Up, up and away!

Last Saturday saw the launch of Scotland’s first university-branded hot air balloon at Ross Priory, Strathclyde University’s conference venue on the banks of Loch Lomond. The brainchild of Sheik Abdul Malik, a doctoral researcher at Strathclyde and a member of the Converge Enterprise team, the launch was attended by Glasgow City Lord Provost Jacqueline McLaren along with Councillor Philip Braat, and partners in the balloon project, Lawlor Technologies and Converge.

Malik hopes the balloon will enhance the student experience at Strathclyde, enabling young people in Scotland to access an activity that is typically out of the reach of many due to the associated costs. He also plans to work with local STEM hubs, using the balloon as an educational tool to encourage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue university degrees in STEM. 

Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo, Executive Director of Converge Challenge commented “We’re delighted to have Malik working in our Enterprise team and this unique venture embodies everything that we stand for – bold, ambitious, collaborative and experimental. As soon as he told us about the hot air balloon we had to get on board as STEM is so important to us as an organisation – indeed two thirds of applications to our annual entrepreneurship programme are in STEM subjects. We are also absolutely committed to widening access and can’t wait to see the project take off!”