The Mayor of Sligo, Cllr Rosaleen O’Grady, on Monday honoured the IT Sligo students who took first place in the world finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup with a civic reception in Sligo.
Political representatives, business leaders, representatives from Microsoft Ireland, members of the IT Sligo community, and the families and friends of the victorious students gathered in the Town Hall to mark their victory in the world’s leading student technology competition.
The team - Aíne Conaghan, a Fáilte Ireland Scholarship postgraduate research student from Ballybofey, Donegal; James McNamara, a student in the Department of Information Systems from Ballyfarnon, Co Roscommon; Calum Cawley, a mechatronic student from Castlebaldwin, Co Sligo; and Matthew Padden from Ballina, Co Mayo, a postgraduate research student in the Department of Information Systems – returned from the USA yesterday.
Speaking at the reception, Mayor O’Grady commended the students for their achievement; “Team Hermes’ success is a testament to the enterprise and ingenuity of the team members,” she said. “It also reflects great credit on the management and staff of IT Sligo, whose proven commitment to the highest standards in information technology and innovation is now very publicly acknowledged.”
President of IT Sligo, Professor Terri Scott said that, in fighting off competition from 70 countries worldwide, the students have placed IT Sligo and Ireland in a very positive position on a global stage; “This victory is one that everyone in Ireland can be proud of as it demonstrates our ability to compete successfully on a global stage.
“The win also showcases the creativity and technical skills of our students that are key to Ireland’s economic recovery. This is an exciting and timely profile boost for IT Sligo and the North West of Ireland.”
A number of representatives from Microsoft Ireland travelled to Sligo to attend the event. Speaking at the civic reception, Claire Dillon, Lead of the Platform Developer Group, said that the students have made national history; “The brightest of minds have harnessed their energy and talent to prove that the Microsoft Imagine Cup continues to inspire progress in an ever advancing technology industry.
“This year the outstanding calibre of young entrepreneurs has given an insight into the positive nature of what is to come from the next generation and business leaders. Team Hermes have pursued their project with an ingenuity beyond their years, which is the core principal of excelling in the technology sector, one must be creating the future before it happens.
“To watch the IT Sligo student’s whirlwind trip to success, competing against 350,000 global registrants and more than 400 students from all over the world in New York has been momentous, not just in Microsoft Ireland history but national history.
“They have produced a viable software system that is recognised as a global masterpiece in addressing an international problem on our roads,” she said.
The winning project designed by the students includes a device that plugs into a car and monitors dangerous driving behavior and road conditions, providing instant feedback to both the driver and the car owner.
With its victory, the team won $25,000 (U.S.) and the opportunity to benefit from further Microsoft funding and support.
For more information on the project and the team’s victory, see www.itsligo.ie