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Curtin students and industry team up to solve key sustainability challenges

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Curtin University students have joined forces with industry to help solve sustainability challenges on fast fashion, renewable energy, water management and the circular economy, as part of the Curtin Sustainability Challenge.

More than 12 groups of students will tackle six sustainability themes informed by industry partners. The six themes are: Decarbonising Urban Developments, Renewable Energy Transition, Sustainable Water Management, Towards Zero Waste and a Circular Economy, Urban Greening for Liveability and Ecosystem Health, and Corporate Sustainability in Practice.

Professor Josh Byrne, Dean of Sustainable Futures at Curtin University, said the project is a fantastic initiative for Curtin students to work closely with industry to gain real-world experience.

“The Sustainability Challenge provides students with the opportunity to work as part of an interdisciplinary team and engage with industry partners on a sustainability themed project or challenge,” Professor Byrne said.

“One of the projects will see students work closely with Good Sammy and the Design Institute of Australia to come up with ways to solve the issue of ‘fast fashion’. The students will be tasked with finding a sustainable way to repurpose affordable items that are overlooked in op shops. Finding a new way to recycle these types of materials could help to reduce the growing problem of textile waste.

“Another project focuses on renewable energy and will see students work closely with the Fremantle Football Club to explore ways to achieve its 100 per cent renewable target by 2025 at the club‘s Elite Training and Administration Facility in Cockburn. The facility currently has one of the largest roof-top solar panel infrastructures in the southern hemisphere, which generates 25 per cent of its annual power consumption. The students will investigate technologies and management strategies to help meet this target.”

Professor Byrne said sustainability is rapidly becoming a core consideration for society and industry, and the wider community is looking for solutions to urgent problems.

“It’s fantastic to see so many students responding to this opportunity and looking to make an impact in this space,” Professor Byrne said.

“As a community, we need to work together to address pressing sustainability challenges, locally and globally. The projects put forward by our industry partners are a great way to engage the next generation of problem solvers and creative thinkers. We are looking forward to seeing the innovative ideas they come up with.”

The industry partners involved in the project include DevelopmentWA, Australian Institute of Architects Emerging Architects and Graduate Network (EmAGN) and GHDWoodhead, Jason Windows, Verosol, Somfy, Synergy, Fremantle Dockers, Horizon Power, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), Water Corporation, Waste Authority, Good Sammy, Design Institute of Australia, City of Canning, Cleanaway, South Metropolitan Health Service, Hesperia, Perth NRM, Bamford Consulting, WA Gould League, and BDO.

The Sustainability Challenge runs from June 27 to July 4. As part of the challenge, students will receive 25 credit points towards their undergraduate degree.

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