The DCU Fujitsu Innovation Awards are designed to encourage creativity and problem solving among students, researchers and staff - looking for novel or unique ways to resolve issues that exist in various fields.
Presented by Anthony McCauley, Head of Research at Fujitsu Ireland, and Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, each winner receives a prize of €2,000.
“2016 marks the third year of Fujitsu’s involvement in the Innovation Awards and as with previous years, the level of excellence of the entries has been incredible.", said Mr. McCauley, "Every year we see a diverse range of entries, innovative ideas and submissions that have the potential to make a very real positive impact on people’s day-to-day lives. This human connection to technology, or human centric innovation, is what we at Fujitsu strive for, developing and delivering technology that will enhance people’s lives.”
For 2016, the winners in each category are:
Academic & Research Category
DiCAST (Direct Clone Analysis and Selection Technology) provides innovative molecular and cellular screening with the potential to revolutionise antibody discovery and vaccine development. The technology has been developed by a team at DCU’s Biomedical Diagnostics Institute led by Professor Richard O’Kennedy and will enable biopharmaceutical companies to improve the efficiency and quality of their drug discovery processes by finding better drugs, reducing development costs and offering key new therapies.
Laboratory results have demonstrated that DiCAST can analyse over 35,000 times more samples per test iteration than traditional methods and can identify new immunological components with improved performance that previously could not be identified using traditional approaches. It has the potential to revolutionise the biopharmaceutical market, improving success rates and significantly shortening drug approval times, thereby enhancing patient health.
Vaccinogen, the US vaccine development giant, has recently acquired the option to purchase the DiCAST technology and DiCAST co-inventor, Dr Paul Leonard and Valerie Fitzgerald have joined Vaccinogen to establish their operations in Ireland. Professor O’Kennedy has been nominated for the US-Ireland RIA-AmCham Innovation Awards.
Matthew Hewston, a first year DCU student, has really tapped into his undergraduate studies in Marketing, Innovation & Technology (MINT) to develop Squeazy, an educational toy which brings together the Cartesian Diver science experiment with a plastic bottle and characters Drip and Drop, to create a fun way to teach and learn about science. Matthew, who developed the initial concept while at St Clare’s Comprehensive School in Co Leitrim, has previously claimed the National Student Enterprise Awards, pitched on RTE’s Junior Dragons’ Den and attending this year’s Global Engagement Summit in the US .
Administration & Support Staff Category
UniCam, developed by staff members Ger Cannon, Patrick Doyle and Keith Hickey, harnesses the power of modern digital technologies to enhance the learning experience of DCU students. A high-quality, cost-efficient video recording and sharing system, UniCam has applications in recording lectures, lab activities, student presentations, student feedback and practical examinations. The software fully integrates with existing university storage infrastructure and easily available cameras and android touch-screen devices. It is envisaged that the platform, which has saved the university hundreds of thousands of euro, will be further developed for roll-out to other Irish universities.
Professor Brian MacCraith praised the range of innovative projects at the awards ceremony,
“The ideas presented here today demonstrate the culture of innovation that permeates this university. This year, solutions have been developed at DCU which improve processes, enhance the learning experience of our students and deliver important health impact to the wider world. Our partnership with Fujitsu allows us to publicly recognise these innovations and create a platform to propel them to further success.”