A beautiful sunny day at Nova UCD, in Dublin, marked the start of this year’s BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp 2012 on the 26th of March.
32 of the finest young minds in Ireland joined six BT mentors to learn about innovation, business development and entrepreneurship.
The students who worked as part of teams took part in classroom-based team building activities which helped them towards their final presentations to a panel of eminent judges at the end of the week.
Six projects out of 18 that qualified have been chosen to present to the judges as part of these teams, these are:
• The design and construction of a multi-touch tabletop computer.
• Smart Pipe: an automated water circulation anti-freezing system.
• Can Irish-grown dessert apples substitute imported dessert apples?
• The development of a low-cost, variable-speed constant PU water pasteuriser: ‘Uisce Paisteartha’.
• Detecting incidents on roads in real time with Twitter and traffic cameras.
• To develop a mathematical learning and communication tool for autistic children in mainstream primary school.
A number of great speakers joined the students throughout the week to help them in their work at the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp but also to help them in their future life and future career.
2006 winner Aisling Judge who is studying chemical and bioprocess engineering at UCD, talked about her experiences as a winner but also talked to the students about CAO, school the college life. On Day 2 the students, mentors and others were privileged to welcome Dame Ellen MacArthur to Nova UCD who talked about the circular economy and about the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. While in Dublin she also dropped into RTE to talk to Pat Kenny live on his radio show. Ellen said to the students, “In a rapidly changing world the most important skills available to us are our creativity and imagination” and that “…initiatives like the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp can help unlock that potential.”
Another speaker was former BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition runner-up and company director of Restored Hearing Rhona Togher was a brilliant and insightful presenter, giving the students valuable information about not only commercialising a project but also how to get the funding to do so.
On the final day of the week we welcomed Paddy Cosgrove from Dublin Web Summit and James Whelton of Coder Dojo who told the students that is you have an idea get out there and get people interested in it. Later on the students heard from Greg Treston of Enterprise Ireland who told them about what they do to help companies by way of funding and also expert advice and support.
The content of the Bootcamp was developed jointly by BT and Nova UCD and this meant that we could adapt the programme throughout the week to make sure the students got the most of it. This meant that we could get out doors as much as possible into the sunshine for some of the team exercises! One of the key elements of a programme such as the Business Bootcamp is the mentors. In the three years that we have run the initiative, we have always asked some BT colleagues to take up this these mentoring roles. They spend time with their teams, guiding and leading them on team challenges and activities. Their help and guidance in throughout our time at Nova UCD is vital to the successful running of the event not only from a BT point of view but also for the experience overall for those students that are part of it.
To finish off the four days at Nova UCD, we were delighted to be joined by a fantastic judging panel. Shay Walsh, MD BT Business will be joined by Debbie Hand, FBD, Greg Treston, Enterprise Ireland, Prof Pat Guiry, School of Chemistry, UCD; Dr Ruth Davis, HEA and Emma McNamara from RTE Radio’s Morning Ireland.
The winning team is SmartPipe – made up of five school students who work-shopped the project ‘Smart Pipe: an automated water circulation anti-freezing system’. They were chosen as the best overall group after being evaluated by a panel of expert judges and course mentors, and selected as the team that developed most during the programme. The members of the team are Matt Murtagh White (17) from Kilkenny College, Emer Creedon (16) from Regina Mundi College, Cork; Adam Torrens (19) from South Eastern Regional College, Bangor; Deirdre Harford (17) from Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, Dublin; and Megan Doyle (16) from Skerries Community College, Dublin.
Daniel Hobbs (17) from Maynooth Post Primary, Co Kildare was recognised as the best individual student during the week.
The winners are awarded a summer placement at one of the leading universities on the island – University of Ulster, University College Dublin, NUI Galway and University of Limerick.
All the students returned home to the four corners of Ireland; we hope to see them back again in January at the 2013 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition.