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.

Thursday, 14 December 2023

University of Galway IdeasLab students have joined with students from across 67 educational institutes in 15 countries to become University Innovation Fellows. The University Innovation Fellows (UIF) programme empowers students to become agents of change at their universities. Fellows work to ensure that all students gain the attitudes, skills and knowledge required to navigate a complex world and build the future. These student leaders from schools around the globe create opportunities to help their peers build the creative confidence, agency, and entrepreneurial mindset needed to address global challenges. Fellows create student innovation spaces, start entrepreneurship organizations, facilitate experiential workshops, work with the university community to develop new courses, and much more. The inaugural fellows in University of Galway are Mia Shanley Brookes (Medicinal Chemistry, 2024), Sophie Spellissy (Computer Science and Information Technology, 2025) and Ciaran Cox (Biomedical Engineering, 2028). Mia, Sophie and Ciaran are working as advocates for lasting institutional change with university leaders, lending the much-needed student voice to the conversations about the future of higher education and entrepreneurship. The students participated in a 6-week training experience during which they learned to analyse their campus ecosystems and identify opportunities for change related to innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking, and creativity. They worked to understand the needs of peers on the University campus and apply this new knowledge and perspective to design new educational opportunities for their peers. In early 2024 the student team will prototype a new programme that focusses on shadowing start-ups and early stage companies to better understand how firms work and what types of roles students may wish to undertaken once they are finished university and moving onto their next chapter. The Fellows programme is run by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d. School). With the addition of the new Fellows, the programme has trained more than 3,100 students since its creation. Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, Co-Director of the University Innovation Fellows programme ‘Fellows Mia, Sophie and Ciaran have developed new ways to help students at the University of Galway enhance their innovation skills, connect their learning with real-world applications, and gain access to essential resources. We’re so proud of the hard work they’ve done already, and we’re excited to see the impact they continue to have’. Dr Natalie Walsh a Faculty Innovation Fellow with Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( and the Director of Entrepreneurial Development in the University of Galway stated that ‘We are delighted to join the University Innovation Fellowship community and support our students to design new experiences that support all students to develop the skills and mindsets necessary to navigate these uncertain times and to shape the future they want to see. The partnership aligns with our values of excellence and sustainability, and we are excited to launch a new programme designed and delivered by Mia, Ciaran and Sophie in early 2024’. University of Galway is the only Irish University who have taken part in the UIF programme. A core thematic of the programme supports responsible futuring and the team look forward to travelling to the University of Twente in 2024 to build skills and expertise and connect in person with the UIF community of over 2,000 faculty and students from across the globe.


Friday, 17 November 2023

The University of Galway formally opened the IdeasLab space on campus, marking the institution's commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship among its student body. IdeasLab is University of Galway's student innovation hub. It is an open collaborative space designed to enable students to explore ideas and personalise their entrepreneurial and innovative skillset to succeed in the complex world beyond university. University of Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh also launched the newly introduced President’s Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship that recognises and celebrates the achievements of University of Galway students in the realms of entrepreneurship and innovation. The award features three tiers of achievement, namely Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Students who complete one IdeasLab programme during their degree are eligible for the Bronze tier, while those who successfully complete two programmes earn the Silver tier. The highest honour, the Gold tier, is reserved for students who undertake more than two programmes or complete the IdeasLab’s summer incubator programme 'Start100'. The President’s Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been designed to acknowledge the pivotal role that student-driven innovation and entrepreneurship play in shaping Ireland's future. By providing a structured framework for the development of these skills, the University aims to enhance the overall student experience and prepare its graduates for industry. “We believe that students who develop innovative thinking and entrepreneurial skills play a crucial role in enriching their communities, advancing knowledge, and building a good society," said Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh. "The President’s Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship reflects our commitment to cultivating our students’ capacities to become agents and architects of positive change and aligns with our values and our commitment to investing in the social, economic and intellectual development of our communities, nationally and internationally.” The formal opening of the IdeasLab space symbolises the University's dedication to creating an environment that nurtures creativity, collaboration, and transformative ideas. This space is a vibrant hub where students can bring their innovative concepts to life, collaborate with like-minded peers, and receive mentorship from industry experts. Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development stated that ‘Today is a milestone moment for innovation in our university as we formally launch our student innovation space IdeasLab and our new Presidents Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  The space and new awards programme demonstrate our commitment to empowering students as catalysts for positive change and equip them with the skills and competences to succeed in their futures’.  

