PhD students ‘Team Melt’ into final for international climate summit competition

A team of PhD students from the Riddet Institute, hosted by Massey University, have been selected to present their project idea to a panel for the international QING Innovation Track competition hosted by Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands.

The team is made up of Natalie Ahlborn, Summer Wright, Akashdeep Beniwal, Giovanna Castillo-Fernandez and Dian Muñoz Lintz (Riddet Institute, University of Canterbury).

The competition asks for teams to demonstrate an idea that shows climate adaptation in food systems. The Massey University based team, who go by the name ‘Team Melt’, want to deliver a cheese made from a combination of dairy and alternative proteins that has a great nutritional profile, while also considering the environmental impacts of food.

Five teams were selected from 35 proposals, and in doing so received 2500 euro and mentoring from a QING engineer. The teams then present their results, along with a vlog detailing the project’s development, on 22 September.

Following this, the winning team will showcase their project at the Pre-Cop #All4Climate Italy Summit on September 29 2021.

The members of ‘Team Melt’ have complimentary research backgrounds but different areas of expertise, which team member Akashdeep Beniwal says has meant they’ve effectively been able to take ownership of different aspects of the project.

Riddet Institute Director, Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh says they are delighted with the success of Team Melt in getting to the final five. “We actively encourage our postgraduate scholars to develop their innovation and entrepreneurial skills while they study, and contribute to the network of scientists working on global food issues. I am really proud of these students who are putting their skills and ingenuity to the test in this international competition, run by Wageningen University and Research. Our students can compete on the world stage and deliver novel solutions, and I am sure they will learn much on their journey, and further develop their leadership skills.”

More information on the Qing Innovation Track competition can be found here

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