Shaping Your Future Awards

Shaping Your Future Awards

Mullingar students celebrate victory at the ‘Shaping Your Future’ 3D printing innovation challenge

(Mullingar, 11th December) – Transition Year students from Loreto College, Mullingar have been named the winners of the ‘Shaping Your Future’ 3D printing innovation challenge. More than 100 students from four Midlands schools have been competing in the ‘Shaping Your Future’ programme since September, run in partnership by IMR, a Mullingar-based manufacturing research centre, and I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, at University College Dublin. The programme is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Discover call.

On Tuesday 10th December, finalists pitched their ideas to a team of judges at IMR’s high-tech manufacturing facility in Mullingar. Researchers from IMR and I-Form had issued a challenge to students: design and create something useful for a person with a disability, or a person in a disaster zone. The winning idea was a design and 3D printed prototype for a key aid called ‘Keyzy’ – aimed at helping Parkinson’s sufferers and those with tremors more easily slot a key into a keyhole and turn a key in a lock.

Robert Masterson, the winning team’s teacher at Loreto College, said: “Our students worked so hard throughout ‘Shaping Your Future’; I’m delighted to see their efforts recognised with this win. This project required imagination, teamwork, empathy and learning new technical skills. The competition has opened all of our eyes to the amazing possibilities offered by 3D printing, and we hope this win will inspire other students to consider how they could shape the future by using technology to benefit others.”

Irish Manufacturing Research CEO Barry Kennedy said: “We are delighted to be involved with the ‘Shaping the Future’ programme. The quality of the entries was exceptional and bodes well for Irish industry, with such fantastic ideas and skills being demonstrated by the students. It was a real privilege for us to be involved with these great schools, students and in particular teachers, who have taken the time to support the students and to learn about the exciting world of engineering and manufacturing of the future.”

I-Form Centre Director Prof Denis Dowling said: “Manufacturing is the second-largest employer in Ireland, but what we hear from our industry partners is that they are struggling to recruit the next generation of talented engineers, who need not only advanced technical skills but also skills in areas such as creativity and innovation, as well as the ability to collaborate and communicate. Our ‘Shaping Your Future’ programme aims to change the perception of manufacturing, by encouraging students and teachers to see modern manufacturing careers as exciting, innovative, creative, collaborative and well-paid.”

Margie McCarthy, Head of Education and Public Engagement, Science Foundation Ireland, added: “This is a great example of how the Discover Programme facilitates learning opportunities and sparks interest in innovative new skills, opening young minds and hearts across the country to the many possibilities that science and engineering offers.”

3D printing is changing how things are made by enabling manufacturers to produce complex geometries and custom products, with greater efficiency and less waste.

Four schools took part in the ‘Shaping Your Future’ programme: Scoil Mhuire in Trim, Meath; Ardscoil Phádraig in Granard, Longford; Columba College in Killucan, Westmeath; and Loreto College, Mullingar. Over the course of several weeks, IMR and I-Form researchers visited students in the classroom and then welcomed them into the IMR facility in Mullingar. Students were challenged to come up with an idea for a product, design it on a computer, and print a prototype using 3D printers that were donated to the schools through the global GE Additive donation scheme.

The finalists won a prize for their class and were presented with a 3D printed trophy designed by IMR researchers especially for the occasion.

The ‘Shaping Your Future’ programme has also included primary school interactions with St Kenny’s in Mullingar and Naas Community National School. Under the programme, 14 teachers from the Engineering & Technology Teachers Association participated in a day of 3D printing training, held at University College Dublin. Teachers also received lesson plans and classroom resources through the project.


Pictured above at the final are the winning team from Loreto College, Mullingar, with their teacher, Deputy Principal, members of I-Form and IMR and a representative from Enable Ireland.

Back row, from left to right: Sinead Lawlor, Deputy Principal, Loreto College; Oceane Laveau, Researcher, IMR; Barry Kennedy, CEO, IMR; Deirdre Clayton, Centre Manager, I-Form; Denis Dowling, Director, I-Form; John Tiernan, SeatTech Service Manager, Enable Ireland; Frederico Rossi, Researcher, I-Form; Mark Hartnett, Researcher, IMR.

Front row, from left to right: Niamh Dolan, Meadhbh Killalea, Kara Mulcahy, Ciara Mangan Lynch, Grace O Sullivan, Robert Masterson (teacher).



IMR Marketing,


About Irish Manufacturing Research

IMR’s vision is to enable manufacturing of all sectors and sizes to be leaders in the world of advanced manufacturing so that they can compete and thrive in the global economy.  As a leading manufacturing Research &Technology Organisation (RTO) with labs and industrial pilot lines in Dublin and Mullingar, IMR works with leading global and indigenous brands to de-risk and de-mystify new and emerging technologies & to deliver high impact collaborative research.  IMR’s ambition is to significantly accelerate the implementation of key elements of Ireland’s industrial strategy and enable Irish based manufacturers to be early adopters and winners in the fourth industrial revolution.  IMR will enable industry to capitalise on these opportunities and tackle the threats head-on, through a broad-based service offering to ensure industry has access to the latest technologies and knowledge in a timely fashion.


IMR’s comprehensive R&D program offers collaboration across the 4 thematic pillars: Digitisation, Automation & Advanced Control, Design for Manufacturing and Sustainable Manufacturing, to deliver solutions that enable industry to increase productivity, improve efficiency, upskill and build resilience, win new business and launch new products.



About I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing

I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, is delivering the next level of understanding and control for complex manufacturing processes. Our mission is to shape the future of manufacturing through high-impact research into the application of digital technologies to materials processing. I-Form brings together a nationwide pool of expertise in materials science, engineering, data analytics and cognitive computing. I-Form is applying exciting developments in digital technologies to materials processing, to improve understanding, modeling and control, thus increasing the competitiveness of Irish manufacturing on the world stage.

Funded by Science Foundation Ireland, I-Form works with industry to advance the low-cost, low-risk design of new products and the manufacture of high-value components exhibiting enhanced material performance, while reducing processing times and achieving enhanced process reliability. I-Form is actively engaged across a range of different materials processing technologies, with a particular focus on Additive Manufacturing (3D printing).

I-Form is funded through the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. It is a partnership between University College Dublin, Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, Institute of Technology Sligo, the National University of Ireland Galway, Waterford Institute of Technology and the National University of Ireland Maynooth – along with strong collaborative industry engagement in sectors that include medical devices, aerospace, automobile and microelectronic components. See for more information.