New UCD Student Innovation Fund awards €15,500 to six early stage start-ups

9 Apr 2014

(Left to right) Andrew Cullen, UCD engineering undergraduate; Robert Dowdall, UCD engineering post-graduate; Shane Keaveney, UCD engineering post-graduate; and Ciara Keane, UCD physiology undergraduate, at the UCD Student Centre

Six early-stage start-ups established by University College Dublin (UCD) students have been awarded a combined total of just over €15,500 through the university’s Student Innovation Fund.

Established by the UCD Student Centre and the UCD Students’ Union, the fund’s target was to encourage undergraduate and post-graduate student inventors and entrepreneurs by giving them the opportunity to secure funding to assist them in further developing their start-up ideas.  

Thirty start-ups took part in an event similar in format to RTÉ’s Dragons’ Den and a panel of judges whittled them down to six stand-out finalists.

Of the six finalists, mechanical and materials engineering PhD student Shane Keaveney received the largest sum of the six, €4,000, towards his start-up, with the help of UCD Energy Systems post-graduate Robert Dowdall, for the idea to develop a method of creating high-quality, dry, energy-dense pelleted material from low-quality, wet biomass or waste for fuel applications.

Other successful entrepreneurs included Ciara Keane, a UCD physiology undergraduate student, who received €3,000 in funding for her idea to establish a website that will allow women to read and review women’s health products all across the world, and Donal Tobin, a UCD economics and finance undergraduate student who received €1,000 to fund HireMe, a ‘LinkedIn for students’ to assist with graduate recruitment.

Speaking after the event, Dominic O’Keeffe, UCD director of student services and facilities, confirmed that after the success of this year’s Student Innovation Fund, they intend to continue running the competition for the next number of years.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic