16th November 2023
Following a series of skills development sessions and competitive pitches at Atlantic Technological University, Sligo, Dundalk Institute of Technology, and University of Galway, three student teams were selected as winners, securing their places at the i-Days pan-European final in Barcelona on 30 November.
What are i-Days?
Innovation Days (i-Days) are challenge-based learning events 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 perfect their pitch to expert judges. At EIT Health, we team up with academic institutions to organise the competition, encouraging students to help shape the future of healthcare.
“Each year University students from across Europe unite for i-Days, with participating academic institutions transforming their classrooms into incubators of practical solutions, fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration to tackle real-life health challenges,” said David Pollard, Education Lead at EIT Health Ireland-UK. “For many, i-Days is the first step towards a career in health innovation. In my role as a mentor and judge at the DkIT i-Days event, I witnessed first-hand the transformation of students into solution-driven innovators. Their solutions not only reflected their understanding of health challenges but also their willingness to be at the forefront of healthcare innovation.”
Meet the Ireland-based i-Days winners
University of Galway i-Days winners – RecoverKnee
i-Days at the University of Galway brought together a total of 58 students and the competition was divided into two dynamic sessions. The first session was focused on identifying and validating the problem area. Teams used persona and journey maps to identify the challenge and develop a problem statement. The second session focused on ideation, prototyping, and storytelling.
The winning team came up with RecoverKnee to help people with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. “I’m delighted with the overall quality of our teams and their respective ideas. The winning team had a clear understanding of the problem and provided a solution to help reduce the risk of reinjury on one of the most common knee injuries. The team of biomedical engineers drew from personal experience to validate the problem and developed a unique solution. I would like to wish them the very best in the i-Days finals in Barcelona,” said Neil Ferguson, Head of Entrepreneurial Development at IdeasLab, University of Galway.
Dundalk Institute of Technology i-Days winners – Connect Care
The competition at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT), managed by the Connected Health & Wellbeing Cluster and dConnect Innovation Hub, saw 65 participants brainstorm innovative ideas on dementia. The winning idea, Connect Care, is a user-friendly digital platform that revolutionises dementia care by streamlining communication and data sharing, creating a robust network for caregivers and medical professionals. This innovative approach harnesses technology through a patient-worn bracelet, with the aim of enabling seamless information exchange via NFC in the application.
“We received tremendous feedback from participating students who enjoyed the pace and creativity of the Design Thinking process and are now really excited about the future of healthcare. The students had fantastic support and encouragement from circa twenty mentors across the health ecosystem over the two days. I wish the best of luck to Care Connect in the final, and I’m looking forward to seeing how their idea progresses in the coming six months,” said Breanndán Casey, Education & Outreach Manager- Connected Health & Wellbeing Cluster, DkIT.
Atlantic Technological University, Sligo i-Days winners – Amplixer
This year’s event at Atlantic Technological University, Sligo (ATU), brought together 93 students making up 25 teams. Judges selected Amplixer as the winner – a low-sugar, healthy, and tasty supplement drink that aims to combat malnutrition. This supplement is designed for those who can’t meet their nutritional needs through their regular diet.
Konrad Mulrennan, Associate Director of the Health and Biomedical (HEAL) Research Centre at ATU, said, “We’ve scaled i-Days massively this year, and students from different disciplines have come together to address critical healthcare challenges. This is their first step into innovation and entrepreneurship, and we hope they’ll carry these skills forward into their careers, feeding a pipeline of entrepreneurs and innovators into the region and beyond. I wish Amplixer the best of luck in Barcelona, we’re all very excited for them.”
All three teams will now go on to represent Sligo, Dundalk, and Galway at the Winner’s event in Barcelona on 30 November. Click here to learn more about i-Days, or contact us to find out how your academic institution can host an i-Days in 2024.
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