Media Release

SFU’s ‘Team Inferno’ wins global competition at Oxford

June 13, 2019

Devan Parmar, Team Inferno,
Braden McMillan, University Communications, 778.782.3210,


A team of SFU undergrads—calling themselves Team Inferno—extinguished its global competition to take first place at Oxford University’s Map the System competition held on June 9. It’s the third consecutive year that an SFU team has competed and made it to the finals—and its second win.

Team Inferno focused on the impact of the B.C. wildfire crisis for this year’s competition, which challenges students on a global scale to “explore, probe and research” a social or environmental issue and all its connections. Using a ‘systems mapping’ approach, they explored the economic, environmental and socio-cultural impacts of the province’s wildfire experience. The team benefited from coaching and support from SFU faculty and staff along the way.

Pegah Djamzad, SFU’s changemaker campus manager, encourages students to engage with matters that are both deeply personal and have an effect on local and global communities.

“By taking a learning-first approach to social change, students gain a unique perspective on the complexities of social and environmental challenges they are keen on addressing,” says Djamzad.

Team Inferno comprises SFU undergrads Devan Parmar and Michael Simoes, both Beedie School of Business students, from Burnaby, Joanne Nellas, a political science student and UBC alumnus Vanessa Sun, both from Vancouver. 

Rising to the top of SFU’s 14 competitor teams, Team Inferno went on to the national round at Ryerson University, earning one of three tickets to the global finals at the University of Oxford where they went on to take first place. The win nets the team a prize of more than $6,000 CAD.

“It’s been an amazing experience and I am so lucky to have such a fantastic group,” says Michael Simoes, member of Team Inferno.

“We were one of 700 Canadian teams at the national finals and to go on to represent SFU at Oxford in front of 20 other universities—and win—was amazing. We’ve seen our hard work finally paid off.”

The SFU team’s participation in Map the System is made possible with support from the McConnell Foundation. In 2017 SFU’s team won first prize with its presentation of research related to solutions for medical waste.

Team Inferno’s members are now vacationing in Europe but Simoes returns home on Friday (June 14), and the others will follow June 20.

About Simon Fraser University:

As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 155,000 alumni in 143 countries around the world. 

Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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