Belfast Telegraph

Students scoop €10,000 prize at awards for ‘drink spike’ product

By Symon Ross

A team of students from the University of Ulster have claimed a €10,000 prize after winning the title of Ireland’s College Entrepreneur of the Year 2010.

The won the top prize at the Enterprise Ireland Student Enterprise Awards for developing a a product that can identify whether a drink has been spiked.

The hotly contested all-island competition is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland and Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and attract submissions from over 250 students each year.

As well as the cash prize the University of Ulster team — Philip Anderson, Clare McCollum, Gordon Baird, Gareth Shappard and Judith McNally — will also be provided with a mentor by Enterprise Ireland in order to develop the commercial viability of their overall concept.

It is the second prestigious award won by the Dipsticks project after business and marketing student Clare McCollum clinched the top prize in the 2010 Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow awards.

‘Dipsticks’ enables the efficient detection of whether drugs have been added to a drink. The new product consists of a strip of paper impregnated with chemical reagents, which give a visual indication of the presence of drugs in the liquid being tested.

This provides users with a continual test that is built into the stirrer, convenient and free for consumers.

Another team from UU known as Ecotent also left the Enterprise Awards smiling, after they claimed the Most Technologically Innovative |Idea gong.

The product — developed by students Houston Reid, Stephen Caldwell, Terri O’Kane and Jonathan Garland — is a two man tent constructed 100% from biodegradable materials that aims to solve the problem of cleaning up after music festivals.

They took home €7,500 |plus €20,000-worth of free consultancy.

University of Ulster academic Dr Fred Scharf also received a prize worth £4000 in recognition of the academic institution with the highest quality projects overall.

Congratulating the award winners, Republic of Ireland Minister for Trade and Commerce Billy Kelleher said: “Irish companies are innovation-led. The students show every evidence of playing a part in economic uplift.”

Belfast Telegraph