A team of NUI Galway Biomedical Engineering Masters students have been selected for a global innovation competition run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US. It is the first time a team from Ireland has been selected for the six month programme.

The IDEA² Global Programme provides transformative mentorship and expertise to emerging innovation leaders to develop their project ideas. Teams complete IDEA² Global with projects that address compelling medical needs, a broad network of connections and competitive financial pitching strategies. Teams often form companies as a result of the mentoring from IDEA² Global.

The three students, Oisín McGrath, Belén Enguix Chiral and Syed Kumail Jaffry, as part of their Masters thesis project are developing a novel wearable device that can detect intermittent heart arrhythmia symptoms more reliably than current approaches. Their project was motivated by the 35 million people suffering from heart arrhythmia globally. Given that 60% of these individuals experience intermittent symptoms which may only occur once per week or less, meaning symptoms can often go undetected with conventional approaches, the students are developing a more reliable method to aid patient diagnosis.

This project stemmed from a clinical need identified by the BioInnovate National programme, which is focused on innovation in the medical technology industry. BioInnovate Director, Dr Faisal Sharif at NUI Galway, said: “BioInnovate Ireland is delighted to support Biomedical Engineering students at NUI Galway for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology IDEA² programme. The selection of these students for this prestigious programme in the US demonstrates the high calibre of education standards and also students at the University. It is also heartening to see that high quality unmet clinical needs emerging from BioInnovate Ireland are further endorsed internationally through programmes such as IDEA² at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

Professor Peter McHugh, Dean from the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for our students at NUI Galway, and is a wonderful endorsement of the quality and international standard of the Masters of Engineering programmes that we have introduced in the College in recent years. We wish the team the very best in the programme, and look forward to bringing their positive experiences and learnings back to Ireland to fuel the development of our educational programmes and Irish high tech industry.”

As part of the six month programme the team will receive innovation training, presentation skill building, and team-specific mentorship and guidance by internationally-recognised experts. In addition an NUI Galway team representative will attend workshops in Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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