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    Grand Challenges - Igniting the Future of Renewable Fuel


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    Event description

    Year 9-10 students will spend a day learning about a real-life global problem i.e. the Grand Challenge, and brainstorm, develop and pitch their own solutions to their peers and STEM experts for a chance to win prizes. 

    Students will need to be supervised by a teacher. Available for school bookings only. This is a collaboration between Future Anything and the Faculty of Science, University of Sydney.

    The Grand Challenge: Igniting the Future of Renewable Fuel

    "As an entrepreneur, pitch an innovative idea that uses, or amplifies the use of, renewable energy."

    In a world facing pressing environmental challenges, the need for renewable fuel solutions has never been more critical. Could green hydrogen fuel be the answer to decarbonise global industries and local energy users alike? 

    Hydrogen may hold the key to unlocking a sustainable future. With its remarkable energy storage capabilities compared to fossil fuels and non-toxic emissions when burned as fuel, hydrogen stands poised to revolutionize our transportation systems, power grids, and industries. Hydrogen can be produced almost anywhere, most notably from simple water molecules using a process called electrolysis. These can be produced en masse for industrial scale or also by individuals in their homes. 

    While hydrogen sounds like a miracle cure, there are many questions that accompany it. How can green hydrogen be produced cheaply? Will the general public and industry leaders accept hydrogen as the new fuel source? What is still needed to make hydrogen storage viable for the future?

    Our guest speaker, Professor Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou, is one of the world’s leading hydrogen fuel and storage experts and is passionate about using hydrogen as a global energy solution.

    NEWS FLASH - VENUE UPDATE: Due to high demand, this even will now be held at the Wallace Lecture Theatre, Science Road, University of Sydney's Camperdown Campus. View map here

    The Structure of the Day

    Arrival & registration: 8am - 8.30am

    Session 1: 8.45am - 10:45am

    During this first session, students will engage with our lead facilitators and expert speaker on unpacking and understanding the "Grand Challenge". 

      Session 2: 11am - 1pm

      In the second half of the day, students use design thinking methodology to ideate and prototype their own innovative, scalable and sustainable solutions that make the world a better place using The Entrepreneur's Odyssey.  

      Session 3: 2pm - 2:45pm

      This session kicks off with students learning the art and science of the Elevator Pitch before The Grand Challenge culminates in teams of students 'elevator pitching' their innovative ideas to their peers and a panel of judges in an exciting mini-showcase.

      Who You'll Hear From

      Expert Facilitator: Professor Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou

      Professor Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou is an expert in hydrogen technologies. He heads up the MERLin research lab at the School of Chemistry at the University of Sydney. His group investigates the properties of light metals for use in hydrogen storage and is developing hydrogen technologies that they believe will democratise hydrogen as an energy vector. Francois’ vision is that we take charge of our individual energy needs with the right technology, including hydrogen technologies that could be printed and used without specialised knowledge. This would be done by storing solar energy in the form of hydrogen and combusting it to generate clean electricity.

      Lead Facilitator: Genevieve Firmer

      Genevieve Firmer is an energetic and innovative science educator. From remote schools with limited resources to tech-savvy classrooms, she has experience in F-10 science and STEM, senior chemistry, senior biology, and curriculum leadership.

      Gen is currently undertaking a Ph.D. at the University of Sydney focused on how curriculum influences classroom practice. From this research, she is developing evidence-based, open-access teaching & learning resources for senior chemistry. She is passionate about engaging students in relevant and genuine scientific inquiry, project-based learning, and two-way learning. She is excited about the potential of emerging technologies and how the imaginations of young people can put them to all kinds of uses that will one day make the world a better place.

      At Future Anything, Gen is the key contact for schools and educators participating in our Science and STEM programs, helping them, and their students to bend the future; one idea at a time.

      Lead Facilitator: Kirstene Ciappara

      Kirstene Ciappara has a background in teaching in both mainstream and trade school contexts and is experienced in the career development and Life Design spaces. In her work in schools, she particularly enjoyed planning and coordinating successful school showcases, celebrating young people’s ideas and collaborating with external networks to bring the ‘real world’ into the classroom.

      She’s extremely passionate about helping people live a life that excites them and believes that this all begins in schools. Kirstene advocates for purpose-driven classrooms that develop young people’s enterprise skills, and that give them the opportunity to solve real-world problems that ignite a fire in them that will translate well-beyond the classroom.

      As a Future Anything Workshop Facilitator, Kirstene leads our engaging student-facing workshops, including  FlareSpark and Ignite, our one-, two- and five-day workshops for school students in Years 5 – 12.  She takes young people from looking inward at personal passions and lived experiences, igniting their enterprising mindsets to analyse the real-world problems that matter to them, before ideating, prototyping and pitching impactful solutions.

      Kirstene is Co-Founder of myDESIGN Education and a life design specialist.  In her spare time, you’ll find Kirstene café-hopping after a solid HIIT workout or sailing out of Sydney on a cruise ship.


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