BT to bring innovation from classroom to boardroom

3 Mar 2010

BT’s Business of Science & Technology mentoring programme has been launched to help students progress from the classroom to the boardroom and turn good ideas into commercial opportunities.

This new mentoring initiative is an additional dimension to the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition.

Some 53 students from 13 counties were invited to take part in the programme as they were winners of intermediate and senior categories, the overall Top 4 performers and the winners of merit from the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2010.

World-renowned technology industry executive Wendy Kennedy from Canada will provide training in commercialisation skills using her internationally recognised So What? Who Cares? Why You? commercialisation methodology.

Through this proven approach, and working in teams, the students will learn the tools and frameworks used by world-class science and technology researchers and apply them to real-world Irish business case studies.

BT’s Business of Science & Technology mentors

The students will be also be mentored by leading executives and professionals from BT, Bank of Ireland, Bombardier Aerospace, Bord Gáis Éireann, Engineers Ireland, IBM, Intel, IP Innovations, and Innovation Delivery.

“The talent that exists in schools across the island is evident each year in the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition and we wanted to take that one step further and arm these students with the business skills they need to turn good ideas into potential commercial opportunities,” said BT chief executive Chris Clark.

“Through this Business of Science & Technology Programme, BT is collaborating with key private and public-sector organisations to help bridge the gap between the worlds of education and business and mentor the next generation of young innovators and entrepreneurs.

“Bridging this gap is critical and urgent if Ireland is to be a competitive player in the global economy. We believe that embedding entrepreneurship in the school curriculum would be hugely beneficial for both the future of the students and the island as a whole,” Clark added.

The core teaching elements of the programme, which incorporates online learning tools, will centre on case studies assigned to the student teams, relating to industry sectors including: microelectronics, bioengineering, biochemistry, genetics and photonics.

All participating students will receive a certificate of achievement and the Minister for Education and Science Batt O’Keeffe TD has confirmed that summer placements in higher-education institutions will be made available for the Top 6 performers in the programme.

By John Kennedy

Photo: BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition award winner Richard O’Shea (centre) with BT Ireland CEO Chris Clark and Minister for Science, Technology, Innovation and Natural Resources Conor Lenihan TD

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years