens provided free access and training on cutting-edge technology tools for digital design and engineering from its Xcelerator™ portfolio, including Solid Edge® software and a new co-creation platform developed with Siemens’ Mendix™ platform for low-code application development. Siemens’ software is widely used by many of the world’s leading companies to design, engineer and manufacture all types of products and infrastructure.

“Over the course of the Challenge phases, the judges focused on the most promising submissions in terms of their technological merit, adoption potential, scalability, and ultimately their impact on quality of life,” says Iana Aranda, director of engineering global development programs for ASME. “These two teams excelled consistently while integrating the judges’ feedback throughout the challenge. Their solutions truly strive for sustainability and embody the principles of human-centered design.”

For more information about Innovate for Impact: Siemens Design Challenge, please visit

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About Engineering for Change (E4C)

Engineering for Change (E4C) is a knowledge organization dedicated to preparing, educating, and activating the international engineering workforce to improve the quality of life of underserved communities worldwide. E4C provides access to resources, talent and platforms that accelerate the development of impactful solutions and infuse engineering rigor into global development. Our diverse, global community of over 1 million people is comprised of engineers, technologists, social entrepreneurs, and development practitioners.

Jointly founded by ASME and other leading engineering societies, E4C has attracted the support of a variety of partners and sponsors ranging from industry, academia, non-profits and multilateral organizations, and corporations including Siemens.

About ASME

ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real-world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education, and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world. For more information visit


About Siemens USA

Siemens Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Siemens AG, a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 170 years. The company is active around the globe, focusing on the areas of intelligent infrastructure for buildings and distributed energy systems, and automation and digitalization in the process and manufacturing industries. Through the separately managed companies Siemens Energy, the global energy business of Siemens, and Siemens Mobility, a leading supplier of smart mobility solutions for rail and road transport, Siemens is shaping the energy systems of today and tomorrow as well as the world market for passenger and freight services. Due to its majority stakes in the publicly listed companies Siemens Healthineers AG and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (as part of Siemens Energy), Siemens is also a world-leading supplier of medical technology and digital healthcare services as well as environmentally friendly solutions for onshore and offshore wind power generation. For more than 160 years, the company has innovated and invented technologies to support American industry spanning manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and infrastructure. In fiscal 2019, Siemens USA reported revenue of $26.5 billion and employs approximately 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Follow us on Twitter at:

Note: A list of relevant Siemens trademarks can be found here.

Monica Shovlin
MCShovlin Communications LLC
(for E4C and ASME)
[email protected]
+1 541-554-3796

Ashley Lagzial
Siemens USA
[email protected]
+1 646-415-2946

Source: Siemens Corporation

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