Monday, 6 November 2023

We are delighted to open The Séamus McDermott Entrepreneurial Scholarship 2024 call for University of Galway First Year students. The scholarship is funded through the generous philanthropic support of the Liffey Trust and is open to First Year undergraduate students registered at the University of Galway.  The scholarship value is  €9,000 for the duration of their studies at the University. To find out more about this scholarship opportunity please contact or apply directly through this link . Applications are open from Monday, 6 November 2023 and close on Friday, 1 December 2023.

Wednesday, 29 March 2023

University of Galway IdeasLab is excited to announce our Start100 2023 student teams. Start100 is University of Galway's student incubator, run by IdeasLab.  Throughout the programme our 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 we 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 our student teams.  Meet our 11 Start100 student teams and find out more about their ideas and how they came to be part of the Start100 programme on our 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. 

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

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. Find out more about our Empathy Lab HERE ​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). 

Friday, 20 January 2023

IdeasLab are pleased to announce the formation of our CreateHER Advisory Board. The Advisory Group brings together a cross section of industry experts with a wealth of experience in entrepreneurship, academia, and multi million euro enterprises. CreateHER aims to further develop female focussed initiatives with an emphasis on creativity as a central tenet.To ensure that the initiative is coherent, fit for purpose and student centric IdeasLab has, through a consultative process, designed a programme that will be reviewed by an expert advisory group. The CreateHer Advisory group is co-chaired by Dr Natalie Walsh and Jenny Mullery IdeasLab at University of Galway and Dr. Ellen Roche, MIT and University of Galway Alumni, Dr. Helen McBreen, Atlantic Bridge and University of Galway Alumni, Dr. Vanessa Creaven, Co-Founder Spotlight Oral Care, Karen Gilhooly, Student, University of Galway, Carol Joyce and Anna Hosty, Co-owner Yourells/Co-Founder The Vitamin Hair Company), Professor Patrick Lonergan, University of Galway, Elaine Mannion, General Manager, The Abbey Theatre and Lisa Regan MD of Lisa Regan Public Relations. In addition to the advisory board, the University has partnered with WestBIC to deliver aspects of the programme.  WestBIC provides tailored, high-level support to entrepreneurs to convert their innovative ideas into a commercial reality.  'We know that our student entrepreneurs will learn best from each other and fellow female entrepreneurs across the globe and have created a programme based on shared experiences, practical workshops and mentorship which will nurture the development of the next generation of female entrepreneurs.  We are excited to onboard our first intake later this month and share their journeys and successes in the future' says Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development, University of Galway.  Find out more about the CreateHER Advisory Board and the CreateHER programme

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. 

Thursday, 17 November 2022

To celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, IdeasLab and the University of Galway hosted an Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs event on 17th November with Paula Fitzsimons of Going for Growth.  Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs is a new initiative set up to inspire female entrepreneurs who want to take the first step towards starting a business. Supported by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, this new programme will help women to determine their ambitions and go on to establish businesses that are scalable, innovative and focused on export markets.  ‘Tonight, has brought together an incredible community of female entrepreneurs, industry professionals, university staff and students, all with an interest in supporting and championing female entrepreneurship.  We will build on the momentum created tonight, create more opportunities for females from our students right through to those that want to scale and grow their business. We already have a developing female entrepreneurial ecosystem, so are building on a very strong foundation and we look forward to being a core part of that in and for our region’.Dr. Natalie Walsh Director of Entrepreneurial Development, University of Galway.    Attendees heard from inspiring female entrepreneurs about their journey to establishing a successful business - Andrea Doolan, co-founder and CEO of Atlantia Clinical Trials, Dr. Anne Cusack, co-founder and formerly of Critical Healthcare, Leonora O'Brien, founder and formerly of Pharmapod and a special video presentation by Fidelma McGuirk, CEO and founder of Payslip.  'This is the start of a whole new tribe. This is about inspiring women entrepreneurs to think even bigger than they are thinking. The objective is clear – to look for start-ups by women. Those start-ups are innovative and ambitious, and they can grow and grow. Ireland needs all of its entrepreneurs.’  Paula Fitzsimons  Going for Growth Find out more about Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs HEREPictured: (L-R) Leonora O'Brien, Andrea Doolan, Jenny Mullery, Paula Fitzsimons, Natalie Walsh, Anne Cusack.   

