Team Fenatagone wins top prize at the 2021 World's Challenge Challenge Global Final

team fentagone

An innovative idea to help tackle the opioid epidemic developed by students from the University of Alberta took home the top prize of $30,000 at the 2021 World’s Challenge Challenge Global Final, which was held virtually by Western this week.  

Team Fentagone, comprised of members Adarsh Badesha, Simran Dhillon and Ajay Gill, were among 10 teams who presented their ideas to address big global issues to a panel of judges on June 10, after advancing forward following a semi-final competition on June 9.  

Their gold medal-winning idea aims to combine a fentanyl-detecting technology with a syringe-like design that will allow users to gain feedback on whether the drug in use contains a lethal dosage of Fentanyl.   

“We hope to provide users access to a technology that has the highest sensitivity and specificity for fentanyl, while also addressing the ritualistic nature of drug use, to provide them with life saving knowledge to help mitigate overdose.”  

Placing second in the competition and prize of $15,000 was Marwah Sadat and Batul Presswala, students from McMaster University. Their Banana Fibre Bag project aims to address plastic pollution, as well as job insecurity among women and youth in a rural, underserved community in Ghana called Doryumu. 

Bita Malekian, Amrita Nag, Kondwani Asefa and Anita Malekian, students from the University of Calgary were awarded third place and a prize of $7,500. Their project, Water Movement, is a collaborative online space where Indigenous water operators can connect and access resources to improve, optimize and sustain equipment and processes, in an effort to address Canada’s Water Crisis. 

This year, 22 teams from Canada and around the world took part in the Global Final, an annual competition created by Western International in 2017. Typically, student participants travel to Western and spend a week engaging in programming that includes workshops, lectures by guest speakers, networking and social events, prior to the competition. Due to travel restrictions, the competition was held entirely online this year, with organizers focusing on including those same elements as much as possible.  

“Although we couldn’t gather in person this year, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to engage and connect with these incredibly talented and globally minded students – from wherever they were in the world,” said Britta Baron, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (International) at Western.  

“Despite the struggles and hardships going on around the world, these students remain committed to big ideas, positivity and possibilities for the future. Hearing from them and learning with them this week has given many of us a lot of hope that we’re in good hands for a better future with students like these leading the way.” 

More details on the projects can be found on our website