Munster Technological University’s (MTU) Prize for Innovation Showcase and Awards Ceremony 2023 was held in the University’s Nexus Centre as part of the University’s Innovation and Enterprise Month which takes place annually throughout the month of March.
The popular student competition awards cash prizes to budding student entrepreneurs whose inventions and business ideas are judged to be the most creative, novel, innovative, and likely to succeed in the marketplace. The competition is sponsored by the Cork and Kerry Local Enterprise Offices who are strong supporters of student entrepreneurship at MTU.
With a prize fund of €14,500, it is no surprise that the competition was hugely competitive this year with over 350 students competing in 57 teams across MTU’s six campuses in Cork and Kerry. The students, from a wide range of disciplines including Theatre and Drama Studies, Engineering (Biomedical, Mechanical, Chemical and Pharmaceutical, Sustainable Energy), Software Development, Computer Science, Creative Digital Media, Culinary Arts, Music, Advanced Manufacturing, and Communications and Marketing, have been working on their business ideas and inventions since last September.
Carole O’Leary, Regional Programme Manager for Student Entrepreneurship at MTU, said: “We are delighted with the diverse range of real solutions to real problems for the benefit of people that were presented by our students this year.
There was a big increase in individual student participants who are looking to start or have already started, their own businesses, as well as a significant increase in the number of Social Enterprise applications. We wish all the winning students who will be going on to represent MTU at the All-Ireland Student Enterprise Awards the very best of luck and we look forward to supporting them along their entrepreneurial journeys.”
The top prize of €4,000 and the coveted title of MTU Entrepreneur of the Year was awarded to a multi-disciplinary team of third-year Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering students from MTU’s Bishopstown Campus for their device, SteadiFeed. SteadiFeed is a Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastronomy (PEG) feeding tube that incorporates a novel system which prevents the feeding tube from being expelled from the stomach due to a build-up of excess pressure, an occurrence that affects approximately 13% of people using such systems.
The device was developed by the students as part of their course module, Innovative Product Development, under the mentorship of Dr Hugh O’Donnell, a lecturer in Biomedical Engineering at MTU.
Adam French, a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student from MTU’s Bishopstown Campus, won the award for Best Business Opportunity and €1,500 for his innovative system, SCS-3D. Adam’s novel optimised system enables a more controlled 3D printing process, resulting in stronger, more accurate prints, while reducing costs and waste material production. SCS-3D is being developed by Adam as part of his final year capstone individual project under the supervision of Professor Sean F. O’Leary of MTU.
The Best Concept award and €1,500 was won by a multidisciplinary team of third-year Sustainable Energy Engineering and Chemical and Pharmaceutical Engineering students from MTU’s Bishopstown Campus for their innovative idea, Stop-a-Pot, which aims to decrease the fatality rates on pot fishing vessels (lobster etc.), a key area of concern for fishermen. The students developed the system as part of their Product Design Module under the mentorship of Dr Aisling O’Gorman and Brian Quin, lecturers in MTU’s Department of Process, Energy & Transport Engineering.