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December 03, 2008

Imaginate 2009: Design Competition for Secondary Students


NUI Maynooth today launched Imaginate 2009, a Product Design competition for all secondary school students in Ireland, heralding the EU’s Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009. Students are invited to enter the Imaginate 2009 competition to “Design an Object for the Classroom of the Future” by submitting a design concept on a poster before 6th February 2009.

Imaginate 2009, is organised by the Product Design academic staff at NUI Maynooth. The competition is supported by some heavy hitters from industry and state bodies who are anxious to encourage creative and innovative thinking in tomorrow’s generation. Intel, the world leader in silicon innovation, RTÉ and Enterprise Ireland are the main supporters of the competition.

David Fleming is Manager of the Intel® Innovation Centre in Leixlip, Co. Kildare where the leading on-line and teaching resource™ was developed. David explains: “Intel is committed to encouraging students to pursue careers in areas such as Science, Technology, Design, Engineering, and Mathematics and we are delighted to support the Imaginate 2009 competition. We see innovation and creativity as central to the successful future of Intel and to Irish industry in general".

Celine Clarke, RTÉ Corporate Events Manager said: ‘RTÉ is delighted to support to Imaginate 2009, a new competition to encourage creativity, innovation and design among young people across the country. We look forward to promoting the competition on RTÉ.ie and webcasting the Imaginate awards ceremony in early April.’

While the EU has promoted 2009 as the Year of Creativity and Innovation, a key part of Enterprise Ireland’s mission is to help develop creative and innovative industries in Ireland. Declan Lyons, manager of Research, Design and Development in Enterprise Ireland, agrees that Product Design is a key discipline where technology is creatively applied to produce innovation.

Most importantly, everyone agrees that innovation and creativity can be fun, and extremely satisfying. Frank Devitt and Damini Kumar at NUI Maynooth are delighted to have found a way to make Product Design relevant to secondary students, in a practical way. They explain: “By encouraging creative thinking in all secondary students, they will come to realise that innovation is not just a fuzzy idea, but can have real, practical and rewarding results. We will invite the winning students on campus to NUI Maynooth to carry out detailed design and build physical prototypes of their winning concepts, using our latest Computer Aided Design and 3-d Rapid Prototyping (3-D printing) equipment.”

As part of the support package for the competition, Damini Kumar, Imaginate Competition Director and Programme Director of the Product Design Course at NUI Maynooth, has created online video guidelines for teachers running an Imaginate 2009 session in a 40 minute class. There are similar video guidelines for the entrants themselves.  “It is important to us that entry for students is as easy as possible – we want them to focus their energies and creativity on coming up with innovative designs”.

The closing date for receipt of poster entries is 6th February 2009. Students may prepare in groups, but are asked to submit individual posters as their own work. There are special prizes for individuals and schools as well as individual cash prizes up to €500 for first, second and third places in each of the two categories, defined by school year (1st -3rd year and 4th – 6th year)

Full details of the competition may be found at