NTU undergrad is first Singapore champion of an internationally acclaimed engineering competition

December 30, 2008

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) undergraduate Liu Shiyu has the honour of becoming the first student from Singapore to win the top prize in a global competition that pitted engineering students and young professionals from around the world.

In the competition organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), UK, the fourth year mechanical engineering student from NTU's School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering beat three other contestants in the finals, including a PhD candidate from Northern Ireland.

Known as the Present Around the World (PATW) Competition, the finals was held in London in November and saw four regional champions vie for the top honour as global grand champion. The contestants are required to present an original engineering project in front an international panel of judges, where they are judged not only in terms of technical content but also on their presentation skills.

The win over his native speaking rivals from Canada, Northern Ireland and New Zealand is sweeter for China-born Liu, 23, as English is not his first language. He is also the only undergraduate student in the global finals, as apart from the PhD candidate, the other two contestants are professionals.

"I am very excited and honoured to have won this prestigious award. All the participants are very talented and their project entries were very innovative and interesting. I never expected to win the top prize. But I am very passionate about my project; hence I probably did well during my presentation. I could sense that the audience were very attracted to the illustration of my project," said Liu.

Liu represented the Asia Pacific region in the competition after coming up tops in the regional finals held in Kuala Lumpur in July this year. Liu emerged victorious after beating contenders from China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Liu marched on to the regional phase after being crowned the Singapore champion in April this year after defeating eight other contestants in the local competition.

"English is not my first language. Thus the biggest challenge for me is that I need to explain complicated technological terms and theories in a very simple way, as not everyone in the audience are from the academia or have in depth knowledge about mechanisms and deployable structures," added Liu, referring to his URECA project which he presented at the competition.

URECA or Undergraduate Research Experience on CAmpus, is a university wide programme to cultivate a research culture offered only to the most able undergraduates in NTU. Shiyu's URECA project is a practical design of a retractable roof that can be deployed for example, in sports venues to allow for indoor sports during bad weather. At this year's URECA exhibition and competition in NTU, the project won all the three awards, i.e. the platinum award, the most popular project award as well as the best peer review award.

According to Liu's project supervisor, Assistant Professor Chen Yan, Liu is not only an outstanding undergraduate student who excels in his coursework, but also demonstrates excellent research capabilities. "I picked a practical project for Shiyu. The retractable roof project is widely applicable in many civil structures. The theory behind it is also interesting and easy to understand. I'm sure that the project can be implemented as part of a civil structure project once the stress analysis is completed and if there are any interested party willing to collaborate," said Prof Chen Yan.

Another of Liu's project supervisor, Associate Professor Yeo Song Huat, noted that he not only worked tirelessly on his project but displayed much enthusiasm and passion. "I have observed how Shiyu has grown over the years in NTU. Apart from taking his academic studies seriously, he also involved himself in CCAs and took up various leadership positions. NTU has provided him with a conducive environment to learn and develop. Shiyu's achievement at this global level competition is also testimony to the high quality of education in NTU," said Associate Professor Yeo.

Liu received a certificate, a medal and £1,000 prize money from the IET for his achievement as the PATW global champion.
-end-


Nanyang Technological University

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