Wednesday, 10 April 2024

University of Galway and the Liffey Trust are delighted to announce first year Business Information Systems student Elizabeth Busari as the recipient of the Séamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship for 2024. Established in 2022 and funded through the philanthropic support of the Liffey Trust, the Séamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship supports students who are committed to developing their innovative and entrepreneurial potential through their university journey.  The scholarship is supported by IdeasLab the University of Galway Entrepreneurial Education and Training unit. The technology that Elizabeth's is working on is called 'UNdump': an innovative app designed to revolutionize the way we deal with unwanted items by teaching users a multitude of ways to upcycle. With a clear goal to make the world cleaner with every 'UNdump', Elizabeth envisions a future where, instead of disposing of items, people will turn to UNdump for sustainable alternatives. Her project resonates deeply with the Universities value of sustainability, and it recently being recognised as a national SDG Champion.   "Elizabeth's UNdump project exemplifies the kind of visionary thinking and practical action we encourage in our students. Her work not only aligns with our values but also paves the way for a cleaner, more sustainable future. We are proud to support Elizabeth and all our students who are committed to making a significant positive impact on the world." - Dr. Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development, University of Galway. Aidan Corless, Chairman of The Liffey Trust, praised Elizabeth for her innovative approach and the potential of UNdump to contribute positively to the environment and society. "Elizabeth's business idea is wonderful on so many levels.  It starts by getting us to rethink about dumping things, asking us if there is life left in it, can someone else benefit from it, can it be reworked, will someone pay money for it. We are all conscious of reduce, reuse and recycle so clearly this Undump app helps us do this.  It was great to listen to Elizabeth and understand her passion to solve a problem, and create something different. She ticks all the boxes as a future entrepreneur. I was delighted to witness the huge work that the University of Galway put into training and encouraging students to become Entrepreneurs. It really is commendable and congratulations to Dr Natalie Walsh and everyone involved in Ideaslab. The Liffey Trust is proud to be part of this important project and delighted that Elizabeth is our third scholar after Chloe Gardiner 2023 and Alan Donnelly 2022.." The Liffey Trust, established over 30 years ago, continues to support entrepreneurs in starting and growing new businesses. The University of Galway scholarship, named after Liffey Trust founder Séamus McDermott, honours his significant contributions to entrepreneurship in Ireland.  The next call for applicants will begin in October 2024 and will be open to all 1st year students who have undertaken entrepreneurial and innovation activities prior to starting in the University of Galway in September 2024. The Scholarship is valued at up to €9,000 for the duration of their studies   For more information on the scholarship, interested parties are encouraged to contact

Thursday, 4 April 2024

IdeasLab hosted the first-ever President’s Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship last week. Over 100 students received their awards for successful completion of IdeasLab programmes, from University President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh. Former IdeasLab intern and student entrepreneur in residence, Aaron Hannon, founder of Luminate Medical, returned to speak of his entrepreneurship journey and representatives of enterprise partners Aerogen, Boston Scientific, Diligent, Liberty IT, Medtronic, SAP and members of the Portershed community and Teenturn were also in attendance. These programmes are made possible by funding from the HEA, HCIPillar3, HEA Entrepreneurial Education Grant and EIT Health.

Monday, 11 March 2024

On Friday, 8 March 2024, the University of Galway's IdeasLab celebrated International Women's Day with a special event in the heart of Galway City in the Druid Theatre. The event, themed "Belonging," brought together a diverse lineup of speakers and panellists to highlight the unique experiences and journeys of women in Ireland, as well as to promote inclusivity and equality. Keynote speaker Emer O’Neill, a well-known presenter and advocate, led an engaging discussion with a panel of female students from IdeasLab's CreateHER programme. The panel delved into the multifaceted experiences of women in Ireland, inspiring thought-provoking conversations and reflections. The event also featured the comedic stylings of Áine Gallagher, bringing laughter and light-heartedness to the occasion. Dr. Helen Maher, Vice President for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Galway shared her insights and perspectives on fostering inclusivity and equality in higher education and the important role we have in society for society. The event marked the final celebration of the CreateHER programme, a pioneering initiative that empowers and supports female undergraduate students to explore and consider innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership in their personal and professional lives. The programme achieves this through round table workshops, mentorship, and networking opportunities, which has since its launch early in 2022, created a vibrant community of empowered and skilled future female leaders and innovators. The participants involved in the CreateHER programme also have the unique opportunity to shadow and learn from influential female leaders in various industries, underscoring the programme's commitment to providing practical guidance and real-world experience from all sectors across our city and region. The message is that by empowering and supporting each other as women from diverse backgrounds and experiences, these young women will build a network of support that will grow with them as they progress in life.  A belief that reaffirms the University of Galway's commitment to nurturing a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment for all. Jenny Mullery, Head of Engagement for IdeasLab said, “This is our 3rd iteration of CreateHer. Taking the feedback from the participants and contributors, the programme is growing and going from strength to strength. Providing undergraduates with the opportunity to connect with themselves, industry and the community is vital to give them the confidence to be the innovators and leaders in their chosen fields.  Speaking of the event theme and the CreateHER programme, Emer O’Neill said, "Ní neart go cur le chéile, with unity comes strength and more than ever before we need to remind each other to be kind and share love and positivity". CreateHER is funded by the Higher Education Authority  Photo by Andrew Downes, Xposure.

Friday, 1 March 2024

Over 4 weeks in February, 10 students took part in the first ‘Design Your Future’ Programme, run by Student Success Coaches at University of Galway. The programme, based on Stanford University’s Design Your Life programme, offers life design processes, mind-sets and tools helping students navigate their life, both in university and beyond. Working collaboratively, participants learn about their natural strengths, how to balance and map their energy, Odyssey Planning – imagining three different future lives as well as tools for goal setting. As part of the programme, students engage in 1:1 coaching and on completion, earn a digital badge, recognising the skills gained. This first Design Your Future programme brought together undergraduate and post graduate students from different fields of study from the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, the College of Science and Engineering and the College of Business, Public Policy and Law. One programme participant said, "I enjoyed the introspective activities and exercises in the programme. Having charts and tools to clearly write out what is in my head was helpful. The group interactions helped me see things from another perspective and got me out of my head". Find out more about Student Success Coaching and the Design Your Future programme here .

Wednesday, 15 November 2023

The Designing Futures Showcase event 'Designing the Future Student University Experience' at the University of Galway, took place on Wednesday 18 October 2023. The Showcase brought together leaders from higher education, policy and government, enterprise and industry. The day was filled with engaging and thought-provoking interactive workshops, insightful panel discussions, and hands-on experiences of the innovative initiatives that the University of Galway has been developing with the support of Human Capital Initiative funding. We are committed to making higher education an even more transformative and impactful experience, and your presence reaffirms our belief in the importance of collaboration and shared expertise in achieving this goal.  View a video summary of the day here

Wednesday, 29 March 2023

University of Galway IdeasLab is excited to announce their Start100 2023 student teams. Start100 is University of Galway's student incubator, run by IdeasLab.  Throughout the programme 11 Start100 teams will have the chance to hone their business model and connect into a vibrant start up ecosystem. Start100 will link students with a fantastic bank of University of Galway alumni, mentors, and speakers to inspire, advise and support the next generation of entrepreneurs.  This programme also connects students into a thriving community of innovators and entrepreneurs across Ireland.  This year IdeasLab have an exciting and varied group of student entrepreneurs, with ideas they cannot wait to explore and develop - from an app designed to improve your rowing capabilities to beauty and skincare products - it will be a innovative and fun journey for all student teams.  Meet the 11 Start100 student teams and find out more about their ideas and how they came to be part of the Start100 programme on IdeasLab LinkedIn.   Find out more about the Start100 student incubator. 

Friday, 10 March 2023

IdeasLab are proud to announce the winners of our Semester 2 Enterprise Challenge 2023 as team All Stars, who worked closely with our enterprise partners Signify Health, the Charlotte’s Webex team who worked with Cisco and team Coloconnect, who were mentored by our enterprise partners Boston Scientific.   The enterprise challenge brings together multidisciplinary student teams to solve challenges assigned by our enterprise partners. Over the course of 8 weeks students work through a design sprint incorporating team development, empathy, problem definition, ideation, prototyping, testing and storytelling to develop a solution direction for the enterprise partner. Running alongside their weekly workshops are mentoring sessions which develop students understanding of the problem and the solution fit for the industry and enterprise facing the challenge.  This semester our Enterprise Challenge students worked in 9 groups with a total of 64 participants in 12 workshops sessions and with 65 mentoring sessions by our dedicated enterprise partners Signify Health, Boston Scientific and Cisco.  For the final presentations on the 10th March our student teams were joined by a panel of industry experts from Cisco, Boston Scientific, Signify Health, along with University of Galway's Director of Entrepreneurial Development, Natalie Walsh to decide the winning teams.  If you would like to find out more about IdeasLab programmes please visit Our Programmes page. 

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Our Designing Futures Vertically Integrated Projects (VIPs) module started this semester with 10 students from Arts and Science participating. VIPs are transdisciplinary research projects addressing important societal challenges that provide students with hands-on research experience. Students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds work together with their VIP Principal Investigators to progress the VIP project and are supported to become effective research team members in weekly interactive VIP classroom sessions. This semester, students joined the Bench to Bedside Project led by Dr Sinéad King and the Worlds of Sounds Project led by Dr Eoin King and Dr Denis O’Hora. The Bench to Bedside project is focused on translating neuroscience research for patient benefit and the VIP team worked on enhancing patient and public involvement in the project. The Worlds of Sounds project is focused on the physics and psychology of sound and students this semester worked on sound mapping exercises on three walkways in Galway city centre. We have 11 additional VIP projects available for students joining VIP modules in the next academic year: ‘Sustainability Advancement in SMEs’, ‘Democratizing Knowledge through Comedy’, ‘Figuring out Y (a community maths engagement project)’, ‘Theatronomics: the business of Theatre, 1732-1809’, ‘Theia Eye Care’, ‘Songs of Travel’ (focused on using music to highlight migration and climate change issues), ‘Critical Element Supply Management’, ‘Data and Artificial Intelligence for the Knowledge Society’, ‘Futures of Law: Robots or Humans’, ‘Cardiovascular Health for All’, and ‘Understanding Minds’. Dr Sinéad King presented on the benefits she experienced of being a VIP Principal Investigator this semester at our Designing Futures all staff information event on the 6th of March. Sinéad said that the work the VIP students have conducted this semester has been key to meeting the patient and public involvement deliverables on her project and enhancing engagement from members of the public. Students have supported the refinement of the project website, developed the project’s social media presence and developed poster and other supporting materials for events at this year’s Brain Awareness Week at the University of Galway.   VIP students have shared their motivations for joining the VIP modules and their experiences to date. Noel Fahy, 2nd year BSc student shares that the module has given him a key insight into how academic research works: 'As a student of the first ever VIP programme in University of Galway I can firmly say that this module has exceptional potential. It combines learning with practicality. It does this by teaching the processes behind a research project, and then as a student you get to implement those processes in the same semester. At this module’s core, students become part of a transdisciplinary team headed by one of the university’s Principal Investigators. Anyone who has any interest in academic research should take an opportunity like this with both hands. I have learned more about the world of academic research from this one singular module than every-other module I’ve taken combined.' Temitayo Adededi, a final year BA Joint Honours student appreciated the key skills she developed on the module to date and how this has supported her preparations for her future career in psychology. She also developed a strong understanding of the importance of involving members of the public and research and methods of engaging people in research: 'Participating in the VIPs as a psychology student has been immensely beneficial to me. Not only has it given me the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in seeing the conduction of research in action, but it has also allowed me to develop important skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication. Through working on a research project, I have learned how to formulate research questions, design outreach methods, and interpret findings. Furthermore, being involved in research has given me a deeper understanding of the scientific process and has helped me to appreciate the complexity and nuance involved in conducting research. It has also shown me the great importance of involving the public and spreading information about research in as many ways possible. Overall, participating in the VIPs has not only enriched my academic experience but has also prepared me for future career opportunities in the field of psychology.' Dylan Parslow, BA Joint Honours student, joined the VIP programme to develop his research experience and work with a transdisciplinary research team. Dylan enjoyed working with people from different disciplinary backgrounds. Dylan joined a project closely aligned with his research interests in psychology and in particular neuropsychology which provided him with important insights into his future career interests: 'I was interested in participating in a Vertically Integrated Project, hoping to get transdisciplinary experience as part of a group in a large-scale professional project. I got everything I had hoped for and more with the neuroscience-based 'Bench to Bedside'. This project allowed me to experience elements and insights relevant to the master's and potential future careers I hope to pursue. I had the opportunity to work with and see the many advantages of working with individuals of different disciplines and backgrounds, as you would experience in industry settings. Every week I found the VIP classes aided us and were relevant to our group work within our project, taking the experience overall further and transcending expectations. I enjoyed my time within my project so much that after seeing the other group's presentation on their project, 'Worlds of Sound', it made me wish I could do all the other projects! I hope to return to a Vertically Integrated Project next year, and if any of the projects piqued your interest, we might be working together too.' Erin Timlin, a final year BA Joint Honours student told us that the VIP project experience was very valuable to her as she did not have a dissertation/thesis component to her degree. The module allowed her to develop her skills and experience and explore her career interests. Erin valued how the weekly lectures were adapted to student needs and VIP project objectives: 'I study Psychological Studies and Sociological and Political Studies. I am a part of the ‘Bench to Bed’ side project.  Having the opportunity to be a part of the Vertically Integrated Project was an extremely valuable experience.  This module provided me with the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the research process. My degree can feel very broad at times, I did not have the option to do a thesis or dissertation and thus felt as though I lacked the practical learning element aspect of research. However, this module has enabled me to work alongside academics in the field of neuroscience, an area I thought I may be interested in for a future career. The research is aided by classes, where students shape the learning material. If a student feels as though they need to improve skills or acquire knowledge that will assist them in their research the VIP staff will support you. I developed and improved many personal skills such as teamwork, project management, public speaking, methods of appraising evidence and critically evaluating papers and prior research. All these skills I believe will serve me in my future career. Aside from the academic advantages of a module like VIP, the overall experience was very rewarding, you get the opportunity to interact with a variety of people, at different stages of their academia and across multiple disciples.' If you are a staff member or a student with any questions about the VIP modules, contact Dr Oonagh Meade, Lecturer in Transdisciplinary Research at Image: VIP students at their mid-semester research presentations L-R – Dr Sinéad King, Dr Oonagh Meade, Dylan Parslow, Ryan Carroll, Noel Fahy, Caoimhe Totterdell, Temitayo Adedeji, Erin Timlin, Linzi Hardiman, Joseph Kennedy, Ema Paradinovic

