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Aariz Salimee Bin Ilhan Salimee, Athena Siow, Gaurakishor A/L Puvanasvaran formed the winning team from Kolej Yayasan Saad, who aced the 2021 National Science Challenge (NSC) Grand Final while wowing the judges with their ingenious Grand Final Prototype: GrowBox.
GrowBox is a DIY farming kit that combines three oft-used systems in agriculture to increase crop yield and nutrition while making agriculture more accessible and sustainable for communities.
The DIY farming kit combines vertical farming, fertigation (a method of fertiliser application where the fertiliser is incorporated within the irrigation water by the drip system), and biochar (a charcoal-like material produced from plant materials that are decomposed at high temperatures).
The inception of GrowBox came from the trio’s realisation of where their food comes from, and how much society relies on rural farmers to grow food. Hence, they sought to find a sustainable solution for this overdependence with a deep dive into the world of agriculture’s award-winning technologies and combine it into one simple and user-friendly system.
The 2021 National Science Challenge Grand Final competition was held virtually on 9 October 2021, broadcasted via Zoom, the Academy of Sciences Malaysia’s Facebook and EduWebTV, the Ministry of Education’s Malaysia’s YouTube channel.
The Grand Final competition was the National Science Challenge’s apotheosis, Malaysia’s premier science competition for secondary school students. This year, 706 teams registered the hopes of winning the science competition.
The Preliminary Level Quiz was followed by a State Level Quiz, which whittled the teams down to 79; by September, only 20 teams qualified for the Semi-Finals.
During the Semi-Final Round, the 20 Semi-Finalist teams honed and harnessed their STEM knowledge to provide novel and innovative solutions to solve challenges in one of the three given tracks: Agriculture & Environment; Climate Change; and Public Health.
From this batch of 20, five teams emerged triumphantly to advance to the Grand Final, armed with their ingenious solutions that harness the powers of science and technology to overcome the given challenges, aside from their well-honed communication skills as scientific knowledge.
The 2021 NSC Grand Final featured a prominent panel of judges:
- Professor Dr Yang Farina Abdul Aziz from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia as the Chief Judge
- Professor Dr Yvonne Lim Ai Lian from Universiti Malaya
- Associate Professor Dr Mas Jaffri Masarudin from Universiti Putra Malaysia
- Professor Denny Ng Kok Sum from Herriot-Watt University Malaysia
- And Dr Nor Azmi Alias from Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science and Technology (CREST)
The 2021 NSC Grand Final featured four rounds: Individual Quiz, Teams Quiz, Lightning Quiz, and the Prototype Pitching Round. Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Tahir was in attendance as the lively and animated Quizmaster to coordinate the competition.
Aside from the top five teams of the NSC Grand Final, Haziyah Azfar Binti Hashim from MRSM Pasir Tumboh, Kelantan was awarded the Best Microbiology Award by the Malaysian Society for Microbiology for her outstanding performance throughout NSC.
The final standing of the top five NSC Grand Final Teams are as follows:
Champion: Kolej Yayasan Saad, Melaka
Second Place: SMK Sam Tet, Perak
Third Place: SMJK Jit Sin, Pulau Pinang
Fourth Place: Sekolah Menengah Sri KDU, Selangor
Fifth Place: MRSM Kota Putra, Terengganu
ASM’s strategic partners for the 2021 National Science Challenge are the Ministry of Education Malaysia, Majlis Amanah Rakyat, Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science and Technology Centre (CREST), and the Malaysian Society for Microbiology. The Young Scientists Network-ASM contributed their time and effort towards being the content and concept creator, while SASBADI Online Sdn Bhd was the technology partner of 2021 NSC.
Watch the 2021 NSC Grand Final here.