NUI Galway Students Scoop Top Prize at Enterprise Ireland ‘Think Outside the Box’ Awards 2012

Pictured are winners from NUI Galway (l-r): Justin Conboy, Dearbhaile Forde and Garrett Archbold.
Jun 08 2012 Posted: 11:42 IST

A team of students from NUI Galway has today (Friday 8 June 2012) been named ‘College Entrepreneur of the Year 2012’. The students won the prestigious top prize of €10,000 at this year’s Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards, with their project This year celebrates the 30th year of the prestigious awards, which are co-sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Mammoth Advertising, Intel and Grant Thornton. 

The winning team are First Year Engineering students at NUI Galway and  beat off stiff competition with their project  This stands for Drag Reduction Systems. The team has invented a drag reduction device which can reduce the drag between a truck and its container load so significantly that it will reduce fuel consumption of the truck by 8%. The team is represented by students Justin Conboy, Dearbhaile Forde and Garrett Archbold.

Mary Dempsey, College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway said: “The innovative drag reduction system is an example of the outstanding design capability of NUI Galway engineering students. Engineering in NUI Galway provides an excellent environment in which our students are given space to be creative and inventive. Ireland's path to recovery will benefit from people like Justin and his team and I admire his confidence to follow through with his creative passion, to patent his design and win this prestigious all Ireland competition. I am very proud of our engineering students."

The Think Outside the Box Awards are aimed at encouraging students into business as a career option and this year attracted submissions from over 360 third level students from colleges across Ireland.  With its biggest ever prize fund matching the Award’s 30 years in existence, €30,000 in cash prizes and €30,000 in consultancy fees are available for winners to help them make a serious start at making their idea a commercial reality.  

In addition to winning the top prize, the winning team will also receive €5,000 in branding consultancy from Mammoth Advertising and mentoring from Enterprise Ireland/Invest NI to develop the commercial viability of their overall concept. 

The ‘Most Technologically Innovative Idea Award’ of €5,000, co-sponsored by Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Enterprise Ireland, went to the AWAMA project from Queen’s University Belfast. Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys are also providing intellectual property consultancy and protection for all the finalists.

The Emerging and Dynamic Company of the Year Award of €5,000, co-sponsored by Grant Thornton and Enterprise Ireland, went to Zooplar from UCC. Grant Thornton will also provide business plan development advice to the finalists. Zooplar also won an all expenses paid trip to Poland from Intel, to participate in the Intel Challenge Europe Technology Entrepreneurship Competition.

Congratulating the award winners on their success, Tom Hayes, Head of Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland said: “This competition is focussed on giving students hands on experience in entrepreneurship and establishing a business to help them discover their flair and talent. Once again, we have been hugely impressed by the quality of the submissions from across the colleges. These young people show all the hallmarks of the innovative and resilient entrepreneurs and management teams that are so critical to setting up successful new businesses and creating much needed jobs. They are our successful entrepreneurs of the future. It is tremendously encouraging to see their energy and their enthusiasm, and I congratulate all of them on their achievements.” 

Bill Scott, Invest NI’s Executive Director of Regional Business, said: “Young people in Northern Ireland are great at generating new business ideas and entrepreneurial talent. Competitions like this provide a platform for them to demonstrate their highly innovative concepts and the commercial skills required to take them forward. Invest NI is pleased to play a part in promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship and is focused on supporting young people to engage in entrepreneurial activity, as we need them to grow our future economy.”

For more information on the Think Outside the Box Awards visit the website on:


Marketing and Communications Office


Featured Stories