Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has encouraged students from across Ireland to submit their projects to the 2012 Undergraduate Awards programme, an initiative that recognises innovation and critical thinking within coursework at undergraduate level.
Informally known as the ‘Big Bang Awards’ – a reference to the hit sitcom about gifted researchers – the Undergraduate Awards have now gone international, with students from the top 20 universities in the UK, USA and Canada now eligible to take part.
The awards got another welcome boost in recent weeks when President Michael D Higgins signed on as patron.
Launching the 2012 awards programme recently, Minister Quinn said: “Not only is it dedicated to the bolstering of our nation’s knowledge economy but it, too, is working to create a global community of independent thinkers and thought leaders from around the world who will convene annually in Ireland, showcasing the country as a great place for their ideas to flourish.”
According to UA programme director Louise Hodgson, past winners “have included people who’ve set up businesses and non-profits while still undergrads. These are the ‘most innovative of the best’ at undergraduate level.
“We’ve already received more than 1,800 registrations for this year’s programme from students as far afield as CalTech, McGill and St Andrews as well as from our own third level institutions.”
Winners of the 2012 Undergraduate Awards will be brought from around the world to Ireland for the three-day UA Summit in November where they will receive their awards from President Higgins. Students can submit their projects on the official website at www.undergraduateawards.com any time before 2 July 2012.