Irish students head east for tech competition

13 Apr 2007

Microsoft today announced the 10 Irish finalists for the Imagine Cup, a worldwide student technology competition which will be held later this year in Seoul, South Korea.

This year is the first year in which Irish students were able to compete in the Imagine Cup, which has been running since 2003.

The Irish finalists come from universities and institutes of technology including University College Dublin, National University (NUI) of Ireland Galway, University College Cork, Tipperary Institute of Technology; University of Ulster and three separate entries from NUI Maynooth.

Irish students’ entries included diverse areas such as a game to use Microsoft Xbox as an educational tool, an interactive system that teaches sign language and a programme to set up a virtual company.

Liam Cronin, Imagine Cup Ireland programme manager, said: “A key value of these projects is that many of them are enormously practical and address real needs in the world of education today.

“We hope to continue to attract some of the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators through the competition.”

There were nine separate categories including software design, web development, digital photography and design interface.

Guidelines for entries stipulated that the work should reflect “valuable, real-world solutions that address the pressing global issue of education”.

The winners of the Irish national final will go on to compete at the world championships in August 2007 in Seoul, where entries will be presented to a panel of judges from academia and the technology industry.

The winners of the Irish software design competition will win a laptop each and their college will receive €1,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the championships in South Korea.

“Imagine Cup represents the next generation of technology and business leaders,” said Joe Wilson, director of academic initiatives in the Server and Tools Business Division at Microsoft.

“The students’ creativity and passion speaks volumes about the promise of technology to really make a difference in peoples’ everyday lives, in the way we think, and in how we work and communicate.”

By Marie Boran