Lancaster University triumph at Barclays Technology Challenge

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A team of Lancaster University students have won the Barclays Technology Challenge at Media City, Salford, beating competition from a number of Universities across the region.

Having been selected to represent Lancaster through a number of events run by the careers service, the winning team, SmartPause, triumphed in the finals on the 21 November. Each student will receive £50 worth of Amazon vouchers plus a week’s work experience with Barclays. They will also engage in two weeks work experience with the BBC as well as being shortlisted for a £5000 internship next summer.

With students from Manchester, Salford, Edge Hill and Liverpool Hope competing, the team from Lancaster were delighted with their victory. Team leader, Liz Colvin, said “It’s been an amazing experience; I’ve had a chance to work with lots of people I wouldn’t otherwise have met and got to learn new skills and about aspects of web app development and programming”.

The name SmartPause came from their brief to develope ways to pause and resume on content BBC iPlayer. They presented their plan in front of a panel of experts from Barclays and the BBC at the prestigious Media City in Salford, which houses parts of the BBC and ITV Granada. The panel commended SmartPause for their prototype which kept the look and feel consistent with the iPlayer branding, along with a carefully constructed commercial plan.

The process began in October when Lancaster University’s careers service organised the Battle of the Colleges event – a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style business challenge at Pendle College bar. Around forty students competed and, organised in college teams, had to consider some common everyday needs before designing a new product or service that would address those needs. Lyndsey Egerton, Enterprise and Work Related Learning Advisor, said the Battle of the Colleges was “not just a fun and rewarding experience but also looks great on a CV and is impressive to talk about during interviews”.

The winning Battle of the Colleges team from Grizedale impressed the judges from the careers team with a solution to prevent people from leaving important things like keys or mobile phone at home. They were joined by two Bowland members and two other teams selected by the careers service to represent the University in the Technology Challenge.

At the Barclays Technology Centre in Knutsford each team received their brief concerning a problem facing Barclays and their partner, the BBC. These included a money management app for Barclays and a challenge to create a BBC knowledge and learning product for teachers and students.

Teams then had three weeks to develop their proposals, solve any problems, create a prototype demonstration and devise a commercial plan. They presented their proposals to three judges from Lancaster University, who chose SmartPause to represent Lancaster University in the finals.

Following their successful victory, the members of SmartPause say they are very excited for the work experience placements offered over Christmas, Easter and summer 2014.