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RCSI students challenged to be creative in tackling healthcare problems


119 students have taken part in RCSI’s Student Innovation Challenge Pitch Night, one of the largest healthcare related student challenges in Europe. The event, now in its second year, is the culmination of a number of weeks training for students in research design and thinking to develop ideas and innovations which have the potential solve some of the biggest challenges in healthcare.

Organised by the RCSI Office of Research & Innovation, in conjunction with the RCSI Research Summer School, 12 teams of student researchers pitched their ideas and innovations addressing five clinical challenges to a panel of judges working in venture capital and industry partnerships. This year’s panel included Fergus O’Dea, Venture Investment Leader, National Digital Research Centre (NDRC), Dr Eimear Gleeson, Life Sciences Venture Investment Associate, Atlantic Bridge and Dr Seamus Browne, Head of Industry Partnerships, RCSI Office of Research & Innovation.

Team PressiDect (Siobhan Ryan, Qasim Bari, Dola Thorta, Ayaka Yamaoto, Rosin Barker, Isadora Lamego, Wessal Esharif, Jack Kearney, Reanna Ramlogan and Briane Derham) pitched the winning innovation. Their idea is to develop a pressure detection device for use in the peri-operative and recovery setting of theatre. The innovative device focuses on improving the quality of patient care and outcomes post-surgery by providing continuous pressure detection with anatomically specific signposting for the prevention of ulcers. It includes software for visualisation and analysis that can be used in all peri-operative and recovery environments.

Pictured (L-R): Siobhan Ryan (PressiDect Team); Dr Eimear Gleeson (Atlantic Bridge, judge), Fergus O’Dea (NDRC, judge), Dola Thota, Qasim Bari, Ayaka Yamaoto (all from the winning PressiDect Team), Dr Johanna Archbold (RCSI Library, event facilitator), Dr Seamus Browne (RCSI Office of Research & Innovation, judge)

The students had been presented with clinical challenges by RCSI researchers in the areas of haemodialysis access (Dr Aamir Hameed), sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (Dr Hany El-Naggar), heavy menstrual bleeding (Dr Michelle Lavin), multiple myeloma & bone disease (Dr Siobhan Glavey) and pressure ulcers (Prof. Zena Moore).

The event was organised by Drs Sarah O’Neill, Seamus Browne and Johanna Archbold, with support from Dr Derek John, Emer Cummins and the Research Summer School Committee.

The RCSI Research Summer School Programme provides undergraduate students across all campuses (Dublin, Bahrain and Perdana) an opportunity to become involved in research projects during the summer months. Students selected for the programme spend eight weeks in the summer in a laboratory or clinical setting, working on a research project under the supervision of an RCSI Principal Investigator. This structured programme includes Research Skills Workshops and the Friday Discovery Series, whereby our students directly interact with researchers from the research community. During this time students are also encouraged to participate in laboratory/clinical meetings, data analysis and journal clubs. At the end of their eight-week project, students are required to submit an abstract, a completed poster and a presentation of their research findings.

RCSI is ranked among the top 250 (top 2%) of universities worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2018) and its research is ranked first in Ireland for citations. It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide. RCSI is a signatory of the Athena SWAN Charter.


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