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Sustainable student ideas win cash prizes

19 December 2019

Miles Budden and Tom Kelross, Pocket Trees, with winner Callum Hughes
Miles Budden and Tom Kelross, Pocket Trees, with winner Callum Hughes

A ‘smart fridge,’ an app that cuts supermarket food waste, and a system that uses small change to plants trees are among the winners of a new sustainability challenge for Cardiff University students and graduates.

SYNIAD was created to help student innovators grow their ideas and confidence by developing ideas that disrupt the ordinary.

The competition – supported by Santander Universities - awarded prizes for ideas across four themes: food and diet, material consumption, transport and mobility, and heating and cooling.

Callum Hughes, 28, a Final Year BSc Comp Sci with Security & Forensics student, won £1,250 with his idea for a Smart Fridge Food Inventory to reduce food waste.

“What a great competition! I’m so glad the University challenges its students to provide innovative ideas that make a real impact on society,” said Callum, who will use his winnings to develop his idea.

“It’s what I love, and I’m so happy my idea went down so well. Thank you to everyone involved.”

Cardiff Student Enterprise and Start-Up worked with the University’s Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation to challenge students to share ideas.

Two runners up were also awarded prizes of £250 each.

Monika Kurnick, a Yr 2 BSc Business Management (Inter Management) student hopes to develop an app called Foodito.  It allows large supermarkets to list overstocked items on sale on a single platform, and informs customers of discounts in real time to reduce food wasted by supermarkets and also customers' food expenses.

Tom Kelross (BSc Computer Science) and Miles Budden (Final Year BSc Computer Science) also won £250 for Pocket Trees. His idea allows people to use round up payments to plant trees which help to offset the carbon footprint of the users material consumption. Small change for big change.

Prof. Lorraine Whitmarsh, CAST director, set the brief and chaired the judging panel.

“It was a great pleasure to take part in the judging of the SYNIAD competition. The ideas submitted were incredibly creative and wide-ranging. The entries had all addressed our four focus areas, and started to look at how we could achieve positive low-carbon futures”

Enterprise Manager, Rhys Pearce-Palmer, said of the competition winners, "The creativity and pitching skills demonstrated by Cardiff University students was exceptional. We are privileged to help our students become more enterprising individuals. The Enterprise & Start-up team will continue to offer all the entrants support with developing their ideas into sustainable ventures.’

Enterprise & Start-Up is part of the University’s Careers & Employability department, offering workshops, competitions and skills sessions to help students put ideas and innovations into real-world action.

The competition came a week before Cardiff University declared a Climate Emergency on Friday 30th November.

SYNIAD was funded by the Welsh Government Youth Entrepreneurship Grant Funding. Welsh Universities and Colleges recently had the opportunity to bid for Welsh Government funding “to develop and nurture self-sufficient, entrepreneurial young people - who will contribute positively to economic and social success”.

Cardiff University’s Careers & Employability Department successfully bid to undertake the following initiatives: Building Communities of Entrepreneurs, Regional Priorities and Collaboration which will align with Welsh Government priority sectors listed in the Economic Action Plan, and Start-up & Growth.

Inspired? Get involved with Cardiff University Enterprise and Start-up!

Do you have entrepreneurial inspirations and aspirations? Cardiff University Enterprise and Start-up can help you to realise your full potential in business and entrepreneurship. It’s all about thinking creatively, spotting opportunities, making things happen and developing skills for life. It’s not just about business; it’s about helping you to make the most of yourself. Find out more about workshops, competitions and sessions to help you develop skills and knowledge, or contact

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