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February 08, 2008

Microsoft Launches 2008 Imagine Cup Competition For Irish Students


Last year’s winners embark on a journey to bring their college project to market.

Students from NUI Maynooth are today (Feb 4th) travelling to Silicon Valley to complete a three week programme designed to help them transform their college project into a commercial reality. As part of the programme they will have the opportunity to meet Microsoft chairman, Bill Gates. The trip is part of their prize for winning last year’s Imagine Cup competition, and they joined Microsoft Ireland today to encourage Irish students to register for Imagine Cup 2008 on before February 8th. This year’s competition encourages students to "imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment".

Last year over 200 students from 25 third level colleges across the North and South of Ireland entered the competition. It was Ireland’s first time to participate in the Imagine Cup and two Irish teams participated in the global finals in South Korea. Students from the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) secured second place in the Web Development competition while students from NUI Maynooth finished in the top six of the overall Software Development competition.

Based on their performance at the finals, the team from NUI Maynooth was chosen to travel to the United States to participate in an innovation programme which has been designed to help them transform their project into a commercial business.  Dan Kelly, from the NUI Maynooth team said, “2007 was a fantastic year for us. The competition was an amazing opportunity for the team and now we’re off to the United States to see how we can bring our project forward. The whole Imagine Cup experience has been amazing and we’d highly recommend it. It was fantastic fun. We hope that this is the beginning of something big for us and we are very excited to be meeting Mr Gates.”

Liam Cronin from Microsoft Ireland said, “Imagine Cup 2007 was a phenomenal success. The passion and enthusiasm of the students and the faculties took us by surprise. The quality of projects submitted by Irish teams far exceeded our expectations and that standard was reflected in the success of our teams in the world finals. We are looking forward to building on that success this year and we hope there will be lots of Irish teams at the world finals. The Imagine Cup is designed to encourage students to pursue careers in technology, engineering and the sciences by demonstrating the practical and innovative applications of their work and attract the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.”

Last year, Microsoft brought together a group of leading companies to support the initial Irish Imagine Cup competition. The success of last year has seen those sponsors return and a number of new sponsors getting involved. This year the Gold sponsors are Enterprise Ireland and Riverdeep Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. Other sponsors include Lenovo, Imag!ne Telecommunications and Lero, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre.