A year-round social impact innovation programme for graduate students across the world, Global Grad Show, held in partnership with Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), and supported by A.R.M. Holding and Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, has received entries from 125 universities in 40 countries during the application phase of its initiative addressing the collateral issues of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Created as a response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the COVID-19 open call invited Global Grad Show’s community of over 260 universities to put forward solutions to the escalating challenges faced by people, communities and governments across the world and the initiative received 390 applications between 16 March and 2 April 2020.
Applications were evaluated by a jury of senior representatives from four leading private and public organisations in Dubai: ICD, A.R.M. Holding, Wamda and the Art Dubai Group, whose inputs will inform the next assessment phase. For the next phase, Global Grad Show will engage with the students and professors behind these applications to analyse their development requirements, with a view to identify proposals that can be supported towards testing and implementation.
The creator(s) of any selected proposal will be awarded the tuition fee of their current studies, or equivalent scholarship for the department of selected professor(s) along with support for concept development and business building.
“It is extremely encouraging to see, in critical times such as this, that one of Dubai’s own homegrown initiatives calls on to the world to come together and find solutions for current and future problems posed by the spread of COVID-19. Global Grad Show has been one of the first to put forward such a proactive initiative, receiving a multitude of incredible proposals by young, brilliant minds from around the world. This initiative and the rapid response it received shows the importance and impact of human creativity and humanity selflessly coming together to provide collective solutions to combat obstacles, no matter how large. Dubai Culture, together with its partners, will continue to support and nurture this important initiative, and to do what we can to see our community thrive through this current crisis.” said Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.
The proposals engaged disciplines varying from medical engineering to game design. They focused on problems with different degrees of urgency, and on solutions with varying implementation complexity and horizon: from critical medical PPE currently out of stock around the world to public policies to prepare communities for future disease outbreaks.
Below are the two concepts shortlisted, submitted by Denzil Bothma, 3rd year Industrial Design student at the Tshwane University of Technology student:
Wheeler Hub – Food trucks on the move
How to support the street food movement while keeping citizens safe? Wheeler Hub projects puts food trucks at the community’s service, providing self-isolated people the opportunity to shop from right outside their homes, from repurposed food trucks. It also enables these vendors to stay in business, by becoming a mobile seller of food and other household necessities.
Micro-Mask – A smart mask for uninterrupted protection
The usual way mobile phones are used can increase the risk of contamination, due to their frequent exposure to surfaces and proximity to the face. Micro-mask repurposes old materials, such as pillowcases and Bluetooth headphones, to create a smart mask. The headphones keep the mask in place and allow users to attend to calls without bringing their phone to their face.
- The Global Grad Show is "a not-for-profit initiative that works with the next generation of innovators from across the world who are creating solutions for a better tomorrow, in the fields of design, science, technology and engineering" (https://www.globalgradshow.com/about2020/). The TUT Industrial Design program has participated previously with graduates exhibiting in the 2017 and 2018 exhibitions.
As a result of the covid-19 pandemic the Global Grad show "Global Grad Show invited its community of 260 universities around the world to submit proposals addressing the collateral issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 390 submissions from 125 universities in 40 countries were received, demonstrating the ability and potential of the international academic community to generate innovative solutions for complex problems" (https://www.globalgradshow.com/covid-19-projects/).