University students create innovative solutions at SPARK Competition in Central New York

1 May 2019
Ramboll's SPARK Innovation Competition creates innovative solutions to real-time challenges facing industry today.


Jamie Newtown

Jamie Newtown

Head of Digitalization & Innovation
T: +1 585 295 7715

Students from Clarkson University, Syracuse University and the University of Rochester recently took part in an innovation competition that aims to add some spark to the fields of advanced manufacturing, energy, environment and water.

As part of the 14th SPARK Innovation Competition, more than 50 university students worked with Ramboll experts and industry partners—including Corning, EagleHawk, Matt Brewing Company and National Grid—to solve real-time problems facing industry today. In this 24-hour, think-tank style event, teams worked to brainstorm, problem solve and find innovative solutions to various challenges.

The competition's winning team came up with an innovative solution for using unmanned aerial systems and remote sensing technology to automate the detection of landfill leachate seeps.

The ideas were evaluated by a panel of judges, including Ramboll's Director for Growth and Markets Neil Webb, Head of Group Innovation Line Lyst and Global Director of Digitalization Jason Miller, and Syracuse Center of Excellence’s Executive Director Edward Bogucz. Awards were provided to the top teams. For students, the competition was a great way to gain real-life training in solving issues with innovative solutions. For Ramboll and its partners, it provides the opportunity to gain fresh perspective and meet top talent.

As part of the competition, a donation was made to the Syracuse City School District, representing a shared commitment to fostering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in our local communities and inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists.

The competition was held at the Crowne Plaza in Syracuse, New York on April 5, 2019. 


Started in 2013, SPARK has since been scaled to competitions held across the US, comprised of multiple universities and Fortune 50 companies. As part of each competition, diverse, cross-discipline student teams are provided problem statements and given just under 24 hours to come up with a solution. Guided by subject matter experts from Ramboll and industry partners, the teams ideate, develop concepts and pitch their solutions to a panel of academic and private sector judges to win a cash prize.


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