Innovation and collaboration during the Principia Prize 2023
News | December 5, 2023
On November 28, 2023, talented mechanical engineering students gathered at an event that celebrates innovation and creativity: the Principia Prize, organized by the University of Twente. This year the focus was on a challenging case presented by Astron and the Innovatiecluster Drachten. The assignment was to develop original and creative solutions for the LOFAR Radio Telescope.
The day started with an extensive presentation by Johan Pragt from ASTRON about radio telescopes, with special attention to the unique LOFAR telescope. This presentation helped to clarify the complex preconditions of the challenge. The students then worked in eight teams. Their enthusiasm and motivation were palpable.
Astron's challenge was to redesign a LOFAR-HBA station that fits in one container, is easy to build, and contains tested antennas straight from the factory. Each team strived for the grand prize, but in the end only one could be the best. The winning team, the Space Case team, excelled in originality and technical ingenuity.
During lunch there was also room for knowledge sharing with the ICD presentation, given by Gerrit Mulder from Stork. As an expert by experience, facilitator and jury chairman, he made an important contribution to the interactive session. This provided a great platform for networking and exchanging ideas.
The organization of the event went smoothly. The professional jury, consisting of members from PentairXflow, Principia, and the University of Twente, including Johan and Jeroen, was unanimous in its decision on the prize winner. The Space Case team's idea was praised as the most creative and innovative LOFAR design, a true “out of the box” solution.
Gerrit Mulder from Stork was positive about the event and emphasized how it was a source of new design ideas for the continuation of Astron's Lofar project. The innovative solutions provided by the students were an example of creativity and collaboration in technology.