Teen innovators scoop total prize fund of €5,000 at TECS awards in UL

11 Jan 2023

Prof Tiziana Margaria, course director and co-director of ISE; Surabhi Sathish, Loreto College, Kilkenny; Samir Bioud, Rice College, Ennis; Kishi Akinyemi, St Mell’s College, Longford; and Prof Kerstin Mey, UL president. Image: Don Moloney

This year’s TECS winners were Samir Bioud, Kishi Akinyemi and Surabhi Sathish. The competition for young innovators is in its second year.

Ten teams of secondary school students were recognised for their tech and entrepreneurial acumen at this year’s national awards ceremony for TECS (Technologists, Engineers, Creators, Scientists).

The competition is for secondary school students in fourth, fifth and sixth year. Samir Bioud, a pupil at Rice College, Ennis, Co Clare won first place for developing a compiler for his own programming language, called Quinoa.

Kishi Akinyemi of St Mell’s College, Co Longford, took second place for IPBOX, a tool for licensing and securing patents.

Surabhi Sathish, a pupil at Loreto College, Co Kilkenny, scooped third place for her project which used AI to identify and sort rubbish.

There was a total of €5,000 in prize money awarded to these young innovators. This is the second year of TECS, which is run by the University of Limerick’s Immersive Software Engineering (ISE) programme, together with the Irish Computer Society and Patch Accelerator.

Although it is open to entrants nationwide, TECS has Limerick’s stamp all over it. The awards ceremony was held at UL and Limerick’s renowned tech entrepreneur brothers, the Collisons, are also involved through Patch, the accelerator programme Stripe runs for teens with Dogpatch Labs.

Last year’s inaugural awards ceremony was attended by Stripe co-founder John Collison, who presented the top prize to Abutalha Alam, a sixth-year student at Castletroy College in Limerick, where both John and his brother Patrick Collison completed their secondary school education.

The Collisons are also connected to TECS via their involvement with UL’s ISE programme. The integrated undergraduate and master’s degree programme is backed by more than a dozen tech companies in Ireland including Stripe, Intercom, Zalando, Analog Devices and Provizio.

Students on the programme have the opportunity to complete residencies at many of these companies to complement their classroom learning.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic