The Protolabs Sustainability Training Hackathon

The Great Engineering Challenge of Tomorrow

The Protolabs Sustainability Training Hackathon is an online learning event that fast-forwards participants from across Europe through the growing urgency around sustainability. For design engineers at any stage of their career, this is a great opportunity to learn directly from experts in the field from across Europe. It will help prepare for fast evolving ‘green’ legislation – society’s accelerated ambitions of energy efficiency, plastic waste reduction, and the mitigation of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

Product designers are in a unique position to support the move towards a greener economy. More than that, they will increasingly be obliged to do so, with methods such as life-cycle analysis (LCA) being vital tools to help manufacturers meet their sustainability requirements – now and in the future. Learn more about why we should expect this future challenge here


An event to help prepare design engineers from across Europe for future sustainability challenges. Delivered by sustainability experts and thought leaders, and brought to you by Protolabs in partnership with Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Wevolver

  • Dates: 20th April until the end of May
  • Location: An online event hosted on the Hubilo platform

Participants will learn directly from experts in the field of sustainability in product design. Through a series of seminars, webinars and panel discussions they will come to understand how products can achieve optimum sustainability through life-cycle analysis, focusing on materials, the management of data, calculating carbon footprint, sustainability best practice – all within a framework of current and future legislation.

All discussions, presentations and webinars that form the Protolabs Sustainability Training Hackathon will be CPD accredited, in accordance with the IET’s CPD policy.

Event Kick-off - 20 April 10AM - 11AM

Welcome and Introduction to InspirON event.


Roundtable – 20 April 11AM – 12PM

A Roundtable discussion with Simon Lockrey, Tom Watt-Smith, Yewande Akinola, Sophie Thomas, Bjoern Klaas and James Robottom.


Speaker – Tom Watt – Smith

21 April – 10AM – 11AM

Why story-telling is vital to engaging the world in sustainability...

Multi Award-winning documentary maker explains how to bring sustainability and technology to a mass global audience...


Speaker – Simon Lockrey

22nd April – 10AM – 11AM

Life cycle assessment, the good, the bad and the...not so bad?!

Any product can be made to seem ‘green’ - LCA expert, Simon shares battle stories and shows how not to be seduced by the number, and create honest products.


Speaker – Andrew Carr

27th April: 10AM – 11AM

Sustainability and the start-up

How to get sustainability on the agenda in the land of Lean, Minimum Viable Product and Bootstrapping. (Hint: B-corp helps).


Speaker – Yewande Akinola

29th April – 2PM – 3PM

Technical Action: How the ‘Problem Solving Mindset’ & Passion - Delivers Impact

Inspired by Technology, yet driven by Civic Duty - Yewande’s eclectic experiences fuel her ability to realise purposeful engineering projects around the world, for a more responsible future, whilst also inspiring a new generation of responsible engineers


Speaker – Roundtable

30th April – 2PM – 3PM

Roundtable with Joe Iles, Matt Sexton, Erica Purvis and Chris Lefteri


Challenge Brief

4th May – 11.30AM – 12.30PM

Speaker – Joe Iles

6th May – 10AM – 11AM

It's more than you think: the big idea of a circular economy

The Ellen Macarthur Foundation is a global reference point on the circular economy. Joe will raise our ambition beyond better recycling and waste management, pointing to the next era of innovation and creativity.


Speaker - Dane Whitehurst

13th May 10AM - 11AM

Beyond Beige – Packaging Design That’s Jaw Dropping and Ethical

Burgopak is behind some of the best ‘cardboard engineering’ in product packaging. Their work wins countless awards and likes and can start small and scale fast. 


The challenge: Catch up

13th May 9AM – 10AM

Hackathon challenge catch up



14th May – 2PM – 3PM

Roundtable with Andy Stanford, Alexandra Deschamps, Chris Grantham and Andy Carr


Speaker – Chris Grantham

18th May – 10AM – 11AM

Systems for meaningful growth

The circular economy isn't just about recycling. It's about an economy that has a fundamentally different shape and mindset. To realise its £3trillion plus potential we need a different kind of growth apparatus. This requires reimagining and co-designing more systems upstream and across industries, unlocking new forms of abundance and capturing value in ways that grow the pie.

Speaker – Sunil Kadri

20th May – 10AM – 11AM

By Accident or Design? Regulation vs the Market as Drivers of Sustainable Food Production

Retailers are known to exert price pressure on food producers; however they also look ahead at what consumers will want in future years, and use this knowledge to influence food producers to supply ethical products, working with advocacy groups to instigate change and foster innovation, including AI mediated fish behaviour and welfare monitoring and even providing environments which produce positive emotions in fish. Regulators can also foster innovation by using a carrot rather than a stick - with many millions invested when it's done right.

Speaker – Helena Simmonds and Vannessa Goodship

25th May – 10AM – 11AM

Villain or Hero  – Can Plastic Help Get Us to Net Zero?

Sustainable Plastics for Designers: Markets, Legislation & Materials.

Speaker – Erica Purvis

26th May 10AM – 11AM

Lost in Translation: Turning Eco Jargon and Overwhelm to Opportunity and Action

We’ve ticked all the boxes, but nobody’s buying the product... Or worse - the product is selling, but it’s a greenwash! How to create better synergy between facts, strategy, and communications?

Speaker – Sam Coniff

27th May 10AM – 12PM

Uncertainty Experts

An experimental, immersive live documentary that will measurably rewire your brain's ability to turn uncertainty, into opportunity.



28th May 2PM – 3PM

Roundtable discussion with Dr Vannessa Goodship, Sunil Kadri, Sam Conniff and Dane Whitehurst.


Event End

28th May 3PM – 4PM


All round tables, presentations and webinars will be available to view on-demand

To learn more about why the event may be important and necessary for you to get involved, please read our ‘Ten Reasons to Attend


The event will bring together participants under the principle of learning whilst responding to a challenge:

What can you redesign with life-cycle analysis (LCA) and sustainability in mind?

The challenge will give participants the opportunity to work in teams and put their learnings into practice, to receive feedback on their work, to share their own knowledge and ultimately help reshape the global design engineering community into what it must become.

To find out more or to register as a participant, please click here.

About The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

The IET are one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 168,000 members in 150 countries. Their mission is to inspire, inform and influence the global engineering community, supporting technology innovation to meet the needs of society.

About Wevolver

Wevolver are a global community of design engineers, empowering people to create and innovate with access to engineering knowledge.