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

University of Galway CreateHER is an inspiring programme that supports female undergraduate students to become innovators and leaders in their professional and person lives through training, mentorship and networking. Our mission is accomplished through connecting our CreatHER’s to trusted mentors, entrepreneurs and innovators, resources and training in a safe and supportive environment. Our inaugural CreateHER programme launched in January 2023 and for every place available we had 5 applicants. Our selected 13 participants took part in our 6 week programme which included weekly roundtables on topics including personal brand and voice, goal setting, imposter syndrome, entrepreneurship and design thinking. Our programme is supported by an incredible advisory board which includes Dr Natalie Walsh and Jenny Mullery from IdeasLab as well as: · Anna Hosty and Carol Joyce (Co-owners of Yourells Hair Group and the Hair Vitamin Company) · Professor Ellen Roche, Associate Professor, MIT · Dr Helen McBreen, Atlantic Bridge · Dr Vanessa Creaven, Spotlight Oral Care · Karen Gilhooly, University of Galway Student · Lisa Regan, LRPR · Elaine Mannion, Abbey Theatre · Professor Patrick Lonergan, University of Galway A hallmark of the programme is how we support our CreateHERs to build their future networks and always create and actively seek out opportunities. In March 2023 we held an offsite day in Dublin with our CreateHER’s and were hosted by Dr Helen Breen and Dr Eimear Gleeson for a roundtable at Atlantic Bridge, this was followed by a voice and presence workshop hosted at the Abbey Theatre by Elaine Mannion and Andrea Ainsworth, and we closed our day with a roundtable discuss on all things female entrepreneurship which was hosted by Paula Fitzsimons (National Director- Going for Growth, Acorns, Inspiring Women, Back For Business and National Co-ordinator for Global Entrepreneurship Monitor- Ireland). Our CreateHER’s graduated on International Women's Day with a showcase event hosted in the Druid Theatre by Lisa Regan with a Keynote by former Artistic Director of Macnas, Noeline Kavanagh and a panel discussion with Dr Natalie Walsh, Dr Vanessa Creaven and Mary Ryan (WestBIC). We will launch our 2023/2024 call for applications early in September 2023. CreateHER is funded by the Higher Education Authority and the European Institute for Technology. Find out more about CreateHER on IdeasLab website

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

As part of the Designing Futures informational lunchtime series on Tuesday, March 7, guests were invited to hear about the student experience with our Transdisciplinary Module approach. This was a great opportunity to learn more and gain some insight into what elements of the modules are having an impact and to garner some informal feedback. We were lucky to have a student, Ryan Bradley, who was willing to offer some insights. Ryan partook in a few of our modules; Introduction to Sustainability, Megatrends and the Global Engagement Module also. After introductions from Professor Jonathan Levie, Dr David Doolin then briefly outlined the general approach we are taking with the transdisciplinary modules, which aim to develop new knowledge by combining insights across and beyond the disciplines. Furthermore, our modules aim to highlight multiple transversal skills, attributes and dispositions. To achieve that, several modules have elements that encourage a practical application of student learning, with a challenge-based learning approach and/or project based assessments. In addition, the modules keep track of individual progress through continuous assessment elements, for example with discussion board forums, reflection papers, journals and student presentations. What we're hoping the students will take away, is that they become active agents in their learning through these modules and they will think about the application of their disciplinary knowledge, as well as recognizing the practical skills being highlighted, through project work or project-based assessments. Students are encouraged to engage with collaborative approaches to problems and challenges and are introduced to teamwork also. So, with Ryan’s insights and contribution we got to “hear it from the horse’s mouth” as the saying goes, and one student’s take away, which bodes well for our modules’ successes to date. Ryan is an Irish Army officer and as he explained himself, he has been lucky enough to be able to return to University to complete an undergraduate degree. He is currently a final year student of a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and geography. His motivation for engaging with Designing Futures’ Transdisciplinary Modules, he explained, was informed by a desire to learn more about the global picture given that his future work will require a deep knowledge of international affairs, working in such close proximity with the United Nations, the myriad of different peacekeeping missions as well as the various councils across the UN, that he will encounter. To quote Ryan directly, “I think for my sort of future career when I had the opportunity to come back and see these modules being offered to me at the start of the year, I felt I could get a lot out of them.” Apart from highlighting some of the insights about the content students’ were asked to examine in all three modules, Ryan said that “[…] the main areas of the three modules that I enjoyed the most would have been getting to work with students from different academic backgrounds and listening to their points of view on the range of topics that we covered. For example, in the mega trends module, we had a conference at the end of the year. This conference involved many weeks of research into a topic that we were able to choose ourselves. And it meant that we could decide what we wanted to learn and then like-minded individuals could get together, put our heads together and come up with a presentation on our chosen topic.” Ryan also referred to the transversal, hands on skills that were also embedded into modules, such as video editing, video production, and public speaking in front of large groups at the end of year conference. The use of things like discussion board forums were also highlighted as tools that allowed for further engagement with class peers and peer learning was an important takeaway from the modules for Ryan. Ryan mentioned the positive experiences of learning from different speakers that came into the modules, and that having speakers outside of his discipline meant he definitely learned a lot from this approach. In his own words, “The weekly guest speakers was a refreshing change to what I was used to before and allowed me to gain first-hand insight into many social issues and perspectives I would otherwise not have had a chance to learn about. […].” To dig a little deeper some of our listeners raised some follow up questions, that allowed for further insights and considerations. Ryan revealed that his participation in, and what he learned from our modules, helped direct him towards his choice of topic for his final year dissertation.  A further question that came up was, “did you feel you had an opportunity to connect with your fellow students more and work more in a in a team or collaborative way versus some of the other modules that you've taken in your programme?” The answer was an emphatic “Most definitely. I think all three of the modules would have been very project driven. So having that sort of chance to cross pollinate with different people from different academic backgrounds, was definitely invaluable to me. I remember even outside our own group, we were conversing with other groups, for example, just to be able to sort of get more information or more sort of knowledge […]. […] it even transcended your own group and that you were working with so many others as well.” A further question that Ryan was asked to respond to, was what advice he might give with regards to the added value of this transdisciplinary approach? He cogently replied that “[…] it's clear to see that a lot of work goes into getting different guest speakers in every week to speak to students. But I think that the thing that you need to take from that is that you're going into the class knowing that it's going to be something completely different from week to week. And that, as a concept, it definitely encourages you […] it is really refreshing and I think especially for younger students as well, I think to be able to go into something and learn something completely new from week to week, that is invaluable. […]. I think it increases the anticipation, but definitely increases engagement as well because every concept is new and for a lot of the concepts it's your first time, getting to experience them.” Ryan concluded his insights for our listeners and for the team at Designing Futures by saying: ”In summary, I just like to say I'm very happy to have had the chance to be involved in these three transdisciplinary modules. […]. I look forward to bringing in what I've learned, into my career and I would highly recommend them to anyone who has an interest in the future […].” We very much appreciated the time Ryan voluntarily offered to participate in the lunchtime series, speaking in front of academics and senior administrators from the University, which can be sometimes unnerving for all of us, never mind from the student position. So huge credit and a huge thanks to Ryan Bradley for such an insightful talk. To come to a final conclusion then, as the Akari deadline fast approaches, the other main update from Designing Futures in our Transdisciplinary Module space is the roll out of some new module offerings, alongside those modules that have already proven successful and increasingly popular. While this is not the space to go into all of the modules in any great detail, as always, the Designing Futures team is only too happy to speak in more detail with anyone who wants to reach out and garner more information. For now, we are excited about the prospect of launching SIX new modules in the coming academic year, 2023-24. Those titles include: “Fail better: taking risks and developing resilience through circus;” “Revolutionary technologies: from steam to green;” “Empathy into action;” “Cultural heritage and public history;” “Career Development and employability skills;” and “‘Sastacht Saoil’ exploring well-being.” We are also continuing with the 8 modules that are moving into at least a second iteration and more. The first five modules are relatively well established and proving popular with students year on year: “Introduction to sustainability;” “Megatrends;” “Design your life;” “Design thinking;” and “Communicating through storytelling.” We are also continuing three modules, each going through their second iteration, with a slight rebranding in their titles: “Scalable, big ideas (formerly Scalable Technology-based Innovation);” “Navigating the digital world, (formerly ‘Digital Citizenship’); and “Intercultural Encounters” (a rename of the Global Engagement module). Please visit our website for more information about Designing Futures and our current Transdisciplinary modules and please reach out to us to learn more about the new offerings that (all going to plan) will be delivered for 20023-24.

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

Designing Futures launched a lunchtime series for all university staff over March 2023.  University staff were invited to attend the lunchtime series to learn more about Student Success Coaching, Transdisciplinary Modules, Vertically Integrated Projects and IdeasLab. In particular these sessions focused on the student perspective of each of our programmes as well as how we work with and co-design programmes with our enterprise partners. On the 6th of March our Student Success Coaches introduced coaching and explained it's many benefits for students. Student Success Coach Student Ambassadors, Chloe and Meret, spoke about their experience of the 'Design Your Life' module and why they engaged with Student Success Coaching.  Transdisciplinary Research lecturer Dr Oonagh Meade then spoke about the many benefits students receive from being involved in the VIP programme and Dr Sinéad King presented on the benefits she experienced as a VIP Principal Investigator this semester. Watch the VIP and Student Success Coaching session HERE At the 7th of March the series focussed on the Student Perspective of Transdisciplinary Modules. Dr David Doolin, lecturer in Transdisciplinary Learning spoke about the new Transdisciplinary Modules that will begin in September 2023 and the benefits to students in partaking. Ryan Bradley, a student who partook in transdisciplinary modules; Introduction to Sustainability, Megatrends and the Global Engagement Module then shared his insights on the programme.  Watch the Transdisciplinary Modules session HERE IdeasLab will host their session, 'Anatomy of an Enterprise Challenge' in IdeasLab on the 23rd March 1-2pm. This will be an in person event that will give university staff the opportunity to see how we co-design, co-deliver and evaluate innovation programmes with enterprise partners.  Register to attend IdeasLab 'Anatomy of an Enterprise Challenge' now

Thursday, 23 February 2023

University of Galway has presented first year Bachelor of Commerce student Chloe Gardiner with the Séamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship for 2023. Established in 2022 and funded through philanthropic support of the Liffey Trust, the Séamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship supports students in the University’s student innovation and entrepreneurship hub, IdeasLab. It also helps to promote the concepts of job creation, entrepreneurial development and education for life for undergraduate students commencing their studies.  Originally from Edenderry, Co. Offaly and now living in Galway City, Chloe founded The Wonky Woolins at the age of 15 after she found a collection of wonky knitted creatures in her granny's attic which had been passed through her family for generations. Inspired by the knitted creatures, Chloe began to create her own Wonky Woolins for others with the hopes that they too could be cherished for a lifetime.  During lockdown she created social media accounts and a website where she began to sell her products. In 2020 Chloe recognised another gap in the market and founded Baa Baa Bandits which sells yarns for arm knitting, a technique using your arms instead of knitting needles to make stitches. The Wonky Woolins is now a multi-award-winning business that provides early-stage children's toys and baby gifts that are all ethically handmade by marginalized and jobless women in Morocco. Chloe said: “It is such a huge honour to be selected as the 2023 recipient of the Seamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship, it means so much to have my entrepreneurial efforts recognised by the trust. I have been very fortunate to have been supported by so many incredible entrepreneurs and mentors who have guided me on my journey with Wonky Woolins and I look forward to further developing my knowledge at the University of Galway and networking with other recipients of this scholarship across Ireland.” Chairman of The Liffey Trust, Aidan Corless said: “We are delighted to welcome Chloe Gardiner as our second University of Galway Scholar. Having met Chloe in person I have to say she is every bit as impressive as her business Wonky Woolins. It is not surprising that she tells us that she has a very busy life managing her studies alongside her companies.  “Hard work is one of the most important traits of an entrepreneur and Chloe is only getting started. As one of the Liffey Trust Scholars Chloe will be able to network with our scholars from Trinity College, UCD, DCU and soon to be UCC. I would like to thank Dr Natalie Walsh and Professor Jonathan Levie and the team for encouraging the students to take part in the ideaslab where future businesses can start.” The Liffey Trust was established more than 30 years ago and has been supporting entrepreneurs to establish and grow new businesses since then. The University of Galway scholarship is named in honour of the founder of the Liffey Trust, Galway native Séamus McDermott, in recognition of his contribution to entrepreneurship in Ireland.    First year undergraduate students at University of Galway can apply for a scholarship valued at up to €9,000 for the duration of their studies at the University. The next call for applicants will commence in October 2023.  For further information on the scholarship contact Image details From left, Dr Yixin Qiu,- University of Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics; Nicola Rees, Director of Development, Community & Alumni Relations, Galway University Foundation; Aidan Corless, Chairperson Liffey Trust; Professor Jonathan Levie, JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics, University of Galway; scholarship recipient Chloe Gardiner-; Dr Seamus McDermott, Founder Liffey Trust; Dr Natalie Walsh, IdeasLab; Deirdre Finn, Trustee, Liffey Trust; and Fiona Kennedy Development Office, University of Galway.

