Please can you clarify what happens to the prize money - if our team should win a prize, does that go to the school or to the students' own accounts?
We leave the distribution or prize money to the school to decide. Our objective is to promote engineering and to encourage students to consider professional engineering careers. Our preference is a 50:50 split between the winning team and the school with the school spending their share on the promotion of engineering careers. In practice we have found that the most practical way is to give the money to the school and let them decide how best to use it.
Can we assume that there will be sufficient loan funding available for the project ?
You can assume that sufficient funds will be available by way of loans at an interest rate of 5% compound. In practice the funding would be a mix of equity and loans. If you have already made financial assumptions (for example re rate of interest) there is no need to change your figures and, providing your assumptions are generally realistic, you will not be penalised in marking.
Does the 'timer' of 20 years for payback start the moment we begin construction of our transport system, or once it's constructed?
The 20 years for payback starts when the construction is complete.
Can you confirm the maximum transfer time of 20 minutes between say, Gatwick and Stansted airport?
That is correct.
Is it permissible to be non -compliant against a competition criterium if such non-compliance can be shown to be beneficial to the overall solution?
Yes but it is unlikely that anything other than a minor non-compliance will be beneficial. The case for doing so must consider all relevant factors nad present the evidence to show how the overall objective is enhanced.
[Note: the questions have been edited slightly to avoid inadvertently revealing team thinking or ideas.]