By Kayleigh McCoy
The winners of a new competition known as the ‘Explore Innovations Award’ were announced earlier this month. The competition is based around the cultivation of inventive and progressive concepts which display a substantial ability to emerge into genuine business or social enterprises.
Both staff and students were eligible to enter the competition, and some of the resulting ideas highlighted the promising talent here on campus in NUI Galway – from aiding disabled drivers to providing revolutionary equipment for trainee surgeons, the winners of the award showed admirable potential in a range of different fields.
Those who entered the competition attended a special prize – giving ceremony which was hosted by the University’s Innovation Office, where awards were bestowed under two separate categories for students and staff alike.
Bronwyn Reid McDermott was awarded first place in the student category. A Masters student in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, McDermott’s contemporary idea ‘Sutureself’ was focused around the creation of a simulated and life – like skin, which advancing surgical trainees could utilize in their studies.
In second place in the student category were Eoghan Dunne, Eviasmar Almeida and Guilherme Vaz de Melo Trindade, PhD students in the Translational Medical Device Labs in NUI Galway. Their concept entitled ‘I Can See You Now’, was based on the use of imaging technology in order to create a medical device which could be used to improve patient diagnosis for prostate cancer.
Aidan Breen, a PhD student in the College of Engineering and Informatics, won the third place award in the student category. His proposal ‘Blue Spots Parking’, is centred on aiding disabled drivers locate appropriate parking spaces with ease and his project is set to launch later this year.
Meanwhile, Dr Orla Richardson won first place in the staff category. Richardson is from the Philosophy Discipline at NUI Galway and her concept ‘P4C’ looks to educate schools, along with community groups and organisations, through philosophical teaching in order to promote co – operation and connectivity.
Second place in the staff category was awarded to Dr Peadar Rooney of CÚRAM, Dr Diana Gaspar of REMODEL, and Joshua Chao of REMEDI for their idea ‘Three Blind Mice’ – a podcast which aims to make scientific dialogue more accessible to those without a scientific background.
Finally, Dr Ed Osagie from Insight took the third award in the staff category for his project ‘CDN’ which aspires to use crowd discounts utilising network effect models.
The competition proved to be an overwhelming success with David Murphy, Director of Innovation at NUI Galway announcing at the event that: “Over 30 applications to the competition were received and we are delighted to invest close to €10,000 in supporting these early stage ideas. The team will support the students and staff involved through the next stage of their projects.”
The competition ran as part of the EXPLORE programme, which has been operating since 2012, supporting both staff and students’ innovative ideas in a progressive manner.