Monday, 30 January 2023

University of Galway’s student innovation hub, IdeasLab, has officially launched their Empathy Lab, a physical and virtual learning environment in the heart of campus.    The University of Galway Empathy Lab is the first of its kind in Europe and combines the science of human behaviour with the art of human centred design with Boston Scientific the inaugural enterprise partner. It has been developed as part of the University’s Designing Futures project, which is funded under the Government’s Human Capital Initiative. The University of Galway Empathy Lab will enable University of Galway students who want to come up with solutions to specific problems to understand the feelings and experiences of those affected. Students will use new technologies including simulation suits; infant simulators; haptic gloves; scent masks. Speaking about the Empathy Lab launch Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of University of Galway, said: “Respect is a core value of the University and the pathway to respect is paved with empathy and knowledge. Through the University of Galway Empathy Lab, we will work with our partners to further embed empathy as a core attribute that students can develop and practice - supporting and shaping our innovations, placing the lived experience and our society at the heart of what we create with and for others.” Empathy is the common denominator at the heart of all great collaboration, invention and innovation - it is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference. The University of Galway Empathy Lab will offer consideration of the deeper layers of the human experience, using technology and human simulation to capture the essence of our real, messy, human selves. It will focus on the how of empathy and developing empathic individuals and teams. Scholars describe empathy as a muscle; as such, it should be capable of growth and regeneration. Following this logic, the lab will use a variety of empathy training approaches to train and further develop students’ appreciation of empathy. Martin Hynes and Richard Crawford of Boston Scientific are the inaugural enterprise partners who will work alongside students in 2023. Students and their mentors will experience multiple scenarios and simulations to create better ways to innovate with customers and patients in the area of endoscopy procedures.  Dr Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development and co-lead of the Public Patient Involvement Ignite network in University of Galway, said: “The University of Galway Empathy Lab will take a multidimensional approach to experiences so that we better understand what people are feeling and how innovation can develop to respond to the needs and wants of our society. We will bring technology and people together to give our students unique insights and experiences that can shape future innovations and respond to our society’s most pressing needs.” University of Galway will also launch a new Empathy in Action module which brings together expertise from across the campus and reflects the many voices and perspectives of empathy and create action oriented and empathetic future leaders and innovators. Empathy Lab and the new immersive learning environment is being supported through a funding award through the Bodyswaps & Meta's Immersive Soft Skills Education Grant. University of Galway’s IdeasLab was one of 100 educational institutions worldwide to be supported and will receive two Meta Quest 2 headsets and three months free access to Bodyswaps VR learning programs.  Dr Walsh added: “This will have a significant impact on soft skills for both students and staff. Building soft skills amongst students will allow higher education institutions around the world to level the playing field and boost opportunities for their students in the competitive global market.” According data from Bodyswaps, after using this kind of technology as part of their learning experience, 87% of learners report a significant improvement in their self-awareness and knowledge of how to improve their skills and 85% of learners report a significant improvement in their confidence to apply the simulated soft skills in real situations. ​Image (L-R): Neil Ferguson (IdeasLab), Grace Mannion (Designing Futures), Professor Pat Dolan (UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement), Bernadine Brady, Lecturer at the School of Political Science & Sociology, University of Galway and a Senior Researcher with the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, Fr Ben Hughes, Head Chaplain and Seas Suas Lead, Richard Crawford- Principal Process Development Engineer, Boston Scientific, Jenny Mullery (IdeasLab),  Martin Hynes- Director of Process Development Boston Scientific, Natalie Walsh (IdeasLab). 

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

IdeasLab, University of Galway's student innovation hub has launched CreateHER, a new creativity and innovation programme for female students in the university. CreateHER has been developed to respond to the needs of our female students, which account for 60% of our 19,000 students. Our research at institutional level and interntaional reports clearly show the need for more supports for female students in the entrepreneurial space.  The programme has been designed to respond directly to a clear need to support more female students to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career option. The European Start Up Monitor reports that only 14.8% of founders are female, a statistic that is further supported by the GEM 2019 report which shows the lowest level of female involvement at the early stage of entrepreneurial activity at 6%.   CreateHER will expand our community of female innovators and entrepreneurs with a particular focus on grass roots level and will start to develop these skills and mindsets during our female students time in University.  The programme is supported by a powerhouse advisory board that spans the worlds of creativity, innovation, academia and entrepreneurship. We believe that our students will learn best from each other, our advisory, our community of female entrepreneurs and our supporters. The CreateHER programme will utilise a round table approach with each team hosted by a female entrepreneur, the programme will also include weekly workshops, mentoring and many opportunities to network and build their networks now and for their future. 'From the moment we recognised a gap in female participation in entrepreneurship we knew we wanted to create a programme unlike any other offered to third level students. We have taken inspiration from our advisory group, national leaders in the entrepreneurship space including Paula Fitzsimons of Going for Growth and Acorns and consulted extensively with our female students to create a programme that can help to redefine the future of female entrepreneurship in our region. Today is an incredibility proud and important day for us at IdeasLab and we look forward to celebrating many successes from the CreateHER programme'. Dr Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development. Joining the University to deliver CreateHER is WestBIC - Business and Innovation Centre. WestBIC provides tailored, high level supports to entrepreneurs to convert their innovative ideas into a commercial reality. They will support CreateHER with mentorship and host events and workshops during the programme 'Female entrepreneurship is key focus for WestBIC and it’s really encouraging to see female entrepreneurs leading the way in a number of highly innovative start-ups, many of which have their origins in the third level sector. WestBIC is delighted to support the University of Galway in delivering the CreateHER programme and we look forward to working closely with the IdeasLab team.' John Brennan, CEO WestBIC CreateHER is funded by the Higher Education Authority and the European Institute of Technology (EIT). Find out more about CreateHER on IdeasLab Programmes webpage.  Pictured: University of Galway students, Jenny Mullery IdeasLab, University of Galway President Ciarán Ó hOgartaigh, Natalie Walsh IdeasLab. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

The Designing Futures programme has launched it's first newsletter. The newsletter will focus on project developments and keeping readers up to date on the activities within each of our transformative work packages.  This month's newsletter focusses on our international advisory board, the development of our trailblazing transdisciplinary modules, the launch of our unique Vertically Integrated Projects programme, the work of our dedicated Student Success Coaches and the benefits to our students in becoming IdeasLab interns.  Make sure you are on our mailing list to keep up to date on all aspects of Designing Futures.  Sign up to our newsletter HERE.  View the Designing Futures November 2022 newsletter HERE.

Monday, 7 November 2022

IdeasLab are proud to announce the winners of our Semester 1 Enterprise Challenge 2022 as team Aero, who worked closely with our enterprise partners Aerogen and team Synergy, who were mentored by our enterprise partners Medtronic.   The enterprise challenge brings together multidisciplinary student teams to solve challenges assigned by our enterprise partners. Over the course of 8 weeks students work through a design sprint incorporating team development, empathy, problem definition, ideation, prototyping, testing and storytelling to develop a solution direction for the enterprise partner. Running alongside their weekly workshops are 5 mentoring sessions which develop students understanding of the problem and the solution fit for the industry and enterprise facing the challenge.  Eight student groups worked extremely hard to develop their ideas over the course of the 8 week programme, working closely with mentors and advisers in Medtronic and Aerogen to hone their ideas.  For the final presentations on the 4th November our student teams were joined by a panel of industry experts from Aerogen and Medtronic, along with University of Galway's Director of Entrepreneurial Development, Natalie Walsh to decide the winning teams.  If you would like to find out more about IdeasLab programmes please visit Our Programmes page. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2022

IdeasLab is proud to announce the 'Golden Goodies' team as the EIT Health i-Days Galway winners for 2022. The winning team will go on to represent team Galway in Vienna during the final i-Days event on 24-25 November. i-Days promote health innovation among university students through dozens of one-day and two-day programmes held in academic institutions around Europe. Students from all academic areas receive an introduction to practical health innovation tools and compete in teams to tackle real-life health challenges posed by EIT Health, local organisations, private corporations or start-ups. The winning team of each i-Day will attend the Winners’ Event, a final competition that unites students from around Europe. IdeasLab ran University of Galway's 2022 i-Days event with 17 shortlisted students, who worked on innovative solutions over three design thinking sessions to address the challenge of loneliness - demonstrating teamwork, innovation and business creation. All students who participated in the programme received expert support, the chance to address real-life challanges in the European health sector and the opportunity to broaden their horizons while gaining new skills.  Find out more about EIT Health i-Days. Find out more about the EU projects IdeasLab work on. 

Sunday, 11 September 2022

For the first time, University of Galway undergraduate students are being offered the chance to take part in a Design Your Life module within the curriculum. ‌ Using Stanford University California’s Design Your Life methodology, this module will help students develop their skills and figure out what their interests, talents and curiosities are, and envision what their future work life might be. As well as professional insight, this new module will give students the concepts and skills to support their personal, emotional and physical wellbeing, helpful in navigating life at college and after graduation.  This module will be run by Dr Tony Hall, School of Education and Designing Futures Success Coaches Larissa Lamb  and Denise McBride.  Designing Futures is a transformational education programme, unique in Ireland. This programme has been designed to empower, educate and support students to lead better lives and succeed in the complex world we live in. Designing Futures will ensure University of Galway's position as a leader in innovative, student-centred and enterprise-engaged education in Europe and internationally.  Key to the Designing Futures programme is the creation of unique transdiciplinary teaching modules, engaging students from all disciplines in research projects (VIPs), empowering student skills and strenghts development with Student Success Coaching and enhancing their innovative mindset with the student innovation hub, IdeasLab. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Student Success Coaches at University of Galway, support students to achieve their unique academic, personal and life goals during their undergraduate years.  The coaching programme is currently available to students across the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Students (CASSCS) and the College of Science and Engineering (CSE).  Through personal coaching as well as through curricular and extra-curricular workshops, students develop personal and professional skills to complement their subject specific skills. Coaching is provided through one to one sessions or group sessions.  It can help students make decisions and encourage sthem to learn more about themselves and how they can succeed in achieving their goals.  A key focus in 1-1 coaching is helping students to recognise their strengths and natural talents.  In this way, their attention is brought to what they do well as they look for opportunities to build on those strengths.  All coaches are trained to administer the Gallup CliftonStrengths assessment. Students are excited about the insights gained through this approach and the positive perspective it develops.  According to Gallup (Companion Guide 2022) ‘The most effective way to develop and empower people is to help them use their strengths’. Undergraduate students in CASSCS and CSE can avail of Student Success Coaching throughout their time at University of Galway.  Inspired by programmes created by Stanford University, Student Success Coaches offer curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular workshops in ‘Design Your Life’ (DYL).  Employing a design thinking approach, DYL emphasizes learning by doing and enables students to make the most of their university experience.  Through this framework and tools, students cultivate design thinking mindsets, enhance skills, increase self-awareness and creatively collaborate with other students, building a greater sense of connection with each other and to the university community.  Workshop themes include odyssey planning, goal setting, ideation techniques, designing to increase balance and energy, recognising strengths, team roles and teamwork, workview and decision making.  This innovative way of engaging students builds self-efficacy as students grow in confidence and take action to build a purposeful and fulfilling life.  A programme of open DYL workshops is also offered and is available to university students in all colleges. For further information on what Student Success Coaching offers please visit out . If you would like to explore how the student success programme can benefit your students please email  

