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DCU Fujitsu Innovation Awards showcase staff and student creativity

DCU Fujitsu Innovation Awards showcase staff and student creativity

A blood test for bowel cancer that can help save thousands of lives, a spin-out company that uses sensor technology to monitor greenhouse gases, a mobile app that generates CAD files from images captured on a phone’s camera feed and a cloud-based system for monitoring student academic performance are the creative innovations that have won this year’s DCU President’s Awards for Innovation sponsored by Fujitsu.  

Presented by David Delaney, Director of Innovation at Fujitsu Ireland, and Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, the awards encourage and recognise innovative achievements by DCU students, researchers and staff.   David Delaney, CEO of Fujitsu Ireland said,

“Fujitsu is proud to sponsor the DCU Innovation Awards again this year. We are all living in a period of incredible opportunity and in a society that facilitates and respects our right to these opportunities. The proliferation of readily accessible powerful communications technology provides enormous opportunity for the creation of new social and economic value through innovation. The high standard of entries for this year’s awards, once again demonstrates that DCU is fostering the knowledge, attitudes, confidence and tenacity required of its students and staff to realise their potential in these exciting times.”

The winners are:

1  Academic & Research Category

Joint winners in this category were:

  • The research team at DCU’s Biomedical Diagnostics Institute who have developed a bowel cancer screening test in collaboration with Randox Laboratories which could save thousands of lives by spotting the disease at the earliest possible opportunity.  This significant breakthrough in the screening for bowel cancer could be available for widespread use within the next two years by the 2500 people diagnosed with the disease each year; and

  • AmbiSense, a DCU spin-out created by Professor Dermot Diamond which uses sensor technology to monitor greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.  AmbiSense platforms are used in landfill management, coal mining safety and for monitoring fracking processes.  To date, AmbiSense has raised €500k from Enterprise Ireland and private investors.  Based in DCU’s Innovation Campus, the company has 5 employees with ambitious expansion plans over the next 3 years.

2  Student Category

Liam Sexton, a final year Biomedical Engineering student, has developed a mobile app capable of generating a Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawing file of an object captured on a phone’s camera feed.  The app uses reverse engineering to extract information from the physical object, using it to create a computer model.  The technology significantly enhances product design processes by allowing a member of the design team quickly create electronic drawing files when away from the office that can then be sent to the desktop team of further modelling and analysis.

3  Administration & Support Staff Category

David Molloy, an analyst programmer in DCU’s School of Electronic Engineering has developed GURU, a fully secure, cloud-based system for monitoring student academic performance which eliminates wasteful paper processes.  The system, which revolutionises the way student information is processed and handled, has been applied throughout the University with the potential for roll-out to universities in Ireland and further afield.  

Professor Brian MacCraith praised the range of innovative projects proposed for the awards,

“The innovative ideas showcased here today underscore DCU’s commitment to delivering real impact through innovation, whether here on campus or to the wider public.  Solutions are being generated at DCU for real problems such as bowel cancer, greenhouse emissions, student mental health and other innovations seek to improve existing processes in design, information management and student experience.  Through this partnership with an industry leader such as Fujitsu, we will continually strive to create an environment where the innovative talents of our staff and students can flourish and succeed.”

Other shortlisted innovations included:

  • DaysE, an online platform which raises funds, through energy saving measures, to help social enterprises, charities and developing world energy projects reduce their own energy costs in order to have a bigger societal impact.

  • refurbishment of the John & Aileen O’Reilly Library at DCU to improve student support through the provision of an Academic Writing Centre, a Maths Learning Centre, a taught and research postgraduate centre and collaborative, open workspaces;

  • DICE, a first-year module which allows students learn about innovation, creativity and enterprise through hosting conferences for Irish businesses on major technology trends and development of mobile apps for Microsoft Windows Store;

  • DCU Walk and Talk Society which allows students regain control of their lives by maintaining good mental health; and

  • DiCAST (Direct Clone Analysis and Selection Technology) which provides innovative molecular and cellular screening with the potential to revolutionise antibody discovery and vaccine development.