University College Dublin wins Alltech Ireland’s third annual Innovation Competition

  • Dr. Aoife Lyons with the UCD team
  • UCD team receiving their first prize

Alltech hosted its third annual Innovation Competition which took place at European headquarters, Dunboyne, Co. Meath. A total of six universities competed for the top prize of €4,000. University College Dublin (UCD) students, Catherine O’Connell, Rebecca Fitzgerald and Shannon Coco claimed first prize with their innovative Moo Shoe concept. The Moo Shoe is a brand new idea that will provide farmers with a solution for preventing cow lameness.

The Moo Shoe is made from durable, antifungal polyurethane and rubber. The shoe slips securely over hooves, eliminating the need for glue or nails, and it prevents the primary causes of lameness. “When researching and developing our idea, we were amazed to discover that little exists on the market to prevent lameness. The average cost of lameness per cow in Ireland is a staggering €283, whereas the Moo Shoe ensures infection-free and injury-free hooves for a minimal cost per cow,” said Rebecca Fitzgerald.

Each university had 20 minutes to present their ideas to a panel of judges and 10 minutes for questions. This year’s competition had a diverse set of judges: Dr. James Roche, an Emeritus professor at UCD and is a director of Urbana Scientific; Ross Hunt, co-founder of Agrilarity, a company dedicated to digitising and automating agricultural processes; and Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev, a finance lecturer at Trinity College Dublin and in the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. The competition was also facilitated by Professor Damien McLoughlin, head of the Marketing subject area and Director of Executive Education at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and Dr. Aoife Lyons, director of educational initiatives at Alltech.

The concepts presented by the university finalists were as follows:

  • University College Dublin – Moo Shoe
  • National University Ireland Maynooth – Moodley Manor
  • Dublin City University – The Summit Shaker
  • Dublin Institute of Technology – Hear Here Ltd
  • Trinity College Dublin – GreenCar
  • University of Limerick – Integrated digital marketing communications platform for small and medium enterprises  

Last year’s winner, Waterford Institute of Technology’s John Kennedy won the competition with his android app, Field Buddy. This app allows farmers to avail of GPS technology when fertilizing their fields, which in turn lessens waste and saves money for the farmer.

“These young people are a reflection of the talent and potential that Ireland has to offer,” said Dr. Aoife Lyons. “Alltech is known for working with our customers to identify problems and provide natural solutions. This year’s competition entrants displayed real insight, talent and knowledge. By combining academic expertise with innovation, each group had a potentially viable product to bring to market.”