SCI 2000 – Living Lab Design for Sustainability (Winter 2021)

Professor(s): Jacob Burgess & Wouter Deconinck

Learning Objectives:

In this interdisciplinary team project-based undergraduate course you will explore, design and develop solutions to specific sustainability problems that have implications both on and off-campus. You will apply your scientific training towards solving these problems and learn to work productively in heterogeneous and multidisciplinary teams. At the end of this course, you will collectively have developed several solutions to a current sustainability problem on campus.

Participants in this course will draw from challenges identified by the University of Manitoba Office of Sustainability and other Manitoba based sustainability-focused organizations to collectively identify the most important local sustainability issues and select one of these issues as an interdisciplinary team-based project. The course is designed to leverage the creativity of our students in a competitive environment (think hackathon).

The course is a winter semester 3-credit design course in three stages of 4 weeks each, each followed by an internal competition/synthesis phase between the teams and judged by a panel of experts on the selected sustainability issue from on and off-campus. During these competitive cycles, teams will develop their proposed solution to the problem and present it. At each stage, each idea will be evaluated and only the top half-rated team ideas will move on, with the bottom half pivoting and joining other teams.

Throughout competitive iterative development cycles, students engage in training in Agile Project management through team-building exercises such as constructing a Martian terraforming outpost or developing a sustainable pollinator promoting farm carried out online in simulated environments. Students will also become familiar with the innovation and design process, modern prototyping methods (3D printing). The university will be able to form partnerships with businesses in downtown Winnipeg to test methods at scale or as a test bed for commercialization of any methods developed. It is possible that this course will generate intellectual property in the form of novel processes or products.

In Winter 2020, Science 2000: Living Labs! Focused on studying and mitigating migratory bird strikes on campus windows. Our final team concepts included a piezoelectric sensor to detect bird impacts on windows linked to a machine learning trained AI to reject false positives and a public outreach campaign and education platform to engage citizens in protecting birds as well as performing citizen science.

This course will be offered through the Faculty of Science as a SCI course. Any undergraduate student beyond the first year will be able to enroll.