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Unprecedented entries for NISP competition

Representatives of the Top 24 were joined by Mark O’Brien of Bank of Ireland at Titanic Dock, where Northern Ireland’s past innovation meet Northern Ireland’s future innovation.
Rebecca Kincade on May 12, 2014 - 7:29 am in News

Ninety-two ground-breaking ideas with the potential to change how we live, work and play have been submitted as part of the Northern Ireland Science Park’s CONNECT INVENT 2014 competition.

The unprecedented number of entries was put forward to this year’s search to find Northern Ireland’s new heroes of innovation across six sectors- Creative Media and Consumer Internet; Agri-Food; Life & Health; Engineering; Electronics and Enterprise Software.

The 92 entrants have now been whittled down to 24 after a series of intensive initial pitches running between 24-30 April.

For the first time, this year’s competition (formally the 25K Awards) expanded to include not only research institutions, but any private sector company or individual with a breakthrough invention or prototype. Entries more than tripled.

The Top 24 include Autism Bio-tech, the world’s first diagnostic test for early and reliable diagnosis of autism; Write to Read, a mobile application to improve the comprehension and retention of words a person with dyslexia reads and See.Sense, a cycling Power Meter using their patent sensor technology.

The NISP CONNECT INVENT competition, in partnership with Bank of Ireland, is an opportunity for anyone with an innovative concept, from long established research scientists right through to a teenager with an idea for the world’s next big gaming app.

The Top 24 will now reveal their ideas to the public for the first time at a “Quick Pitch” event in an attempt to secure the much sought after backing that will turn their innovations into a commercial reality. The “Quick Pitch” event will see the chosen 24 pitch to an audience of 200 guests at W5 in Belfast on 27 May 2014, where 12 finalists will then be chosen.

NISP CONNECT Programme Manager, Peter Edgar said the high number of entrants demonstrates the wealth of innovation in Northern Ireland:

“To think that we saw 92 ideas which are contemporary, revolutionary and have the potential to be remembered for hundreds of years to come, is simply remarkable.

“We have such a great history of innovation in Northern Ireland- in fact, some of the world’s greatest inventions have their very birthplace here- so this is another step in celebrating our pioneering legacy.

“All the entrants have demonstrated real passion and belief, and we look forward to seeing many of these ideas become commercial realties.”

The Top 12 will take part in a unique six month programme which will see their ideas challenged, refined and cultivated in order to launch a successful start-up business.

Finalists will then pitch their business plans to a panel of experts in September and the winner will be announced at a gala Awards showcase in Belfast on 2nd October 2014.

Last year’s winner was ProAx-SiS, a Queen’s University Belfast team developing a range of novel medical diagnostic tests for patients with chronic conditions.

Julie Ann O’Hare, Business Banking Director at Bank of Ireland UK said:

“The quality and volume of entrants for INVENT 2014 has been fantastic. It clearly demonstrates the wealth of innovative talent that exists in Northern Ireland with real potential to contribute to economic prosperity. We are delighted to play our part in mentoring, challenging and supporting the finalists as they progress through the programme. Bank of Ireland UK believes that the programme continues to deliver real benefits in developing the commercialisation of these inventions.”

As part of INVENT 2014, the search is now on to find this year’s ‘Innovation Founder’- a person who has achieved distinction in founding, leading or building a celebrated local life sciences or technology based business.
The 2014 winner will address the gala dinner in October. Nominations are open until 28 May 2014.
Tickets to the “Quick Pitch” event on 27 May 2014 are available now on https://getinvited.to/nispconnect/quick-pitch/
For more information on INVENT, or to nominate an Innovation Founder, visit www.invent2014.co

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