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4 Filipino students vie for 3M Inspire Regional Champion title 2022

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The team will go up against eight other teams across Asia-Pacific to compete for the Regional Champion title

After a heated round of pitching and much deliberation amongst the judges, winners for the 3M Inspire Challenge 2022 Country-Level Semi-Finals in the Philippines were selected. 

Four students from the University of the Philippines Diliman secured the title of Country Champions, beating two other shortlisted local teams. The winning team, named Fighting Maroons clinched US$2,000 and an internship with 3M Philippines.

Country Champion team member Rachel Roxas explained why they developed the winning solution, Bamboost, a responsibly-produced face mask that uses polypropylene and bamboo fibers, offering the same protection provided by most commercially-available face masks but with boosted breathability and material sustainability. 

We developed Bamboost for two reasons. First, research suggests that while some personal protective equipment (PPE) use the regulatory agencies’ required fabric material, they have poor breathability. This has a huge impact for people like healthcare workers, who need to wear PPEs daily for several hours a day. PPEs with poor breathability can cause discomfort and negatively impact the wearer’s physical health—and this is only further amplified in humid countries like the Philippines,” said Roxas. “Second, the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated plastic pollution globally. Controlling the spread of the coronavirus disease resulted in the increased demand for PPEs—the majority of which use plastic and often end up in landfill. Manufacturing PPEs also emit large amounts of carbon dioxide since most PPEs use synthetic fibers, contributing to two-thirds of the global carbon emissions associated with textile materials. If we are to combat climate change and its impacts, we need to rethink current production methods and consider every step in the face masks and respirators’ product life cycle.” 

Team Fighting Maroons will advance to the next and final stage of the challenge—the Regional-Level Finals, where they will vie for the title of Regional Champions and a US$5,000 cash prize in front of a live judging panel. 

Winning will not be easy. During this stage, Team Fighting Maroons will go up against eight other teams from Australia and New Zealand, India, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.  However, the team will continue to enjoy access to 3M mentors who will help them sharpen their ideas. 

“The world is facing tougher problems every day, but the ingenious ideas presented today gives us hope.” said Jim Falteisek, Senior Vice President, 3M Asia Corporate Affairs and Managing Director, 3M Korea. “Platforms like the 3M Inspire Challenge are important to help us to unlock the power of people, ideas, and science. Together, we can reimagine what’s possible and create a more positive world for tomorrow.” 

Nine teams to face-off in Regional-Level Finals

The 3M Inspire Challenge 2022 will culminate in an intense final round of live pitching on November 15. Nine teams will present their refined ideas in hopes of winning over an impressive panel of leading subject matter experts. 

The judges include:

  • Jim Falteisek, Senior Vice President, 3M Asia Corporate Affairs and Managing Director, 3M Korea
  • Balbir Blassey, Corporate R&D Operations Director, 3M Asia
  • Stella Huang, HR Operations Director, Human Resources, 3M Asia & Greater China Area
  • Mabel Low, Director, TEBG Area Marketing Center, Asia
  • Jalaja Menon, TCOE Operations Leader, 3M India

Full timeline of the challenge

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