NUI Galway recently held the EXPLORE Celebration Showcase celebrating over 80 innovation projects. Launched by NUI Galway and the University’s Students’ Union in 2012, the EXPLORE project supports students and staff to work together to pilot new ideas.
To date, EXPLORE, the first scheme of its kind in Irish higher education, has delivered over 80 new projects not only on campus, but also nationally and globally, with more than 500 participants.
Professor Chris Curtin, Vice-President for Innovation and Performance, at NUI Galway said: “EXPLORE is part of a wider initiative at NUI Galway to foster an innovative, ideas culture where students and staff are encouraged to come up with ideas and run with them. It’s about building a network of campus innovators. EXPLORE gives students a real opportunity to transform ideas into practice. But, it also gives them an opportunity to work hands on with staff on an on-going basis. I think this is a really important part of the EXPLORE initiative since many students experience staff at a distance in lecture halls, or in seminars, or in tutorials.”
The wider community benefits from EXPLORE as many projects are specifically developed to address societal needs, and the reach of EXPLORE projects already stretches into the thousands both on and off campus. Over 12,000 school children have directly engaged with EXPLORE, while digital teaching and study aids created by EXPLORE projects have had well in excess of 60,000 views. In comparison with traditional enterprise success and attrition rates, EXPLORE has an 85% project completion rate.
EXPLORE projects have recently been showcased at the Apple iStore, Regent Street, London; and The World Teaching and Learning Conference.
NUI Galway Students’ Union President Declan Higgins said: “The unique opportunity for students and lecturers to collaborate on these projects is invaluable. It invites both out from the oasis of their comfort zones to the realm of the uncertain – often times with excellent and inspiring results, and today is testament to this.