Dopper Changemaker Challenge

Are you a masters or undergraduate university student writing your final year project on plastic waste or clean water?

For the third edition of its Changemaker Challenge, Dopper partnered with Impact Hub King’s Cross,  Impact Hub Amsterdam and Impact Hub Berlin to find the most innovative student ideas for a plastic-free future with crystal-clear waters. Students based in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany or Nepal applied for the Dopper Changemaker Challenge for a chance to win a £5,000 research grant, promo support and valuable contacts.

Who could join the Dopper Changemaker Challenge?

Whether working towards your Bachelor or Masters degree in Product Design or Biology, from Marketing to Economics – university students from ALL disciplines were welcome to join the Changemaker Challenge!

To join the Dopper Changemaker Challenge,

you needed to check off the following criteria:

– Your project is about clean water and/ or plastic waste. You can find some examples here
– You are or were registered at a university as a Bachelor or Masters student;
– You are or were studying in the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany or Nepal;
– You are still working on your graduation project or thesis, or only finished it after 1 September 2018;
– You have chosen or currently determining the subject of your project or thesis yourself;
– You are available on 29 May 2019, and you can attend finale events on 15 and 16 June 2019 in person;
– Are you writing your thesis for a company? No problem. Read about thesis embargoes here.

Did any questions come up? Read the FAQ.

What did the winners get?

The winning projects received:

Funding (research grants): £5,000 for 1st place, £2,500 for 2nd and 3rd place, and £500 for places 4 through 10.
Valuable introductions: The winner of 1st place took the stage at an event relevant to their field of research. And the winners of places 1 through 10 will be introduced to established partners and/or organisations.
Promo support: The ideas and solutions of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be actively shared with the international media.

The winners

We were absolutely blown away by the quality of the ideas that we received and after much deliberation, ten UK finalists were chosen in each country.
The 10 finalists in the UK  had the opportunity to pitch their ideas at Cody Dock, a creative hub on the Lower Lea River, where they  impressed both the jury and the public.

The jury (consisting of: Merijn Everaarts – Founder of Dopper; Andrew Hughes – Photographer and Artist; Maria Coronado Robles – Senior Consultant in Natural Resources at Euromonitor International; Jamie Rowles – Investment Processes Lead and Portfolio Manager at Sky Ocean Ventures; Debra Guo – Environmental Sustainability Manager at Stella McCartney; and Lizzie Carr – Activist, author and adventurer) decided on the following winners:

Marcus Rodin, 1st place

The objective of Marcus’ project is to convert kelp into a usable product, for example; packaging, building, etc. As one of the fastest growing organisms on the planet, kelp can be farmed to achieve carbon sequestration and converted into an extrudable bioplastic, locking the carbon inside the material.

Mia Wreford, 2nd place

The phenomena and management of abandoned, lost, or other discarded fishing gear, otherwise known as ‘ghost fishing’ is a considerable concern for marine health and the global economy. Mia is researching the potential to valorise and recycle this material sustainably through an innovative process of thermal cracking.

Sarah Kakadellis, 3rd place

Sarah’s research project will address the sustainability of conventional and biodegradable plastics in the field of food packaging. Since the use of plastic is a contentious issue, but the prevention of food waste it can contribute is often overlooked.


Our other finalists, in no particular order:

  • Alexander Kumi-Larbi Jr
  • Haamid Iqbal, Nikhil Ramaraj, Olga Milevska and Sara Thanyaset
  • Hannah Guest
  • Michail Dzigajev
  • Mohamed Kamal
  • Ondrej Ludvik
  • Uma Dassaye, Chitra Yadav and Arihant Jain

More about the Dopper Changemaker Challenge

In Dopper’s own words:

“Crystal-clear water, in every ocean, from every tap. That’s Dopper’s goal. Our nemesis? Single-use water bottles. That’s why we created the ultimate reusable water bottle, called Dopper. This bottle battles the throwaway lifestyle. And it is working. Up until now, we’ve prevented over 40 million kilos of single-use plastic from entering our oceans. Feels pretty good. But when you realise that we throw a garbage truck of plastic waste in our oceans every minute, we still have a long way to go. Luckily, we’re not doing this alone. We believe that we need the next generation of changemakers – yes you! – to change the world. That’s why we started a competition: the Dopper Changemaker Challenge.”

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