Pitch 200: 4 contestants go through to next regional final

Subjects ranged from enhancing productivity, robots taking over and international development in a regional heat for Pitch 200.

Four imaginative and inspiring engineers are through to the next regional final of the Yorkshire and Humber Pitch 200.

Mark Calvert, Morwenna Parkin, Nick Francis and Amir Abd El Rahman impressed the judges at the Pitch 200 regional heat which saw competitors bring to life their chosen engineering concept, using props, presentations and anything their imaginations could conjure in front of a public audience at Leeds Beckett University.

Amir, CEO and founder of start-up company BuilderMisr discussed the role of robots enhancing productivity in construction projects. "I wanted to illustrate the various types of robots used in construction. I also asked the important question of whether or not workforces should be worried about being replaced by robots in the future," Amir said.

Nick, a director at Imagine Engineering, showcased a number of engineering projects in the developing world. Nick explained: "International development infrastructure projects not only transform the lives of entire communities but also offer a unique opportunity for academia and industry to develop their young engineers."

Mark Calvert
Mark Calvert
Nick Francis
Participants used all kinds of ways to describe their presentation
Amir Abd El Rahman
Amir Abd El Rahman

Mark, an engineer at Mott MacDonald and chair of ICE Yorkshire and Humber, presented the problems that early engineers had faced with heavy locomotives and brittle rail during the industrial revolution.

"Pitch 200 is about going back to our roots – a chance to describe an idea as quickly as possible. The early founders would describe an idea at the first meetings of the institution and that's how best practice was passed on," he said

"I wanted to tell the public about a little known colliery in Middleton and how an ingenious engineer in Leeds changed the face of engineering. Matthew Murray came up with the solution enabling the movement of coal cheaply and quickly without breaking the rail and establishing steam as king, long before George Stephenson's rocket."

Morwenna, project engineer at ARC, discussed the work of architectural engineers, showing her career highlights such as working on multi-storey police stations in Hong Kong.

"I was able to tell a public audience how important civil engineers are to society and explain my work as an architectural engineer," she says. "This is really important at a time when we have a shortage of people wanting to become civil engineers."

ICE regional director for Yorkshire and Humber Penny Marshall said: "No one knows civil engineering better than those on the ground practising it, that's what makes these talks so fascinating. The winners gave an imaginative and engaging presentation amid a tough field of talented and skilled competitors."

The winners of this heat will compete against the winners of the second regional heat to be held at Bar Convent, York on Tuesday 15 May.

BBC presenter Marty Jopson from the One Show is a proud ambassador for science and engineering and will host the competition.

Members of the public can register for free and book a place.

The overall regional winners will compete against other regional winners from across the UK and around the world in the Pitch 200 Grand Finale in November 2018.