WISE Summer School 2017 and Awards
The third WISE CDT Summer School was held in June 2017. Staff and students enjoyed a week-long stay at the Vale Resort Hotel, a 650 acre estate in South Glamorgan, near Cardiff. Students from the four universities and two year groups worked together, had fun on social activities and listened to significant speakers from the Water Industry.
On the Tuesday, there was a boat trip around Cardiff Bay in the morning, and then onto ‘Greener Grangetown’ for the afternoon. It’s a scheme which manages rainwater for that town while providing green spaces with the added benefit of health and wellbeing for residents. After learning about rainwater management on the WISE programme, it was useful for students to see SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) in action. WISE CDT Student Sebastian Gnann said “I think it was a great opportunity to get in touch with the other cohorts and people from the other universities. Most parts of the talks and field trips were really interesting and also funny.”
With speakers from HR Wallingford, University of Edinburgh and DWR, students learnt more about the practical application of their past year’s study in industry and the potential for further research in academia.
Each year, the students are set a challenge to complete in groups by one of the Professors who teach on WISE. This year it was the turn of Thorsten Stoesser of Cardiff University; he chose to task students to produce a water themed board game. The students came up with humorous titles such as ‘Riverlution’, ‘Water Quest’ and ‘Hydrolopolis’, but the ideas behind them were more sober. ‘Serious Games’ are increasingly used by engineers to highlight the importance of collaboration when completing tasks, based on the idea that the good use of flow theory enhances decision making. Here, the decisions took by players highlighted the problems facing engineers in water resources management
On the Thursday night was an awards ceremony. Students were commended for their work throughout the year, with awards for Top performing Postgraduate School student (Levke Ortlieb), Most supportive Postgraduate School student (Lina Stein), Best Cohort 3 student presentation (Levke Ortlieb) and Best Cohort 2 student presentation (Olivia Milton-Thompson).
After much nail-biting, Hydropolis was announced as the winning game on the Friday of the week. Each player is in charge of water management decisions of a developing city. As the city grows, players can choose to spend their money on either flood defences, water supply, sanitation or city development. The team behind it was presented the coveted WISE CDT Trophy by Prof John Banyard.
After the event Eirini Nikoloudi, WISE CDT student said “What I enjoyed most during these five days, was the time working on the challenge with my team. Much brain-storming, strategy development, decision-making in combination with collaboration and respect to the opinion of each member of the group were just some of the skills we developed.”