‘We are a group of creative problem-solvers innovation experts, including leading academics, entrepaneurs, tech thinkers, agricultural innovators, and design thinking practitioners.’
The Innovation Academy at the University College Dublin adopts a highly action-oriented approach to teaching and learning. The teaching is grounded in academic rigour with emphasis on the practical application of education in a real-world context.
The Academy annually work with over 1000 learners from different walks of life, ranging from UCD Undergraduates to PhD students and professionals from Industry across all sectors. The Educational Hub focuses on ‘learning by doing’ and their students apply themselves by responding to real challenges, facing companies, public sector organisations, start-ups, SME’s (small and medium sized enterprises) and NGO’s (non-governmental organisations).
A team of Innovation students from the academy work together on challenge briefs designed by businesses and organisations. The pupils create problem solving methodologies, ultimately delivering a creative concept and/or prototype for their ‘Project Host’. The subjects of the briefs are unique and varied, one example could be using 3D printing to design a concept or prototype to solve a problem in a particular field. For the students this offers a great opportunity to practice what they have learned in class and gain real experience and for ‘Project Hosts’ it is a unique opportunity to gain a new perspective on an existing problem from the next generation of entrepreneurs, leaders and thinkers.
3D printing is set to revolutionise science, technology and the arts. The Innovation Academy wanted to recognise the potential of 3D printing and devised a Maker Challenge the ‘3D PRINTER HACKATHON’. The competition offered students the opportunity to explore 3D printing by assembling and demonstrating their own 3D printer.
The academy’s philosophy is that the only way to understand 3D printing technology is to build it, break it, fix it and improve it with your own hands, therefore they provide the parts – and the students offer the technical and creative spark of genius! With the theory that ‘teams that have fun get more done!’