NUI Galway Students Take the Lead on Innovation

Monday, 5 March 2012

NUI Galway and the Students’ Union have joined forces to introduce a new model for students and university staff to work in equal partnership to deliver innovation on campus. The first scheme of its kind in the Irish third-level sector, the EXPLORE Innovation Initiative at NUI Galway takes student engagement to a new level. Students and staff team up, devise an innovative, sustainable project, apply for €1,000 funding and, where successful, deliver this project within a six-month time frame.

EXPLORE is inspired by successful student engagement initiatives at a number of UK universities. Whereas the UK focus has mainly been around strengthening learning and teaching, EXPLORE firmly emphasises innovation and turning ideas into reality. What makes this programme unique is its commitment to equal partnership between students and staff, as opposed to the traditional student/ teacher relationship, and the fact that projects are not a part of regular coursework.

The scheme is currently being piloted at NUI Galway, but the hope is that it will be rolled out and become a permanent feature of university life, subject to interest and availability of funding. 

Launched in January 2012, EXPLORE has already received an outstanding response from both staff and students. 17 projects, with over 80 project participants, spanning technology, the arts, learning and teaching, innovation and collaboration and the environment have already been granted funding.

The projects aims to focus on improving an element of campus life with the dual purpose of giving students more influence in bringing about positive change at the University, while simultaneously utilising the campus environment as an incubation unit for trying out a project on a small scale before possibly turning it into larger-scale venture.

NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Emmet Connolly, said: “This initiative is a new and exciting opportunity for students to really engage with their campus community in putting innovative ideas into practice. I would encourage all students to get involved.”

Commenting on the new initiative, Professor Chris Curtin, Vice President for Innovation and Performance at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway is committed to improving the performance of the University by bringing about change through innovation. I welcome the partnership with the Students’ Union in delivering the EXPLORE initiative. It is a practical way for students and staff to put their ideas into action whilst shaping the campus of tomorrow.” 

EXPLORE is supported by NUI Galway’s Bright Ideas Initiative and the Student Projects Fund.

-ENDS-

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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