Monday, 29 March 2021

The 2021 Innovation Challenge marked the first MTU wide student enterprise initiative with 60 students from both Cork and Kerry campuses taking part in the 10-week programme. The students undertook challenges posed by Pepsi, Clearstream, the Irish Naval Service, the Crann Centre and Cully and Sully.


MTU Innovation Challenge is a collaboration between several departments within MTU including Mechanical, Biomedical & Manufacturing Engineering, Computer Science, Business, Innovation and Enterprise, the Rubicon Centre and the Tom Crean Centre.  “The Innovation Challenge is a great opportunity for the students to work on real-life problems as part of a multi-disciplinary team,” said Carole O’Leary, Regional Programme Manager for 3rd Level Student Entrepreneurship at MTU.


A multi-disciplinary team of students were tasked with providing innovative solutions to challenges set by a diverse range of companies.  The student teams presented final solutions to the challenge owners after 10 weeks examining the challenge assigned to their team and working on possible solutions. The winning team identified a solution to a challenge presented by the Crann Centre who work with all age groups and their families living with a neuro physical disability.  The team worked on a system to help identify pressure ulcers in patients.  


Padraig Mallon, Chief Executive of the Crann Centre thanked MTU for providing the organisation with an opportunity to participate in MTU Innovation Challenge.  He commended the University on their interest and engagement with a relatively new organisation which was a real boost for the team.  Padraig said, “It was very valuable and enjoyable to hear staff and students’ interpretation and, inputs and solutions to our challenges. This was a great opportunity to make new connections and we look forward to continuing the relationship with the University.”


Brendan Aherne, Global HR Business Relations with Clearstream who are in the security services industry said, “As always Clearstream have been blown away by the students’ professional approach and standards.” 


A third year Biomedical Engineering student who participated in the Innovation Challenge said, “It was a great opportunity to meet and work with students and mentors from other disciplines where we showcased our own strengths and knowledge to bring an innovative and novel idea to fruition.   It was very beneficial as a student to focus on a real-world application from the Crann Centre where biomedical engineering is being applied to help people. Participating in this challenge showed a possible route to consider after graduation.”  


Students worked on challenges with PepsiCo where they created a costing tool for water treatment and looked a packaging sustainability. Students created an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for Clearstream and they tackled an engineering challenge for the Irish Naval Service.  Cully and Sully were provided with options for sustainable packaging and a new packaging design.  


In all nine solutions were presented back to the five challenge owners and the overall winning team was selected based on their understanding of the challenge posed as well as the level of innovation around the potential solution. The winning team members included Elaina Norris, Natasha Hayes, Ethan Morrissey, Nmesoma Osuachalla, Sean Fouhy, Rishabh Chandaliya and Matea Jelas who are Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, MSc. in AI and Business Information Systems students.

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