Monday, 24 October 2022

Designing Futures Transdisciplinary Modules (TDMs) are designed to help students develop knowledge from different disciplines and to nurture the multiple attributes & dispositions that the University of Galway and the Designing Futures programme are working to impart on their graduates. These new modules aim to foster collaboration across disciplines and partnerships with external partners. Transdisciplinary modules underscore the role of knowledge and the acquirement of skills in the context of building student acumen, so students can engage as socially conscious citizens and build happy and successful lives into their future. For teachers, TDMs offer innovative and exciting opportunities to try something different! Lecturers can collaborate across the university and organize a team-teaching approach. Setting up project-based assessments is extremely rewarding, as students deliver tangible outcomes in showcasing their new knowledge and its application. Current Transdisciplinary Modules include: Introduction to Sustainability (BSS2103) Design Thinking (PS3108) Digital Citizenship (BSS1100) Communicating through Storytelling (AJ2114)  Megatrends (MG3113) New modules for 2022/23: Design Your Life (ED2103) Scalable Technology-based Innovation (PH2107)  Global Engagement (BSS3105)  Module leader Yixin Qiu explains the benefits to students who study Megatrends: ''Students have the opportunity to identify a future big thing that they are interested in, and then team up based on common interests toward developing a presentation on the selected topic. It is always eye-opening to see how creative and well-thought students are when they are given leadership in their learning. It is always pleasing to see students enjoy the process of peer learning and teamwork'' Tony Hall, coordinator for Design Your Life, tells us the concept was originally developed at Stanford University: ''Design Your Life (DYL) is an innovative programme and set of tools, which we can use to figure out what our interests and talents are, and furthermore how to achieve our educational and life goals. DYL is offered in both Semester 1 & 2, (20022-23) as well as being co-curricular through student workshops; the first time the ground-breaking approach to education is being offered in an Irish university. Already, in the DYL module, we see students, working together, engaging and enjoying the process of using DYL tools to discern what their talents and interests are, both for in college and life and work afterwards.'' Scalable Technology-based Innovation module leader Ger O’Connor, explains his approach: ''Students have an opportunity to learn how to realize value from their studies. The concepts we present can be reflected in how an individual can compete and innovate towards "an impact". Students will have an opportunity to reflect on why all successful ideas are about making someone's life easier or better.'' The Digital Citizenship module allows students to embrace the challenge of thinking about the world of digital technology anew, and how we can all engage with safe, legal and ethical behaviours online. Design Thinking continues our innovative approach to teaching and learning by introducing students to empathy, observation and interviewing to help inspire the search for creative answers to challenges, through prototyping, testing and refining to validate solutions. The well-established Introduction to Sustainability module is a firm favourite with as many as 18 contributors from across academic disciplines (e.g. Archaeology, Business & Economics, Earth and Ocean Science, Engineering, Geography, History, Languages, Neuroscience), as well as University of Galway’s Sustainability Officer and the Student Volunteer Coordinator of the Community Knowledge Initiative. Semester two will continue with Introduction to Sustainability, Megatrends, Design Your Life, Communicating through Storytelling, and the introduction of a brand new Global Engagement module. Global Engagement invites both domestic and international students to collaborate in teams to address complex societal issues. Students from diverse backgrounds jointly address complex issues related to a specific topic, such as homelessness and housing, the migrant experience, threatened cultural heritage, the impact of digital technologies. This innovative module enables disciplinary and cultural boundary crossing, delivered by lecturers across disciplines and speakers from outside the university. Communicating through Storytelling  again offers a unique opportunity for Galway students to experience progressive approaches to teaching and distinctive ways of learning. Students learn to distil and prioritize information cogently, tell effective stories, make persuasive presentations and influence decisions. Watch this space for exciting new transdisciplinary modules currently under construction for the 2023-24 academic year - coming in September 2023! Find out more about Designing Futures Transdisciplinary Modules    

Thursday, 20 October 2022

IdeasLab are growing their student mentor community and would love to hear from those interested in being a mentor. If you want to support University of Galway students on their innovation, entrepreneurship, or intrapreneurship journey then IdeasLab have an exciting opportunity to share with you. Due to increased demand from students, IdeasLab are expanding their mentorship offering to all students and are looking for mentors with experience from start-ups, academia, industry, and social enterprises across all sectors and all career/life stages including: Financial and Legal Services Digital Transformation Medtech Creative Industries What does a mentor do?If you have not mentored before, IdeasLab will provide you with training. IdeasLab will ensure that you are matched to a student requiring your specific skillset and we will facilitate introductions to your mentee based on your communication preferences.The commitment will vary depending on your availability and can range from a 1 hr session to multiple sessions over a 6-week period.What is in it for you? Becoming part of IdeasLab community means becoming part of a vibrant community of innovators and entrepreneurs across our region. An opportunity to give back and develop your own skills as a mentor. Opportunity to work with, teach and learn from an amazing student cohort from diverse backgrounds and with a broad range of talents. Opportunity to attend and network at our on-campus events throughout the year Mentors will also receive a certificate of participation as a token of our appreciation If you are interested, please register your interest or email us and we will get in touch.

Monday, 12 September 2022

The Designing Futures team is excited to launch their Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) modules. ‌The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program is a transformative approach to enhancing higher education by engaging undergraduate and graduate students in long-term, large-scale, multidisciplinary project teams that are led by faculty. "Vertically Integrated" refers to VIP team compositions, which can include undergraduate, postgraduate (taught) and research students in addition to University staff.  As of 2022 University of Galway became the only Irish university to join the VIP Consortium, led by Georgia Institute of Technology. VIP programmes are now active in over 40 universities with 4,500+ students participating per term around the globe. Through VIPs, students work in teams with faculty to address grand challenges. Students earn credits and can participate in multiple semesters, with returning students taking on additional leadership/project responsibilities.  From January 2023, undergraduate students at the University of Galway will have the opportunity to join VIP modules. Students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds will have the opportunity to develop applied research skills whilst working in VIP teams, supervised by academic Principal Investigators. Students will also be supported to become effective research team members in weekly interactive VIP classroom sessions. VIP benefits for students include: Receiving training in transferable skills including team working Getting an opportunity to work on an established research project Identifying connections between their discipline and others Developing non-discipline skills useful within discipline (statistics, role play) Developing links with industry or community partners We have an exciting array of VIP projects available for students, including those focused on translating neuroscience research for patient benefit, democratising knowledge through comedy and improvisation, improving community engagement and education in STEM, understanding the physics and psychology of sound, and supporting small to medium enterprises towards their sustainability goals. VIP Principal Investigators meet a group of up to five students six times per semester and co-mark their final research report. VIP benefits for Principal Investigators include: Enhancing the visibility for your research Providing an opportunity to pilot new ideas Developing interdisciplinary connections Enhancing real-world applications Training and inspiring future researchers If you are a staff member with a VIP suggestion or you would like to make VIP modules available to students in your discipline, contact Ms Oonagh Meade, Lecturer in Transdisciplinary Research at To find out more about VIPs please see our VIP FAQ page

