Soren Vines won a Diana Award for co-founding “Moonshot”, an initiative that transforms technological ideas into social impact.
A recent graduate of a Geophysics MSci from Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial, Soren Vines is an activist in tech-for-good initiatives. Vines co-founded and led Moonshot, a social entrepreneurship awareness initiative. His work on this programme and its social impact has been recognised by the prestigious Diana Award.
The Diana Award, established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years can receive for their social action or humanitarian work.
The Award celebrates ways that young people make a difference. On winning a Diana Award in 2021, Vines said: “It’s a massive honour to be among the award recipients.”
It’s a massive honour to be among the award recipients. Soren Vines Diana Award recipient
Vines is interested in the ability of technology and business to administer and monitor positive social impact. Through Moonshot, he supports other young people to use business and technology for good. Moonshot is a collaborative platform that runs 48-hour bootcamps on social entrepreneurship, inviting mentors and speakers to support students to make positive change.
Vines said: “I didn’t want to wait until I graduated to make use of my degree, so I set up Moonshot to support young people to transform technological ideas into impact.”
The hackathon style sessions empower Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM) students to ideate solutions to social problems. Combining knowledge from their STEM degrees with business, they come up with technological ideas and use business as a vehicle to focus on making a social impact.
Vines’ personal tutor, Dr Ian Bastow, who nominated him for the award, said: “The hackathons used skills Soren had learnt on his course, such as looking at emerging technology, and combined the ideas with business models to help people in need. Soren is richly deserving of a prestigious Diana Award and it was a real pleasure to put his name and case for award forward to the judges.”
Vines directed six of the Moonshot hackathons over the past two and a half years, including the London Climate Hackathon and Hack for Humanity. Approximately 400 students from Imperial and other universities worked together at these Moonshot events, in person and online.
The Moonshot programme developed from Vines' involvement in E.quinox, an Imperial College Union society that functions as a student-led humanitarian organisation. Under the guidance of former Chair of the society Aakeen Parikh, and other Imperial students, Vines worked to build technological solutions to help those in rural Rwanda.
Vines co-founded Moonshot with Jedidiah Cheung and Vanessa Tang when he was secretary of E.quinox in hope that the society could generate new ideas for projects to help those in poverty in Rwanda through a hackathon.
Taking it further
Vines has been keen to use his skills throughout the degree – making lasting social change and inspiring others to do the same. The recognition of the Diana Award, and the support he has received through Imperial for Moonshot and E.quinox, will help him on the next stage of his career.
“I want to use the award to inspire more people – and to show that young people can absolutely make a difference.”
Now graduated, Vines has now launched consulting firm minazi consulting, to collaborate and develop technological solutions with other impactful organisations in the global south.
Vines’ work was partly inspired by Kishan Patel, a previous Diana Award winner and medicine graduate from Imperial, who went on to start a non-profit to help guide help guide gambling-harm prevention strategies.
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