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BEST – the Board of European Students of Technology – is a European non-profit, non-political and entirely voluntary student organisation set up in 1989 to encourage diversity between technology students. BEST’s aim is to develop students to shape the leaders of tomorrow in more than 95 universities across Europe. It is a vast student network, and in Belgium it is represented by the ‘Lowlands Cooperation’, which encompasses 9 universities: VUB, ULB, Ghent University, KU Leuven, Liege Universite, RWTH Aachen University, UCL, TU Delft, and FAU in Erlangen-Nurnberg. Together they represent some 27,500 technology students. BEST at VUB was set up in 1995.

 

Part of their achievements is EBEC – the European BEST Engineering Competition. It is a team-based competition set out in 3 levels and with 2 categories, Team Design and Case Study.

In the “Team Design” category the teams solve tasks in a limited timeframe and with (initially) a limited number of available materials. Within the six-hour timeframe they must solve additional problems which, if they get it right, will earn them points and additional materials. When the six hours are up, each team presents to a jury composed of other students, professors and (a) company representative. The points achieved over the course of the six hours, will be added to the final scoring given by the jury.

In the “Case Study” category the teams need to provide a holistic solution to a problem presented, which can be either technical or managerial in nature. This work is more paper/computer-based and doesn’t involve working with materials. At the end, they also need to present their solution to a jury.

Each team is made up of 4 students from different areas of technology irrespective of their degrees. The winning team will be the one giving the most efficient, creative and successful solution at the grand finale.

The competition has 3 levels and it takes place across Europe, so there are: 84 local rounds in 34 countries with some 6,500 participants, 15 national and regional rounds with some 640 participants, and a finale with some 120 participants which this year will take place from 24 July-1 August in Turn, Italy.

At this point in time, they are starting up the national and regional rounds. The one for Benelux takes places from 15-17 April, with the “Team Design” category installed at Usquare where they’ll be able to make use of the FabLabs, which is an amazing opportunity for the students involved! It is actually the first time the two universities (ULB and VUB) are working together on this, as well as at Usquare and with the FabLab. This ‘BEST in Benelux’ round is the first of all the national and regional rounds taking place, and one of the biggest ones in Europe as well.

The teams working on the “Case Study” category will be housed in the prestigious Solvay Building of the ULB. The companies that are participating during the three days and be part of the jury include BESIX and HR Rail (NMBS, the Belgian Railways).  In all, there will be 11 teams (7 for the “Team Design” category, and 4 for the “Case Study” category). It means that this week some 44 participants from Belgium and Germany will be competing against each other for three full days. There will be a different theme for each day per category: “Team Design” will look at rocket landing gear on Monday 15th, Dredging vessels on Tuesday 16th, but the topic for Wednesday will be revealed on the day itself only! In the “Case Study” category they will look at Innovative entrepreneurship on Monday 15th, Buildings of the future on Tuesday 16th, and the topic for Wednesday will also only be revealed on the day. At the end of each day some relaxation will be provided in the form of a quiz and dinners. The winners of each category, who will then proceed to the Grand Final in Turin (24 July-1 August) with all expenses paid.

The winners will be announced on Wednesday 17 April at 8pm.

The vision behind the European BEST Engineering Competition is to collaborate with universities across Europe, to stimulate innovation and diversity (the push to get gender balance across the teams is carefully looked at). And.. to be the best engineering students Europe has – it’s all in the name!

 

EBEC 2018 one of the Design Teams

EBEC Belgium closing ceremony 2018