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. 

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.

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

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 

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 

Thursday, 16 December 2021

‌University of Galway's Designing Futures programme, which advances the University’s position as an international leader in education, is designed to enhance the student experience while tackling the important challenges for culture, enterprise and society. Read Full Cois Coiribe Article 


Tuesday, 25 June 2024

The winners of IdeasLab's Start100 competition for 2024 were announced on the 20th June. Damien Delaney, a first-year Psychology student from Birr, Co Offaly and the owner of Hology Photography secured the top prize and a €5,000 award for his visual-based app called FocusZen which enables individuals to use photography as a form of meditation and a way of enhancing their wellbeing.  Final year Bachelor of Commerce student David Garvey from Glenamaddy, Co Galway, received the One to Watch award and a prize fund of €1,000 for Arclo, an innovative clothing brand bringing t-shirts to life using augmented reality technology.   Most Engaging Pitch went to Claudine Mulihano, a first-year Podiatric Medicine student from Dundalk, Co Louth, and her idea StepWise, a smart insole designed to tackle the foot condition plantar fasciitis using Bluetooth technology to transmit real-time biomechanics data to healthcare practitioners.  Alongside the three main prize winners, one of the Start100 judging panel, Paul Merriman, chief executive of Fairstone, pledged to give student Emily Donellan from Maree, Co Galway €2,000 in funding for her podcast Start Right, a by-student, for-student podcast that offers tailored advice and guidance to young people transitioning from secondary school to college.  Start100 offers students an intensive six-week programme, where ten teams refine their business model and present at a special showcase, bringing their innovative business ideas to a panel of judges from the worlds of academia, research, and enterprise.   The competitions is designed to empower early-stage student startups. During the process the teams are introduced to speakers from different industries, experts in entrepreneurial development both regionally and nationally, and Start100 alumni who have successfully started their own businesses.  Each team is matched with a mentor in a relevant field, ensuring they receive the advice and the support they need to take their idea to the next level.   Professor Peter McHugh, University of Galway’s Deputy President and Registrar, said: “University of Galway plays an important role in nurturing innovation and growth within our region and beyond. Start100 is an example of how the connections we foster with industry cultivate innovative leadership skills in our students, and provides them with the space and supports to develop ideas with the potential for broader societal impact.”  Méabh Conaghan, Regional Director for the West and North-West Regions, Enterprise Ireland, said: "Programmes that encourage and support student entrepreneurship at all levels are crucial to a vibrant start-up ecosystem. The Start100 series of incubation supports is to be applauded as it helps students to explore, develop and validate their ideas in a structured and safe environment. Enterprise Ireland West region is delighted to collaborate with Ollscoil na Gaillimhe and its IdeasLab team on Start100 2024. Enterprise Ireland warmly welcomes Start100, recognizing it as an avenue for future enterprise success and is happy to support this worthwhile initiative."  Throughout the programme students visited CREW, ComWorks in Loughrea, Platfrom 94 and the Portershed and had guest speakers from Enterprise Ireland, Westbic, the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and Start100 alumni. They were given workshops on intellectual property, tax, presentation skills and more, and speakers from successful enterprises such as Mbryonics and Tribe Hospitality.  The judging panel for the final event were Dr Helen McBreen, Partner Atlantic Bridge; Paul Merriman, CEO Fairstone; Méabh Conaghan, Regional Director for the West and North-West Regions, Enterprise Ireland; and John Brennan, CEO WestBic, and the prize fund sponsored by AskPaul for the second year in a row.  Dr Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development at University of Galway, said: "Start100 is more than a programme it is a bridge that connects our student entrepreneurs with our vibrant regional ecosystem and beyond. By fostering these connections, we empower our students to leverage the wealth of knowledge, expertise, and resources available right here in our region. The collaboration with local industry leaders, visits to innovation hubs, and insights from successful Start100 alumni, all contribute to a rich network of supports that helps our young entrepreneurs turn their innovative ideas into viable businesses with global impact.” 

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