This post was written by ISTC staff member Kirsten Walker.
Damian Coughlan is no stranger to the International Sustainable Electronics Competition. For two years in a row, the now Ph.D. researcher at the University of Limerick has won a Silver award for his entry Loopbook (2012) and as part of a bigger team with the entry Laptop Design for the Future (2011).
We recently caught up with Damian to see how the competition has affected his educational and career aspirations. Coughlan stated, “Receiving the Silver Award in this competition has had a huge impact on my current circumstances. Since graduating with my degree in August 2012 I have received a scholarship to continue research towards a PhD. The funding is being provided by the Irish Research Council and the European Recycling Platform. I had mentioned the award from 2012 as part of my application and I have no doubt that these awards helped me considerably. I have now started the PhD in Sustainability since October 2012. I visited TU Delft in the past week to gather some feedback for my research and my presentation featured my awards which definitely helped raise my profile. My current research is looking at the subject of electronic waste [and] the possibilities of reusing the waste in a different context.”
This year, as an optional extension of the competition, the UIUC Technology Entrepreneur Center has offered to provide constructive feedback to students who opt-in as part of their submission. This advice is not a means of taking a concept to market, but is offered as a resource for entrants to explore furthering their concept with appropriate resources. When we asked Damian about his plans for Loopbook, he stated, “Regarding the Loopbook, I had considered the option of bringing it to market but currently I feel there are too many barriers to be overcome by technology before the Loopbook could be ready as a consumer product. However I do still think that it could be a great idea if it could be fully developed. I do think the option of bringing a possible product to market would be great outlet for the competition and innovation.”
We wish Damian the best in his Ph.D. studies and research. We know he will be someone to look out for in the future of innovative computing technologies.
As a reminder, registration for this year’s competition opens on September 1, 2013. See the competition web site for complete details. Registration is free, and cash prizes are awarded.