Life-like skin for surgeon training tops NUI Galway innovation awards

4 Oct 2018

Bronwyn Reid McDermott, inventor of Sutureself and first prize winner at the NUI Galway Explore Innovation Awards 2018. Image: NUI Galway

The inaugural NUI Galway Explore Innovation Awards has thrown up some impressive creations, including life-like skin for surgeon training.

In a bid to highlight some of the impressive work being undertaken at NUI Galway, the university held the first Explore Innovation Awards open to both students and staff of the university.

With the hope of one day making their ideas a viable business or social enterprise idea, the awards were presented at a recent ceremony hosted by the university’s innovation office.

The winner of first prize in the student category was named as Bronwyn Reid McDermott, a master’s student in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Her innovation – called ‘Sutureself’ – is an artificial, life-like skin for surgeons to train with.

The winners of the second prize were revealed to be Eoghan Dunne, Eviasmar Almeida and Guilherme Vaz de Melo Trindade (all PhD students in the Translational Medical Device Labs) for their project ‘I can see you now’. This seeks to use imaging technology to develop a medical device that will improve patient diagnosis for prostate cancer.

Coming in third place in the student category was PhD student Aidan Breen of the College of Engineering and Informatics whose ‘Blue Spots Parking’ idea aims to help drivers with a disability to locate accessible parking spots across the country. The project is set to launch later this year.

Staff awards

In the staff awards category, first prize went to Dr Orla Richardson for her project ‘P4C’ which works with schools, community groups and organisations that want to think more deeply and effectively.

Second place went to Dr Peadar Rooney of Cúram, Dr Diana Gaspar of Remodel and Remedi researcher Joshua Chao, winner of Researchfest 2017 . Their project ‘Three Blind Mice’ aims to create podcasts to promote science communication to non-scientific audiences.

The final prize in this category went to Dr Ed Osagie from the Insight Centre for Data Analytics whose project ‘CDN’ aims to create crowd discounts using network effect models.

“Over 30 applications to the competition were received and we are delighted to invest close to €10,000 in supporting these early-stage ideas,” said David Murphy, director of innovation at NUI Galway. “The team will support the students and staff involved through the next stage of their projects.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic