The third WISE CDT Summer School was held on 19-23 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 representing Cohorts 2 and 3 worked together, had fun on social activities, and listened to high profile speakers from the Water Industry and Academia.
On the Tuesday, there was a boat trip around Cardiff Bay in the morning, and then onto a visit and tour of ‘Greener Grangetown’ in the afternoon. This is a scheme which manages rainwater for the town whilst providing green spaces which have the added benefit of improving health and wellbeing for residents. After learning about rainwater management on the WISE CDT programme, it was useful for students to see SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) in action.
With distinguished speakers including Dr Caroline Hazlewood from HR Wallingford, Professor Alistair Borthwick from University of Edinburgh, Nick Barcock from Dwr Cymru, Dr Mark Fletcher from ARUP, and Professor Patrick Reed from Cornell University, the 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 the WISE CDT. This year it was the turn of Thorsten Stoesser of Cardiff University; he chose to task students with producing 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 serious. ‘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 taken by players highlighted the problems facing engineers in respect of 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 from Bath), Most supportive Postgraduate School student (Lina Stein from Bristol), Best Cohort 3 research project proposal presentation (Levke Ortlieb from Bath) and Best Cohort 2 student presentation (Olivia Milton-Thompson from Exeter). Well done to all!
After much nail-biting, Hydropolis was announced as the winning game on the Friday. The game concept involves each player being in charge of water management decisions for 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 Professor John Banyard, Chair of the WISE CDT Strategic Advisory Board.
For next year the fourth WISE CDT Summer School will take place here in Bath, during the third week of June 2018. We are already planning the event, and look forward to welcoming everyone then and raising the bar even higher!