Bringing together RM Alumni to think outside of their specific subject area and develop a marketable product

Twenty EIT RawMaterials Alumni travelled to Huelva, Spain for an intensive, two-day-long problem-solving event, whose aim was to come up with solutions that were not only technically sound and economically viable but also presented as a marketable product.

The event started with a visit to the Atlantic Copper plant, giving some insight into the technical process and everyday routine of the plant. Atlantic Copper is a Spanish company, one of the leading natural resource companies, producing high-grade refined copper, molybdenum, cobalt and gold. More than a million tons of ore is processed at the Huelva plant, to produce almost 300,000 metric tons of refined copper every year.

Teamwork sessions were alternated with presentations from experts to give participants further tools to tackle the challenge. The Alumni heard about problem solving methodologies, presentation techniques and team roles and responsibilities as well as the market considerations for the elements in question. The day ended with a trip to the UNESCO-protected Marismas del Odiel and a dinner in the downtown of Huelva.

The Company Challenge concluded with a pitching competition, where teams were assessed on both technical criteria and business viability. All of the teams presented incredibly impressive work for such a short time and the expert jury found it difficult to choose one winner! But of course, there had to be one, and Team Rainbow were awarded with a prize of EUR 100 each.

Win-Win project. EIT RawMaterials students gave a new view on a real business matter applying not only technical knowledge but also ingenious marketing advantages, and other issues to “sell” their problem solving to the judges. We all won with the Company Challenge Experience.

Sol Villar, Senior Vice President Organisation & Human Resources at Atlantic Copper

Innovation in education

The Company Challenge provides disruptive education through the real-life experience of industry practices, interdisciplinary nature (participants work in teams across disciplines) and intense atmosphere (hackathon-style circumstances). In addition, it is a form of reverse mentoring, as the more experienced employees of the industry partner can gain inspiration from the creativity of younger generations.

Having participated in the Company Challenge has been very rewarding and motivating for our company. The challenge proposed had a technical complexity that the participants knew how to deal with, to analyze the possible alternatives and to provide solutions in the short time they had. Much of the success of the event was the proactivity and initiative that the students demonstrated.

Irene Ruiz, R&D Manager at Atlantic Copper

This year, the EIT RawMaterials Alumni team will organise the Company Challenge 2020. Stay tuned for more updates!