UCI Partners with International University for Beall Butterworth Competition

UCI students collaborate to improve their product designs for the Beall Butterworth Competition at a coaching session in October, 2022.

May 5, 2023 - UCI is collaborating with Brazil’s Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) for an international track of the upcoming 2023 Beall and Butterworth Product Design Competition. Thirty-three students from PUCRS have joined over 40 UCI students to form 17 teams that are participating in the ninth annual contest.

The Beall Butterworth Competition calls entrepreneurial graduates and undergraduates at UCI to present their product designs and compete for over $40,000 in prizes. It is split into the Beall Student Design Competition geared toward engineering students and the Butterworth Product Development Competition aimed at information and computer science students. The engineering side focuses on solving current design problems and developing technology while the information and computer science side centers on creating new software and computing technologies. Both tracks are open to all UCI students if at least one member of each team is enrolled at the Samueli School or Bren School, and participants have a chance to receive feedback and refine their product designs through a series of design and coaching workshops leading up to the competition.

Through this year’s partnership, students from UCI and PUCRS were matched into three Beall and 14 Butterworth teams. The students will work together to align their product designs to both American and Brazilian markets. The top team will receive a travel prize that allows the students to do exchange work at the other university. Placement will be determined by the group’s performance judged by industry specialists as well as input from UCI and PUCRS faculty.

“Many of the biggest questions we are facing today are global in scope and, as a result, an international perspective is critical,” said Samueli School Dean Magnus Egerstedt. “I am very excited to see this joint initiative launch as it will allow our students international experiences and to form important connections.”

The engineering teams will present designs for a speculum, a wearable fitness tracker and a drone-based food delivery app. The Butterworth teams are presenting a variety of software including a digital housing rental platform built for military veterans in Orange County and a system that uses artificial intelligence to diagnose tuberculosis.

“This is a very unique opportunity,” said Rafael Prikladnicki, an associate professor of software engineering at PUCRS and UCI visiting scholar from August 2021 to February 2023. “A global mindset, entrepreneurship and innovation are skills that every student needs to develop in today’s world.”

The teams will present their final products and business cases in mid-May, and the competition will culminate with an awards ceremony at 5:30p.m. Wednesday, May 24 at Calit2.

– Lilith Christopher