Innovation Management using Project-Based Learning

Accelerate Future HEI partner ESIROI [École Supérieure d’Ingénieurs Réunion Océan Indien], the engineering school of Université de La Réunion recently hosted the final of the 8th edition of the ESIROI Challenges. This innovation competition brings together top student engineers from agri-food, building/energy, and IT specialities.

About the “Les Défis ESIROI” – Innovation Management using Project-Based Learning

This is ESIROI’s internal competition that covers all the questions engineers face. Fourth year engineering students organised mixed groups between the three specialities (Food, Building and Energy, and IT and Telecommunications engineering cycle). These students work together for an academic year on a strongly anchored subject of innovation.

This competition aims to bring out valuable innovations for the territory, based on concrete issues revisited each year. The goal is to train our future engineers in the “business” of innovation. The challenge is to develop regional skills capable of imagining and implementing tomorrow’s solutions adapted to the tropical environment and thus contributing to local dynamism. 

The goal is the new knowledge and new skills that the students can acquire:

  • Understand the challenges of innovation management
  • Get an overview of the innovation process
  • Be familiar with the basic concepts of innovation
  • Identify the tools of innovation management
  • Mobilise the right resources to manage an innovation process
  • Use creativity techniques
  • Use marketing tools for innovation (market analysis, market launch…) 

September 2023 marked the start of the eighth edition of the ESIROI Challenges. Engineering students from the school’s three specialties (building-energy, agri-food and IT) worked for six months to give a second life to a modular hospital which would have been deployed during an operation following a (natural) disaster, health, technological….) in the Indian Ocean. They had to imagine innovative reuse solutions, taking into account the contexts and challenges of each country in terms of resources, vulnerability and environmental impact.

ESIROI collaborated with the PIROI – French Red Cross for this challenge. Students had the opportunity to discover the project’s issues and participate in a question-and-answer session with the team, allowing them to assimilate all the information and constraints necessary to meet this challenge with determination.

The grand final took place on 3rd April 2024, with four teams competing, made up of students from the school’s three specialties: CROI, EPIROI, REHOME REHABILITATION and TROPIKOI.

The four multidisciplinary teams involved in this competition presented their final results to the members of the Steering Committee. It was an opportunity to discover very different approaches to reinventing the use of a modular hospital in the Indian Ocean following a disaster.

A jury of experts deliberated, including representatives from PIROI, the Technopôle de la Réunion, Qualitropic and the University of La Réunion, as well as ESIROI Director, François Garde.

TROPIKOI team proposed solutions in the form of technical sheets presenting the advantages / disadvantages / costs / impacts of each reuse proposal. The different solutions were briefly presented, such as a medical centre, a youth centre, a media library, a water treatment centre or a hydroponic greenhouse.

CROI team’s project idea focused on three solutions which have the advantage of being able to be adapted to the specificities of each country: an emergency centre, a training centre and an educational nursery. Some creative ideas should be noted, such as the reuse of medical beds in offices or nurseries.

EPIROI team’s project idea highlighted its methodological approach through a complete analysis of the specificities of each country in the ZOI, particularly geographical and logistical. The team chose two solutions that can be adapted to all contexts: a dispensary and a school. The possibilities for reusing the equipment and the resources to be mobilised (human, costs) were presented and highlighted through 3D modelling.

The winning team of this eighth edition was RED HOME REHABILITATION, which stood out by providing original solutions which surprised and convinced the jury. Future engineers notably proposed reusing parts of the modular hospital to create a coordination centre, disaster operation centres, or to store pre-positioned response equipment on site. Innovative, low-tech and inexpensive solutions won over the jury of experts with their simplicity and usefulness.

Congratulations to all teams for their inspiring ideas!

Visit the ESIROI website for more information : Les élèves de l’ESIROI relèvent le défi et redonnent vie à un hôpital modulaire ! – ESIROI (

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