Friday, 8 July 2022

Celebrating student entrepreneurs Start100 showcase allows students to pitch investible ideas and innovations IdeasLab, the entrepreneurial and innovation hub at University of Galway, has announced ICTUS Medical and IRIS as the inaugural Start100 winners for 2022.  ICTUS Medical received the overall award for Start100, with IRIS receiving the One to Watch award. Nine teams of students presented at a special showcase event bringing their innovative ideas to a panel of judges from the worlds of academia, research, industry and enterprise after an intensive six week programme hosted by IdeasLab. IdeasLab launched their new student incubator programme, Start100 earlier this year. Start100 helps students with an early-stage concept to transform their ideas into potentially investible innovations.  The Start100 programme provides physical space, key networking opportunities, expert mentorship from alumni and enterprise, as well as a support fund of over €40,000. Students have access to funds to research and develop their idea throughout the programme and have the chance to win a final event prize fund to kick-start their innovation journey.  Start100 offers students the opportunity to connect with expert mentors and speakers spanning sectors including medical devices, creative production, agritech, consumer technology and wellbeing.  The programme has connected students into the thriving community of innovators and entrepreneurs in the West of Ireland, including BioInnovate Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Westbic, Galway City Innovation District and the Local Enterprise Offices and has been supported by companies in the region including Mbroynics, Boston Scientific, Aerogen, Medtronic, SAP, Galway International Arts Festival, Channel Mechanics, Veryan and Orreco. President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh launched the showcase event. “At University of Galway, our values - respect, openness, excellence and sustainability - are what define us and more importantly we strive to see them become not just words but actions and deeds. Supporting students on a journey of societal impact through enterprising ideas is part of that mission for the public good. It’s a great encouragement to see young people finding solutions to problems through innovation, ideas and solutions and also to see them being supported in that journey by our educators, our university community, and our civic and business networks,” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said. ICTUS Medical is spearheaded by Peter Best-Lydon and Ciarán McDermott. Peter, a Galway native and recently graduated University of Galway Biomedical Engineering student, and Ciarán, an University of Galway Electronic Engineering final year student, are developing a painless monitoring device that empowers stroke survivors to take control of their health by detecting sleeping strokes.  Speaking on behalf of ICTUS Medical Peter Best-Lydon said: “We are absolutely delighted to win. Start100 has been a massive help to us with all of the connections that we have made. There is a buzz every week in IdeasLab and it was great to get a sense of working in a start-up. We are really looking forward to making a significant impact to the patient.’’ The One to Watch prize was awarded to IRIS, which was co-founded by Keelan Rowley and Michael Dillon, both recent graduates of University of Galway’s BSc in Project and Construction Management. IRIS is a safety device that helps detect the presence of people and animals from machinery like Tractors, Diggers, Dumpers. A cost effective device that saves lives and families. Winning this award will allow Michael and Keelan to focus on prototyping and validating their idea.  The difficult decision of selecting the most investable idea was made by a diverse judging panel representing some of Irelands best and brightest entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics. The panel for the final showcase included: Dr Helen McBreen, Partner Atlantic Bridge; Professor Michelle Millar, Dean of Students at University of Galway; Dr Paul Dodd, Vice President Engagement, University of Galway; Dr Vanessa Creaven Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Spotlight Oral Care; and Finn Hegarty, Co-Founder and Chief Procurement Officer at GloFox, and University of Galway graduate.   Dr Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development at University of Galway, said: “In recent years, we have seen some fantastic student entrepreneurs create global businesses in the west of Ireland.  Through Start100 we now have a platform to support more students to achieve this type of success through the creation of commercial and social enterprises. Start100 is the first student incubator to launch in the University, designed with former and current students, our alumni and enterprise partners, we are incredibly proud to see Start100 come to life on our campus.” A summary of nine projects showcased at the event included: I Said Speak - An information awareness video that delves into Ireland’s drink culture among students  Receipt Relay - A customer insights software for retail and hospitality chains using point of sale and consumer app integrations IRIS - A safety device that helps detect the presence of people and animals from farm machinery – saving lives and families Matán Marketing - Digital marketing for gyms Scrunch-UP - An anti-spike scrunchie for university students ThoughtGarden – Self-administered CBT mobile game to reduce anxiety and depression - A data-driven e-commerce agency that builds and optimises high-performance Shopify stores - An application that facilitates the remote capture of patient's foot scan data using just a smart phone ICTUS Medical - A painless monitoring device that empowers stroke survivors to take control of their health by detecting sleeping strokes For more information on Start100 see our

Thursday, 15 July 2021

 University of Galway is to lead a new European project to bring a new entrepreneurial focus to higher education. i2i (Idea to Impact) will train more than 800 students and 300 staff over two years to look beyond the boundaries of their own disciplines, to think innovatively and enhance the start-up ecosystem in a network of universities and colleges. Read Full University of Galway Article Here 

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

‌University of Galway has today launched a new educational programme that will prepare students to deal with the complexity and uncertainty of life and the future world of work.  Designing Futures has been developed to enhance the employability of University of Galway graduates by offering additional practical and creative teaching, learning and skills development alongside traditional degree studies. Read Full University of Galway Article Here 

Friday, 3 December 2021

Learning through and beyond COVID-19, a new programme is helping prepare students for work and life. The COVID 19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to education, with the UN estimating that almost 1.5 billion learners have been affected adversely in terms of access to and continuity of their education. Irish Independent, Future of Work Supplement:  Read Full Article

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

College is back. After a year of remote learning, students and staff alike are delighted to be back on campus – albeit with some restrictions on capacity in lecture theatres and the number of students who can congregate indoors for club and society events. Irish Times | Read Full Article

Friday, 10 May 2024

Vertically Integrated Projects (VIPs) transdisciplinary research projects addressing important societal challenges that provide students with hands-on research experience. Our students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds work together with their VIP Principal Investigators (PIs) to progress the VIP project and are supported to become effective research team members in interactive VIP classroom sessions. This semester marked the launch of our Vertically Integrated Project 2 module which facilitates students who have already done the introductory VIP module to further develop their research leadership skills and experiences. Shukrat Rahim a second year Bachelor of Science student and Julia Grabiasz a third year BA Joint Honours student were among the students who completed the first VIP 2 module this semester. They both continued their work on the Theia Eye Care project which is focused on developing a medical device for dry eye disease. Shukrat describes the team’s activities this semester which moved on from their focus on market research in semester 1 to product designing, branding and marketing in semester 2. In semester 2, the team led developing a marketable solution to relieve dry eye symptoms in patients. The team worked on sketching logos to developing dry eye disease product designs, conducting interviews and surveys, and performing a SWOT analysis for their product. Julia valued participating in the project across two semesters and appreciated the growth in leadership skills she developed as well as the in-depth exposure to the world of conducting real-life research. "I had the privilege of participating in the VIPs program during both semester one and semester two of my studies. Being part of the Theia Eye Care group within the VIPs program provided me with an invaluable opportunity to witness firsthand the dynamics of real research. Through this experience, I gained invaluable insights into collaborative group work and had the chance to engage in authentic research practices. Moving into semester two, where the VIP program shifted its focus towards leadership, was a transformative experience for me. Having the chance to step into a leadership role, supported and guided by the program, allowed me to cultivate crucial leadership skills such as navigating and inspiring a team towards common goals." (Julia Grabiasz) Shukrat valued the ability students had to guide the content of workshops that would support them to achieve their research objectives. Workshops were offered by Designing Futures colleagues from the Ideas Lab and Student Success Coaching team as well as the VIP Lecturer and covered topics such as research leadership, coaching as a leadership style and design thinking. "Participating in both VIP1 and VIP2 was an invaluable experience for me. What particularly stood out in VIP2 was its customisable nature, allowing us to request workshops that aligned with our team's goals for the semester. This flexibility made the module exceptionally versatile, as it offers more potential than many other courses, as it evolves every year, guaranteeing new learning opportunities and experiences." (Skukrat Rahim) The Theia Eye Care VIP team is led by PIs Ms Sinéad Murray, Dr Prateek Dixit and Dr Adnan Alahi. Sinéad describes the positive experience she had over the last two semesters of working with her VIP student team: "As a PI, I learned as much as the students did. The students brought an innovative and creative way of tackling problems which Theia Eye Care benefited from immensely. Their hard work resulted in real-life data from the US which helped us gain a greater understanding of our customer. This to us was invaluable. The data collected by the students in VIP 2 will be used as part of our fundraising strategy in the coming months. I would recommend being a PI on the VIP programme as it offers new and creative ideas that have real impact." If you are a staff member or a student with any questions about the VIP modules, contact Dr Oonagh Meade, Lecturer in Transdisciplinary Research at