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Creative environment for Talent Development

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Expert feedback received
Submission completed
Idea under jury review
Mentor feedback received

According to the National Association of Information Technology and Communication companies [1], the area of Embedded Systems Engineering (such as the Internet of Things, Home Automation, Automotive, Robotics, Mechatronics, Industrial Equipment, and others) is underdeveloped in the Republic of Moldova, the major focus being on Software Engineering only. While Moldova becomes more interesting as a European ICT player [2], only a few companies operating in R&D in this field exist. These face a large deficit in identifying engineers motivated to apply for a specific job in this area. Closing vacancies often takes about 3 months or more, and the qualification of new employees takes up to 6 months to be valid as beginners. Subsequently, Micro Lab Engineering Club proposes the idea of “Creative Ecosystem for Talent Development”.   

[1] http://binasystems.com/Download_Files/ATIC_catalog.pdf
[2] https://www.itu.int/dms_pub/itu-d/opb/inno/D-...18-01-PDF-E.pdf

State your goals.

The strategic goals are highlighted as follows:

  • Develop the Moldovan Embedded Systems Engineering Community, by enhancing the collaboration between the engineering community, the industrial and academic partners and other stakeholders
  • Develop Soft and Hard Skills among community members required for engineering activities (Product Development and Process Management), by involving experts from industry and Micro Lab Alumni in the non-formal educational events, like boot camps, practice sessions, engineering talks, international engineering conferences, forums, exhibitions, and other events.
  • Pursue R&D Projects - Initiate a platform for research and development of innovative projects in the field of Embedded Systems Engineering

What problems (particularly in value chain competitiveness and global disruption) are your community’s stakeholders facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic?

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, attending formal and non-formal education events has proved challenging for the embedded community since physical attendance in a large group has been forbidden in Moldova. Unlike previously, engineers seeking opportunities for self-development (hard and soft skills) have faced difficulties finding them. Similarly, companies put employment positions on hold, including internships and training opportunities. Additionally, a difficulty emerged in working in the labs, with hardware equipment, since only a limited number of people can work concurrently in the same room, and work from home is not possible.

The Global pandemic has shown the importance of the ability to adapt in special situations. In order to fight the existing difficulties, we have moved all our activities online. For projects involving hardware development, we’ve delivered the equipment at home to the participants, and only conducted physical meetings for special equipment access, by complying to the safety measures. We have assigned more mentors to smaller teams in order to achieve the objectives of the Bootcamps. As an agile organization, we managed to successfully conduct our boot camps, practice sessions, and micro-conferences online, and continued to have a positive impact in our community and kept our yearly agenda.

What minimum viable solution(s) are you proposing to address the challenge(s) in your community?

To achieve the goals we have:

Created a yearly event-based skills development program, which constitutes of:

  • Monthly Events – Practice Session and Movie Night, Engineering Talks - Micro conferences
  • Quarterly Events - sessions with a series of 5-7 weekly workshops: Q1 - Electronics & PCB Bootcamp, Q2 - Autonomous Driving Bootcamp, (Automotive), Q3 - Summer School - Embedded Systems Development (IoT), Q4 - Robot Factory - Mechatronic Symphony (IIoT);
  • Annual Events - Micro Lab Open Day, Hackaton Engineering, Autonomous Driving Contest, Engineering Forum (ISEF 2020);
  • Participation in National and International competitions - Continental Electromobility - Iasi, EarthRover - Chisinau, Robochallenge - Bucharest, Hard & Soft - Suceava, Applications with Microcontrollers - “Konteschweller” - Iasi, Microelectronic systems - “Sergiu Rădăuțan” - Chisinau.

Established collaboration agreements, with:

  • IT Companies: Amdaris, Pentalog, Allied Testing, Inther Software Development, Ellation
  • Governmental structures: Free Economic Zone (Zona Economica Libera), Automotive Cluster Moldova, Employers' Association in the Manufacturing Industry
  • Educational Organizations: the Technical University of Moldova, Public Institution College of Engineering, FabLab Chisinau, Tekwill

Share your story (your narrative)

Being a student organization within the Technical University of Moldova (TUM), the Micro Lab Engineering Club aims at developing the engineering community and creating opportunities for young people who want to pursue a career in Engineering, focusing on Embedded, IoT, Software & Hardware Engineering, etc. In the 10 years of activity and collaboration with TUM, Micro Lab has managed to develop an effective formula to combine the university curriculum with non-formal education, through the multiple organized events, national and international competitions and exhibitions which we have attended.  The history of the Club begins with a group of students passionate about electronics and microcontroller applications, who attended the "ElectroMobility 2007" competition, being led by the organization’s founder – Andrei Bragarenco. After their first success, the team continued to participate in a range of engineering contests, and international events and decided to share their experience with other peers at the Technical University of Moldova. Shortly after, Micro Lab Engineering Club started a range of R&D projects and got its first office within the Faculty of Computers, Informatics, and Microelectronics at TUM. 
Over the years, Micro Lab has grown to a professional organization, impacting hundreds of people and attracting more and more partners. Some of the cornerstones in the development of the organization was the support of the Moldova Competitiveness Project by USAID and being invited as members and residents of the FAB LAB Chisinau. Subsequently, we’ve managed to multiply and diversify our range of projects and reach a wider group of people.  
The Micro Lab Engineering Club’s mission perfectly aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals. We aim at building an optimal ecosystem for the Moldovan engineering community, by providing quality non-formal education (SGD 4) and bringing impact in the Moldovan industry, innovation, and infrastructure (SGD 9). We help people become better professionals and bridge the gap between academia and industry, by offering career orientation support and employment opportunities (SGD 8). Additionally, being a tech-community, we encourage female participants and aim at achieving gender balance (SGD 5) in our events participants, as well as within the top management and the executive team.  

Please provide any additional relevant information that you would like to share.

Due to our cumulative success over the last decade, Micro Lab Engineering Club has been awarded a grant from the Moldova Competitiveness Project in value of 50.000 USD. This allows implementing our event-based framework and reaching our goals on talent development for the industrial environment through non-formal education for the year 2020. Subsequently, Micro Lab Engineering Club estimates to cover over 1000 unique beneficiaries by the end of the grant implementation. This consists of 4 Quarterly Engineering Bootcamps, 12 Micro Conferences, 12 Practice Sessions and Movie Nights, 1 Hackathon, and Micro Lab Engineering Club Open Day Session. 

Your final proposal for challenge

yes

Videos
edited on Jul 27, 2020 by Andrei Bragarenco
Commenting is closed

James Kiruri 7 months ago

Hi Diana, Are there other solutions or set ups available in the market that perform the same or similar function? If so, what is or how do you plan to have a competitive advantage over the already existing solutions? All the very best with your idea

Diana Artiom 7 months ago

Hi James, there are not a lot of such solutions in Moldova. In fact, we are the leading organization with this profile locally. Nevertheless, there are still growth opportunities and we are working towards achieveing them.

Our competitive advantage is the composed framework: we embody a network of experienced proffesionals, support from the academic and industrial partners and opportunities for students and new-comers. All these shareholders have access to a range of growth opportunities, and we make these connections happen.

Achia Khaleda 7 months ago

Do you have any sustainable plan for this project. All the best for your project. It's an great idea :)

Diana Artiom 7 months ago

Dear Achhia Khaleda,
we are willing to develop our community with a mix of R&D projects and social events. We have also discussited membership fees (annual or events based), and annual partnership fees for indurstry and academic partners. Nevertheless, all these are raw and any feedback or ideas would be welcome.

Thank you for the great question.

Achia Khaleda 7 months ago

thank you dear

Valentina Stadnic 7 months ago


Dear Diana and Andrei,
Happy to see you among the challenge applicants. I’m familiar and quite impressed with the work your Club is doing in Moldova.
Still, I would recommend refining your idea in accordance with the Storytelling Canvas which will offer you a possibility to present your idea at its best and in much more concise manner.
In this regard, several points that I would pay particular attention to are: defining the problem that you’re trying to solve, defining 3 major goals and the sustainability and scalability of your initiative.
Hope you will enjoy the journey of rediscovering the value of the work you’re doing.

Diana Artiom 7 months ago

Dear Valentina,

Thanks for the feedback. It definitely is a good point. We'll stick to the Storytelling Canvas. We will aslo review our goal list and narrow it down to three clearly stated objectives.

Thank you for feedback.

Achia Khaleda 7 months ago

thank you dear for your ans :)

Henry Dobson 7 months ago

Hi Diana, this sounds like a great club. The title of this idea does not reflect the name of your organisation; I suggest updating the title accordingly so that it's captures the readers attention.
Also, what "eco-system" problems are you encountering with the club? Under your "problem" statement which write about the issues encountered due to Covid-19. These are very understandable, however, it's not clear what the ecosystem problem are. In your response to James below, you write that your competitive advantage is the "composed framework" of the organisation. This framework is indeed necessary for the organisation but what is not clear is how the organisation is tackling broader issues in your community/country. Are there any statistics which you are aware of in relation to employment opportunities for engineers; are there funding issues for "microelectronics" startups/entrepreneurs; are there significant trends or opportunities in Moldova and around Europe which you are wanting to join? In short, I suggest expanding on your problem statement, highlighting the broader ecosystem issues for your community and why these are so problematic. This will make your idea far more relatable and also compelling to readers.

Diana Artiom 7 months ago

Dear Henry,
Thank you so much for the detailed feedback. You are definitely right, backing our statements with statistics would give more context about our situation. We will also consider expanding our problem statement and describing the broader picture in general.

Thank you for feedback.

Henry Dobson 7 months ago

Hi Diana, this sounds like a fantastic club. The title of this idea does not reflect the name of your organisation. I suggest changing the title of the idea accordingly so that it's clear to the audience who you are (the organisation) exactly.
Also, can you please expand on the ecosystem problems that you are encountering. Under the problem statement you write about the impact of Covid-19 and having to move online, which is no doubt problematic. However, you make no mention of the broader issues that the club is facing beyond itself. For instance, are there any technology/startup trends or opportunities within Moldova or around Europe which are wanting to join? Are there employment difficulties for those working in the microelectronics sector which you are wanting to tackle?
In response to James you write that your competitive advantage is the "composed framework". This is certainly required for the organisation itself, but it does not indicate how the framework is working to tackle and solve the problems you are facing. Could you please expand on your problem statement by highlighting the broader ecosystem issues that you're encountering?
Also, your personal story is not "your own" story but rather a long history of the organisation. We want to hear more about YOU and why this is so important to you personally.

Users tagged:

Diana Artiom 7 months ago

Dear Henry, thanks again for the feedback, I think some of it overlaps with what you have written in the previous comment. Nevertheless, I am not sure what are you reffering to in the last paragraph. You said it should not be a story of our own, but then you said you want to hear about us and why is the organisation important to us personally. I am a little confused here. Can you be a bit more specific?

Thanks for the comment. Hope my humble question doesn't ask too much.

Tafadzwa Chikwereti 7 months ago

Hello Diana

Diana Artiom 7 months ago

Hello Tafadzwa Chikwereti

Diana Artiom 7 months ago

Dear Tafadzwa Chikwereti ,
What do you think about our idea? How can we improve? Do you have any feedback? Thank you in advance!

Tafadzwa Chikwereti 7 months ago

Hello Diana
I ve got a couple of questions which can help you refine your idea
1)how do you plan on being sustainable since youre non profit ? How do you make revenue ?
2) you could intergrate you process into an app or webiste to hlep people access it on the go

3)

Diana Artiom 7 months ago

Sorry, I have not seen that the previous comment was also from you.

As answered previously, we have a couple of ideas: "we are willing to develop our community with a mix of R&D projects and social events. We have also discussed membership fees (annual or events based), annual partnership fees for industry and academic partners. Nevertheless, all these are raw and any feedback or ideas would be welcome".

Yes, we do have a website: https://www.microlab.club/, but it is in the Romanian language. We do also have a solid Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MicrolabClub


Thank you for the great question. Please let us know if you have any other ideas.

Uche Udekwe 7 months ago

very brilliant initiative.. just wondering how about it's sustainability. NGOs currently are having a hard time.. The sponsors are rapidly declining

Diana Artiom 7 months ago

Hi Uche, thanks for your comment.

As answered previously, we have a couple of ideas: "we are willing to develop our community with a mix of R&D projects and social events. We have also discussed membership fees (annual or events based), annual partnership fees for industry and academic partners. Nevertheless, all these are raw and any feedback or ideas would be welcome".

Uche Udekwe 7 months ago

have you considered how you plan to expand..cos i really love the idea

Victoria Masso 7 months ago

Status label added: Mentor feedback received

Leidy Fajardo Sua 7 months ago

Very complete idea!!

Israel Abazie 7 months ago

Your project submission is well articulated. I'm particular about your sustainability. What are your strategies to stay sustainable?

Israel Abazie 7 months ago

Please I would like you to also follow my journey through the challenge and give constructive feedback on my submission. Thanks

Diana Artiom 7 months ago

Hi Israel,
As answered previously, we have a couple of ideas: "we are willing to develop our community with a mix of R&D projects and social events. We have also discussed membership fees (annual or events based), annual partnership fees for industry and academic partners. Nevertheless, all these are raw and any feedback or ideas would be welcome".

Nivashini Rave Rattey 7 months ago

Status label added: Community feedback received

Nivashini Rave Rattey 7 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

Sergio Pengel 7 months ago

Greetings Diana. I love your platform.

Questions. Do you guys incorporate hackathons?

Diana Artiom 7 months ago

Hi Sergio,
we have a Hackathon planned for this year, but due to the Covid-19 situation, we will have to rethink the format, since offline events are banned in Moldova.

Agnes Brenda Tugume 7 months ago

This is a nice idea. Just wandering about it's sustainability. Plus you could consider having a mobile lab to help facilitate the training in areas without the facility especially communities.
Hope this helps you to refine your idea.

Diana Artiom 7 months ago

Hi Agnes,

As answered previously, we have a couple of ideas: "we are willing to develop our community with a mix of R&D projects and social events. We have also discussed membership fees (annual or events based), annual partnership fees for industry and academic partners. Nevertheless, all these are raw and any feedback or ideas would be welcome".

Regarding training in areas without facility - we have taken measures in covering a wider area of Moldova, by sending equipment at home to the participants.

Nabuyuni Sankan 7 months ago

Hello Diana,

Great concept.
Quick question,Has the program considered tapping into raw local talents of engineers or students who have no access to programs such as your?How are you assisting the local community?

Good luck keep at it.
Best Regards.

Diana Artiom 7 months ago

Dear Nabuyuni,
as mentioned previously, we have had good experience with sending the equipment to the home of the participants and assigned them with mentors to ensure successfull functioning of the team. Nevertheless, any other ideas will be welcome!

Thank you.

Alin-Claudiu Apostu 6 months ago

Congrats on the idea Diana. I liked the fact that you also provided references and STEM education is certainly a hot topic and there is much to do in this space in our region.
Being in education myself I know that there are a lot of things to be solved and once you identify a problem and start a project you realize that there is so much more to do. I was wondering if you would narrow down to 1-2 problems that you would want to solve, what are they? I've understood that the pandemic brought a lot of problems in the education space, that there is a bigger need for mentors, that the companies have stopped hiring, that education needs to go on in offline format as well even though you tried to combine it with online, that there is a severe lack of professionals. If you would boil it down to 1-2 important things, what would they be? And what would the solution be? I've seen that you organize a lot of events and educational workshops. Is there something else missing to create a new generation of System Engineers?
I've understood that you took a grant in order to develop this space. How do you plan to make it sustainable on the long run?
Are there any best practices at a European level? What about other continents?

Thanks and keep it up. The world needs great professionals!

Diana Artiom 6 months ago

Dear Alin-Claudiu,
thank you for taking the time, and thank you for the questions.
Regarding your questions: the two most important problems we see, is that first: the domain of Embedded Systems is not benefiting a lot of attention, and is oftentimes shadowed by only Software-based applications. We want to put light on a complementary side - the Embedded Systems engineering. Secondly: the university curricula focuses rather on concepts, than technology. Our solution is to bring the workspace and tools to bridge this gap, and to allow aspiring engineers to apply their knowledge, by joining on of our projects, or by proposing their own projects.

I hope this answered your question. Thank you very much for the feedback.

Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

Status label added: Expert feedback received

Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

You may now start filling up the final submission form and reach out to any mentors if you're stuck. Best wishes!

Users tagged:

Sunday Bawa 6 months ago

Cre8tiv Eko ! ♟️

Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

Status label added: Submission completed

Nivashini Rave Rattey 5 months ago

Status label added: Idea under jury review

Nivashini Rave Rattey 5 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

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