Patrick Byrnes, a student at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), has scooped the top prize in the student engineer of the year awards run by Engineers Ireland. He won for his project that explores ways to improve manufacturing processes relating to orthopaedics through automation.
Byrnes, who hails from Patrickswell, Co Limerick, won the Level 8 category in the Engineers Ireland awards. For his project, Byrnes devised a solution that could be integrated into the manufacturing process when creating orthopaedic implants in order to reduce bottlenecks.
Alistair Chambers, a student at IT Carlow, won the Level 7 category in the awards. He came up with a device for farmers to assess straw moisture and quality.
The device can be retro-fitted to any tractor-mounted or loader-mounted bale handler.
The Engineers Ireland awards judge final-year products from students of Level 7 and Level 8 engineering degree programmes that are accredited by the body.
Other students shortlisted in the Level 8 category included John Roberts from CIT, Darragh McCoy from Dublin Institute of Technology; Sean McMahon from NUI Galway and Adam Przedpelski from NUI Maynooth.
In the Level 7 category, the shortlisted students were Aoife Hegarty, Stephen Gibbons and David Healy, all from IT Sligo, plus Darren McKenna from the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dún Laoghaire.
Speaking at the awards today, John Power, director-general of Engineers Ireland, said there is a consensus among business and industry leaders that engineering skills will be increasingly valuable over the next decade in Ireland.
"The growing take-up of higher-level maths in the Leaving Certificate is positive recognition amongst our school students of the possibilities a career in engineering can offer," said Power.