The VIP Consortium announced the winner of the 2022 International Innovation Competition at their annual meeting in May. The VIP Consortium is a non-profit organization made up of Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) programs, which feature faculty-led, long-term research projects where interdisciplinary teams of undergraduates tackle real world problems. The competition provides a forum for students on VIP teams from around the world to showcase their work and be recognized for their accomplishments.
The Lean Approach to Sustainable Development team from Lebanese American University (LAU) won first place in the competition for their research on finding a more efficient and cost-effective way of handling winery waste. Under the leadership of Dr. Joelle Nader, students have devised a method of turning the stems, skins, and leaves of grapes into a powder they call PomACE. This powder can add health benefits to food and can be used to treat wastewater in a cheaper, more efficient manner.
“We are truly honored to have our nominated LAU VIP team win the 2022 VIP Consortium Innovation Competition,” said Lina Karam, Dean of the School of Engineering and VIP+ Program Director at LAU. “This is our first year as a VIP site and this prestigious recognition has been achieved within a short period of time despite the fact that the program has been launched this academic year during the pandemic and during a steep economic crisis in Lebanon. This is a testimony to the high caliber and innovative work of LAU VIP students, faculty, and staff.” Karam emphasizes that the success of the VIP+ program at LAU is made through the generous support of the US Department of State, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).
VIP Teams from nine other universities around the world received honorable mentions in the competition. These teams came from Inha University (Korea), Georgia Tech (Georgia, United States), Purdue University (Indiana, United States), Riga Technical University (Latvia), Boise State University (Idaho, United States), University of New South Wales (Australia), and University of Strathclyde (Scotland) and represented a wide range of projects. Such projects include electric in wheel motors, stadium vibration sensors, a simulation platform for multi-drone disaster response systems, the first student-built high-powered rocket in the Baltic states, research designed to improve human-animal relationships, a robot designed to disassemble electronic waste, and a more affordable model of a prosthetic hand. Click the links below to see videos from all participants, including the video for the winning team.