Innovative corporate challenge leads to launching a venture and a pathway to Genius NY

group of students at a work table

A Ramboll internship program designed to foster innovation connected Syracuse and Clarkson University students with thought leaders to solve an environmental management challenge this spring. Ramboll worked in partnership with the Syracuse Center of Excellence and engaged collaborators at Corning Incorporated and at Syracuse University’s Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars to provide subject-matter expertise. The students, three from Syracuse University and three from Clarkson University, were among the cohort of students who participated in Ramboll’s annual SPARK competition where students develop solutions for a problem statement based on industry challenges. They were selected based on their individual performances by Jamie Newtown, the director of innovation at Ramboll, who manages the company’s ideation and execution process.

The team decided to work on a solution to an ecological problem affecting bodies of water around the world: harmful algal blooms. Over the course of the 10-week paid internship, students worked on a solution to collect and analyze data to produce predictive analysis. SyracuseCoE provided dedicated space for the students to work on the innovation challenge. Their ingenious solution involved developing a sensor equipped aerial drone as well as an autonomous boat to collect data. After the scientific research phase, the team turned to developing an entrepreneurial mindset to advance the idea. and pitch it to Ramboll’s Global Executive Board.  That group was impressed with their plan, and created a startup, BloomOptix, and will be entering GENIUS NY, the world’s largest business accelerator competition for unmanned systems.

Ramboll recently acquired Syracuse-based engineering firm O’Brien and Gere. Ramboll has been operating in the USA since 1982 where it offers Environment & Health, Water, Energy & Advanced Manufacturing, and Planning & Urban Design services from more than 75 offices. For each engagement, it assembles a team of relevant experts who work together with clients to deliver technically sound solutions that also create value and support a sustainable society.

Read the full story in SU news by Shaina M. Hill here: