‘Bigger, better, bolder’ Innovation Fest 2024 celebrates student success

BCU student with technology at Innovation Fest 2024

A week-long event to celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of students at Birmingham City University (BCU) has been hailed as the biggest and best one yet after attracting more than 3,000 visitors. 

Now in its 11th year, Innovation Fest 2024 was an opportunity for computing, built environment, and engineering students to showcase their research to BCU’s industry partners, generating chance conversations, exciting cross-disciplinary collaborations, and job offers. 

Claire Lindsay, BCU Innovation Fest 2024 Project Manager, said: “It’s the best one yet. It’s doubled in size, with more industry professionals, more guests, and triple the schoolchildren – who loved getting hands-on with the interactive activities and displays!  

“It’s all about showcasing the students and what they’ve achieved. Their enthusiasm is infectious. They want to come back every year, which is a fantastic result. 

“From large-scale research on display to new collaborations with other universities, it’s clear that BCU students have a spark for a wide breadth of innovation that will create change.” 

Mark Regan, Visiting Lecturer in the School of Engineering at BCU, said: “It’s bigger, better, bolder. Students are at the heart of this. It’s all about engagement, teamwork, and networking. We want to support them to graduate with the confidence to say, ‘I am BCU and I can do it’.”  

“There’s all sorts of fun things for people to do, see, touch, feel to see how developments in engineering, computing, and the built environment are important for people’s lives.”  

Students dazzled potential employers at the Architectural Technology Degree show, organised by Dr Sid Ouldja and Associate Professor Elham Del Zendeh, School of Engineering and the Built Environment

“Some of our students have already been approached for job opportunities, which is excellent and the reason we nurture long-term collaborations with important local organisations. We ensure the employability opportunities at BCU are exceptional.” 

Nine teams from across computing, engineering and built environment competed for funding via the Santander Award, presenting business cases for their innovations to an expert panel. 

Dr Islah Ali-MacLachlan, BCU Associate Professor in Digital Media Technology, organised the School of Computing industry day and noted the “diverse range of student projects on display”, from building acoustics to computer games and ethical implications of AI. 

PhD students were invited to “tell us what the future is about, share your unique contribution to knowledge, and how you’re going to make a difference in the world,” by Professor Maxine Lintern, BCU Pro-Vice Chancellor Research, at the start of a Dragons’ Den-style session.  

PhD pitches covered everything from reducing symptoms of asthma by improving air quality to saving lives on highways by using AI to predict accidents, improving access to local transport services, and developing virtual reality for people with visual impairments to enjoy. 

The awards evening, hosted by the dynamic and inspirational Kriss Akabusi, was a fitting finale for the annual festival, widely referred to as the “biggest and best yet”. 

Professor Hanifa Shah, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Computing, Engineering, and the Built Environment (CEBE) at BCU, said: “I’m awed by the ingenuity and skill of our students. It was a delight to see the range and scale of activities.  

“Congratulations to the prize winners, and all the students for the effort they have put in. 

"I'm grateful for the hard work staff from CEBE and across BCU have put into the event.” 

Return to the previous page.