2015 Argo


Dominique Plu (Animal Husbandry), Twan Bakker, Brecht Wartna and Mukhtar Yaqoobi (Aeronautical Engineering) won the 2015 Wij Inholland award with their Argo project, a ‘fishtail’ submarine. Executive Board member Marcel Nollen presented the prizes during the official opening ceremony of the academic year at Inholland Rotterdam on Wednesday, 2 September. This project allows the students to show the kind of wonderful and innovative projects that can result from collaboration between two completely different degree programmes.

Executive Board member Marcel Nollen called the winning project ‘a tremendous innovation’ during the awards ceremony. ‘This project has already garnered considerable publicity both at home and abroad’.

The initial group of 10 nominated projects was narrowed down to finalists Leiderschap draait door, Argo and UAV. On Wednesday, the public cast the final and deciding votes to determine which student project would take home the Wij Inholland Award 2015. With over 50% of the popular vote, Argo emerged as the most innovative, multidisciplinary and socially relevant project. ‘There really aren’t any losers; all of the projects are remarkable’, said Marcel Nollen, who is also regarded as the adoptive parent of the Wij Inholland Award. ‘Still, there can only be one winner’.

‘So cool that we won! It’s really a major acknowledgement of our hard work’, said Brecht. Of course, the students are proudest of their submarine Argo. ‘But that’s also because we produced a truly good product in a short amount of time with quite a small team’, said Dominique. ‘Yes, we managed to achieve this in half a year with a group of seven people’, said Twan.

Submarine with a fishtail
It all started in December when the students came up with the idea to build a human-powered submarine. Dominique researched fish species to determine which has the optimum swimming technique and the Aeronautical Engineering students subsequently translated this into a technical design. Argo is pedal-powered and steered using a fishtail; there is ‘a person actually sitting inside the submarine’. The principle is based on biomimicry, which is the science of solving human problems by reproducing biological ideas from nature.

The next step
As winners of the Wij Inholland Award, Dominique, Twan, Brecht and Mukhtar will receive support in various areas in order to advance their project, including communication and PR, material and facilities. They will also serve as ambassadors of the Executive Board and board members of Inholland University of applied Sciences. As such, the winners will have access to a large network of relations in every sector.

This is very convenient for the students considering their highly ambitious plans for the future. ‘I hope we’ll be able to make a second version’, said Twan. ‘I also hope that we’ll be able to enter more competitions’, added Brecht. According to the critical students, upgrading Argo is necessary because ‘there is massive room for improvement’.

Fellow nominees celebrated
Although the other nominated projects – Leiderschap draait door (Leadership gone awry) and UAV – did not win the award, both earned the jury’s praise. ‘All of the Wij Inholland projects are remarkable, but these three finalists were head and shoulders above the rest’. According to the jury, the ‘Leadership’ project demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and guts. Most of all, the students showed that they are capable of creating their own education. In addition, the project UAV is ‘a brilliant example of young entrepreneurship’. Zeroing in on the popularity of zones, Lucien Fesselet (Aeronautical Engineering) discovered a gap in the market and developed a new application.