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Student in the SuSu and Mark A. Fischer '72 Engineering Design Center working on prototype.
Electrical engineering student Romi Gilat in the SuSu and Mark A. Fischer '72 Engineering Design Center works on her prototype, Visilink, a device that eliminates optic requirements when participating in activities. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

On Feb. 10-12, Texas A&M University will host its fifth annual local Invent for the Planet (IFTP), with 24 universities around the world participating. IFTP is a global competition that takes place over the course of 48 hours and challenges students from a variety of disciplines to create innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing environmental problems.

The competition is hosted simultaneously at participating universities across the globe, with only five final teams traveling to College Station, Texas, for the finals in April.

“Students will work locally with their peers, but also connect globally to share ideas and collaborate,” said Rodney Boehm ’78, professor of practice with the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program. “That’s where innovation happens. For one weekend, there are no barriers, there are no borders and the sun will never set on innovation.”

IFTP uses the same approach as Aggies Invent, but it reaches different audiences across the globe. On the first day, students will form interdisciplinary teams of four to six, formulate their ideas and a rough prototype. The next day, students work with mentors and industry to establish their prototypes and create an elevator pitch. On the last day, students work to polish their presentations and innovation to pitch to a panel of judges.

In 2022, the first-place winning team for the local Texas A&M IFTP, Aquabox, made it to the finals and even took home the first-place prize.

“Invent for the Planet was super amazing,” said Rachel Simms, an interdisciplinary engineering student and member of Aquabox. “It was a one-of-a-kind experience because you work on stuff that can directly impact the environment. It has been incredible to get to meet all of the different teams from different countries and learn their cultures. It is a whole new aspect to Aggies Invent.”

For a list of participating universities or for more information, visit the Invent for the Planet webpage.