Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - MRC holding new river monitoring tech competition

MRC holding new river monitoring tech competition

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
MRC unveils a new student competition to modernise the Mekong River monitoring technology with innovative designs. MRC

MRC holding new river monitoring tech competition

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) has announced a new competition which will challenge the students of the region’s universities to design cost-effective, sustainable technology to monitor the Mekong River.

“The inaugural MRC River Monitoring Technology Competition is aimed at the most innovative Cambodian, Laotian, Thai and Vietnamese students – from one of 15 pre-selected universities across the Lower Mekong River Basin – to help protect the lifeblood for millions of fishing and farming families,” said MRC, in an October 6 press release.

The MRC maintains 250 stations that monitor conditions that affect Southeast Asia’s largest river, yet most of this technology is foreign equipment, which is often expensive and sometimes outdated.

While the MRC values its international partners, the organisation’s secretariat CEO, Anoulak Kittikhoun, says homegrown solutions will deliver cheaper costs, develop local expertise, and offer other benefits – like nurturing the notion that Mekong citizens can solve Mekong problems, via technological innovation.

“We hope to inspire the Mekong youth to achieve their true potential – and provide creative responses to solve many of our vexing challenges,” says Kittikhoun. “This is the time for you, and for us, to prove that we ourselves can develop technology that’s often made far away. You’ll be surprised at how much you can do: for yourself, for your university, for your society, and for the one and only Mekong River.”

The specific task is to develop telemetry-sensor technology that measures one of four separate categories: water level, rainfall, soil moisture, and water quality. Such sensors are typically installed in separate stations, or outdoors on riverbanks, usually in agricultural areas.

MRC confirmed that competitors should design a station appropriate for its own terrain, location, weather and functions; operable via solar power; and capable of collecting and sending telemetry data from station to server, in real time.

Winning entries will be judged according to their accuracy, durability, cost-effectiveness and innovation. This contest is open to any undergraduate or graduate student who attends one of 15 university partners, located within the four MRC Member Countries: Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

Students may compete as individuals or as a team, under the tutelage of an advisor from their school. Since each university may only enter one team, they should identify the candidates or team with the strongest potential in each category.

The applicants will be invited to Bangkok to pitch their idea to the MRC judges. Each of the designs which are successfully pitched will receive $800 to design and build a working prototype.

By the end of March next year, 2023, each competitor will present their prototype to a panel of international judges in Vientiane who will select four winning teams – one for each category.

The winners will be invited to Vientiane to present their designs – at the 4th MRC Summit and MRC Pre-Summit International Conference – to the regional heads of state and other dignitaries in attendance. They will also collect a cash prize of $5,000.

“The winners will then work with the MRC to implement their successful technology along the Mekong,” the MRC added.


  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • Ream base allegations must end, urges official

    A senior government official urges an end to the allegations and suspicions surrounding the development of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, now that Prime Minister Hun Manet has addressed the issue on the floor of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78). Jean-Francois Tain, a geopolitical

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • Manet touches down in Beijing for high-level meetings

    Prime Minister Hun Manet arrived in Beijing on September 14 for his first official visit to China, where he is slated to attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and meet other leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping. Upon his arrival, Manet laid a wreath at the Monument

  • Cambodian diaspora laud Manet’s UN Assembly visit

    Members of the Cambodian diaspora are rallying in support of Prime Minister Hun Manet’s forthcoming visit to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in the US’ New York City this week. Their move is an apparent response to a recent call by self-exiled former