Calling all engineers: help deliver Future Food Challenge to Liverpool schools

Image credit: Farm Urban

Engineering students and graduates are invited to join forces to help deliver the Future Food Challenge to secondary schools across Merseyside.

Future Food Challenge

Launching in November, the Future Food Challenge is an after-school programme for pupils aged 14. It will involve small teams from ten local schools working on a challenge to develop aquaponic vertical farming business ideas.

Industry and student engineers are invited to work with pupils to develop an idea to bring aquaponic vertical farming into local communities and help them design and build their prototype aquaponic systems.

The project will pair Engineering graduates and students with schools to engineer solutions to the global climate emergency, shining a light on green skills, cutting-edge technologies and enterprising solutions to real-world problems.

Future Food Challenge is a partnership between the University’s School of Engineering and Liverpool based social enterprise Farm Urban, with support from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Farm Urban

Farm Urban operates Liverpool’s first underground vertical farm: using the soilless growing systems of hydroponics and aquaponics, they grow food in space-saving vertical towers without using any pesticides. Over the past five years they have been educating schools, businesses, universities and communities on the benefits of growing food in cities, and how we can create a sustainable future for food.

Who can apply?

Current engineering students in their third or fourth year of study on any engineering related programme are invited to apply to get involved with the project.

The input of professional engineers from the North West region, employed in any sector but particularly those working in the environmental sciences, is also sought.

Training will be provided to all participating engineers to understand and contribute to the project aims, learn more about vertical farming for themselves, and develop their public engagement skills.

Opportunities for graduate engineers include mentoring pupils through the 12-week after-school programme, through a mix of in-person and online engagement, `Engineer Speed-Dating’ at the project launch and `Ask-an-Engineer’ virtual calls.

Dr Matt Murphy, from the University’s School of Engineering who is heading up the project, said: “By pairing engineer mentors with small groups of pupils, the project aim is to come together around a shared challenge to harness the power of engineering to tackle a real-world problem. This provides a vehicle for engineers to communicate their stories and expertise through collaboration with young people over a sustained period.”

An information event will be held at Farm Urban’s underground vertical farm in the Baltic Triangle on Wednesday 27 October 2021.

Graduate and student engineers can register to attend the event and sign up for the project on the Farm Urban website:

For further information and/or enquiries please contact:  Dr Matt Murphy, School of Engineering:

Image credit: Farm Urban