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Ireland-UK, EIT Health Ireland-UK

Student team from Ireland wins EIT Health pan-European innovation competition

7th December 2023

Four undergraduates from University of Galway were crowned winners at the i-Days finals in Barcelona on 1 December.

EIT Health Ireland-UK, a Co-location Centre of EIT Health, which is part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, a body of the European Union, today announced that a team of Ireland-based undergraduate students has placed first in its 2023 i-Days competition. Innovation Days (i-Days) are challenge-based learning events that train participants in innovation and entrepreneurship, design thinking methods, and pitching. The team of four undergraduates from University of Galway competed against 22 other teams from 16 countries at the i-Days finals in Barcelona on the 1st of December. Their innovative solution ‘RecoverKnee’ earned them first place in the competition. 

EIT Health’s i-Days are challenge-based learning events held in academic institutions across Europe, where students develop innovation and entrepreneurial skills. Using design thinking methods, they participate in teams to brainstorm solutions to tackle real-life health challenges and pitch their ideas to expert judges.  

In 2023, i-Days events took place across 23 cities in Europe. In Ireland, Atlantic Technological University, Sligo (ATU Sligo), Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) and University of Galway hosted i-Days events across three weeks in October 2023 with over 200 students coming together to collaborate on ideas to advance healthcare innovation. One winning team from each participated in the semi-finals with the RecoverKnee team from University of Galway going on to compete against 22 other teams from Europe in the finals. 

The winning team is made up of Thomas Brogan, Dara Keane, Darragh McAndrew, James Gorman, who pitched the RecoverKnee solution to help people with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. Their innovative ACL recovery solution integrates sensors within a brace to monitor progress, offering real-time feedback and personalised guidance for effective management and advancement of the recovery process. 

The students from University of Galway have not only showcased exceptional innovation and teamwork but also set a new standard in health solution development in Higher Education in Ireland and in Europe. Their victory highlights the power of creative thinking and, cross-sectoral collaboration. The team has provided a path for future iDays participants to follow in their journey for transformative health improvements,” said David Pollard, Education Lead at EIT Health Ireland-UK. 

“We are incredibly proud of Dara, Darragh and James and Thomas for achieving 1st place in EIT Health i-Days 2023. Developing their entrepreneurial skills with IdeasLab, coupled with their backgrounds in Biomedical Engineering, creates an ideal synergy for collaborating and contributing to shaping a healthier and brighter tomorrow together. Together with our colleagues in the School of Engineering, we look forward to continuing to support them on their entrepreneurial journey at the University of Galway,” said Dr Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development, University of Galway. 

As the winning team they gain exclusive attendance at the EIT Alumni CONNECT 2024, as well as $15,000 worth of Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud credits, access to the “Healthcare Entrepreneurship 101” e-learning education programme by EIT Health, and mentoring support with European experts. 

We are delighted to see team RecoverKnee win the i-Days finals. The team displayed a deep understanding of the problem they were trying to address and most importantly, a passion to improve the lives of people recovering from ACL injuries. This reflected well in their pitch during the regional finals and I’m happy to see that this resonated on the broader stage as well,” said Shona D’Arcy, Entrepreneurship Lead, EIT Health Ireland-UK. 

In April 2023 the i-Days competition was nominated for an Irish Healthcare Centre award in the category of ‘Student Programme.’  

Learn more about how i-Days works in practice .

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