Undergraduate Awards open for applications from students around globe

16 Jan 2013

Some of the winners of the 2012 Undergraduate Awards pose for the launch of the 2013 awards programme

An awards programme that originated in Ireland in 2008 to recognise the brightest creative thinkers and problem-solvers through their undergraduate coursework has now expanded to include 100 universities and institutes globally.

From today, undergraduate students from across the island of Ireland, as well as 100 universities and institutes globally, can submit their research papers to the 2013 programme.

Oxford University, MIT, California Institute of Technology, University of Hong Kong and the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, are examples of the 100 global institutes that are now involved in the Undergraduate Awards.

The founders of the programme are Trinity College Dublin graduates Paddy Cosgrave, also the founder of the Dublin Web Summit and of F.ounders, and Oisin Hanrahan, also a co-founder of the US start-up Handybook.

The 2013 Undergraduate Awards programme is open to students in their final or penultimate year of a degree course and covering every academic discipline.

Programme director Louise Hodgson said the awards seek out the next generation of creative thinkers and problem-solvers.

“The programme attracts students who, at a very early stage in their academic careers, are already researching solutions to the pressing problems we face as a global community and turning commonly-accepted theories on their heads,” she said.

To give an example, past winners include Sami Khan from University of Toronto. He won an Undergraduate Award last year after he came up with a novel new toilet design for developing countries. University College Cork medical student Fred English won an award in 2009 for his research on developing a cure for the pregnancy condition pre-eclampsia.

The Undergraduate Awards gets backing from corporate partners, including Google, KPMG and Digicel.

The award’s organisers are expecting up to 4,000 submissions from students this year. Winning papers will then go on to be published in the Undergraduate Journal.

Next November, the nominees for the 2013 awards will be invited to attend a summit in Dublin. The idea of the three-day event will be to provide a networking platform for undergraduates, leading researchers and entrepreneurs to share ideas.

Submissions to the Undergraduate Awards will be accepted until 24 May.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic