IT Sligo Invests in 3D Printer to Support Regional SMEs

 Companies in the region can take advantage of a €90k investment in advanced 3D printing facilities which has been made by IT Sligo as part of the CREST project.

Complementing existing equipment in its prototyping laboratory, the new printer can generate high quality 3D models of products and components in a range of plastic materials.  The equipment is available for use by SMEs who seek support from IT Sligo or other CREST partners through the CREST project.  

CREST, the Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies, is a €3.5m EU funded cross-border project aiming to help companies in the region to develop or adopt new renewable energy and sustainable technologies through the provision of targeted support and facilities.

Through CREST, IT Sligo has linked up with South West College in Northern Ireland, Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre and Dumfries and Galloway College, on the west coast of Scotland, to provide the service. 

Mel Gavin, CREST R&D coordinator at IT Sligo, said: “The 3D printers allow us to help inventors, designers and entrepreneurs create prototype components for testing, verification and demonstration.  The speed of printing means that components can be made, tested and redesigned if necessary with greater efficiency than traditional prototype manufacturing.” 

He added: “What we’re aiming for is to help the inventors to get their prototype fully designed for production.  We’ve already supported a number of local companies to develop products which are heading for the market.  It’s been very encouraging to see the level of innovation in companies and inventors in the region, and we want to help keep this going.”

3D printing is just one of the services being provided by CREST, usually at no charge to companies.  Among the four partner institutes and colleges a wide range of research, development and testing facilities are also being provided. These are available to SMEs in the border counties, Northern Ireland and parts of Western Scotland. The flagship CREST facility, the £1.2m CREST Pavilion, is currently under construction at South West College in Enniskillen, providing demonstration and testing facilities for state of the art sustainable technologies.

 Although knowledge-transfer between industry and colleges is relatively common, CREST is targeted mainly at SMEs who are new to the idea, particularly those lacking the resources for exploring the feasibility of a new concept, product or process.

Mel said: “It is a common problem for potentially entrepreneurial businesses that they haven’t the time, specialist knowledge or facilities to develop their ideas and bring them to market. CREST is helping to address this issue and is benefitting the local economy.”

Anyone interested in using IT Sligo’s 3D printing facilities or availing of other CREST support should contact Mel Gavin, tel no 00 353 (0)71 9305825 or email

CREST is supported by the INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the Special European Union Projects Board (SEUPB), with match funding provided by Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment and Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland.





Pictured:  Mel Gavin and Leo Murray of CREST with the new 3D printer at IT Sligo

IT Sligo Renews Pledge on Strong Civic Role

IT Sligo has signed up to a nationwide initiative intensifying the involvement of Higher Education bodies in the life of the community.
Twenty institutions spanning third level education in Ireland took part in an official launch by the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Ruairi Quinn TD, at Dublin Castle.
The “Campus Engage Charter on Civic and Community Engagement” builds on pioneering similar national agreements supported by institutions in other countries including Australia, UK and the US.
The 10 point declaration underscores the commitment of the signatory institutions to civic and community engagement roles and responsibilities.
Ms Ann Higgins, Head of Department of Marketing, Tourism and Sport, represented the IT Sligo President, Professor Terri Scott, at the event.
The charter has been developed by Campus Engage, a HEA funded national initiative which works with 17 higher education institutions to enable and embed civic and community engagement activity across campuses and communities.
Campus Engage promotes community-based research, community-based learning and volunteering. Hundreds of community-based organisations currently work in these fields with the staff and students of the participating higher education institutions.
Congratulating the charter’s signatories, Mr Quinn said “Today is an important recognition of commitment by Ireland’s higher education institutions to build on what has been achieved to date and place Ireland at the fore internationally in terms of promoting civic and community engagement by higher education.
“The importance of ‘engagement’ is recognised in the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 and in the HEA’s performance framework, which both ask higher education institutions to engage openly with their community and wider society and for this to infuse every aspect of their mission.”
Mr Paul Hannigan, President of Letterkenny Institute of Technology and Chair of Institutes of Technology Ireland, said, “This Irish Charter aligns us with best practice and captures the essential principles and the underlying purpose of engagement with communities as well as with enterprise.”
Dr. Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin and Chair of the Irish Universities Association, said, “Civic engagement benefits both students and communities. Students get transferrable, ‘work-ready’ skills through accredited learning realised in volunteering, and community-based research and learning. These activities improve students’ capacity for problem-solving and critical thinking. Communities are enhanced by students’ energy and engagement with the public good.”
Irish Universities Association
Pictured: Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Ruairi Quinn TD, with Higher Education institution presidents and representatives, including Ms Ann Higgins (second left), representing IT Sligo, at the “Campus Engage Charter” signing ceremony

IT Sligo Hosts Key Forensic Science Event

Forensic science specialists have been delving into some of the finer points of their work at an event in IT Sligo organised by one of the profession’s leading international organisations.

The choice of venue by the UK-based Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (CSFS) is seen as prestigious recognition of IT Sligo’s leading role in the development of third-level studies of the specialism in Ireland.

“Being invited to host the event is in itself a mark of the Institute’s high standing in promoting undergraduate studies in this multi-faceted discipline,” according to Dr Aodhmar Cadogan, who lectures in Forensic Science at IT Sligo.

“We regard it as a very welcome stamp of approval for what we are doing and we are delighted to be able to host it.”

The two-day workshop, based on a busy programme of theory and practice, brought together ten academics and practitioners and focused on written interpretation of evidence. Attendees included representatives from De Montfort University and Teesside University in the UK and well as participants from Athlone IT, IT Sligo and IFIC Forensics.

Dr Cadogan explained: “In a court for example, unlike other witnesses a forensic scientist is asked to give his or her opinion about evidential material. As an expert witness, the forensic scientist will often be questioned on a written report that may have been prepared many months previously. So, it is vital that they are adept in professionally compiling and presenting those reports.”

CSFS is an international professional body with members in more than 60 countries.

In January a forensic science course at IT Sligo became the first in Ireland to be granted CSFS accreditation. The accolade was awarded to the BSc (Hons) Forensic Investigation and Analysis programme, which currently has some 130 students.

Accreditation signifies that the degree programme’s taught and practice components and IT Sligo’s scientific facilities and staff expertise meet the Society’s highest standards.

UK universities similarly accredited include Keele, Kent, East Anglia, Portsmouth and King’s College London.

Forensic Science event web

Participants at the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences workshop at IT Sligo are, from left, workshop convenor Peter Smith, Felstead Forensics,with Marce Lee-Gorman, CSFS representative in Ireland, and IT Sligo lecturers Sharon Barrett and Fiona McArdle. 


Are you an Early Years leader?

Ireland’s early years sector has a dynamic, exciting and challenging future. It needs effective and confident leaders across the fields of practice, policy, advocacy, regulation, education and professional development.

  • Do you have what it takes to be one of those leaders?
  • Do you want to develop your leadership skills and capacities in ways that reflect and build the capacity of the early years sector?
  • Do you want to be part of the community of practice that will bring the early years sector in Ireland to its next stage of development?

If the answer to these questions is yes and you have at least two years experience in or related to the early years, then IT Sligo has the postgraduate programme that will help you to fulfill these ambitions.

The Institute’s new Postgraduate Diploma/Master of Arts in Leadership and Early Years Childhood Care and Education will develop key skills to help you build your own leadership capacity, to shape and influence the key organisations and agencies in the early years sector, and to effectively bring about real change.

The programme is structured around two modules each semester (Semester 1 runs from September to January; Semester 2 from January to May). You will be engaged in online content that will include online lectures (six per module) from lecturers and key leaders and experts in the field; online discussions and activities; access to digital resources; and share your own experiences. Each semester there will be a residential school in Sligo (first one is international) that brings you together with your fellow participants, academic staff and leading figures in the early years to engage in lively debate, extended learning, assessment activities and keynote lectures.

Assessment on the programme will be through a broad variety of student-centred and active techniques such as reflective journals, essays, work-based projects, digital screencasts, simulations and presentations.

The contacts and friendships you develop through this course will provide the basis for the leadership networks and communities of practice in the future.

For more information, click here or contact the programme coordinator Róisín McGlone at

Childcare web




IT Sligo Leading a National Education Revolution

Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn T.D. this week recognised the role of IT Sligo in revolutionising education in Ireland.

During the ACE (Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship) conference at Farmleigh House on Monday, he met IT Sligo academics who are involved in enterprise promotion studies, and Paul Murphy, inaugural winner of the Institute’s Entrepreneurial Student Scholarship.

Paul, who is a student on the Creative Design and Innovation degree programme, has devised and designed an online aid system for people who have dyslexia.

Over the past six years IT Sligo has worked with seven other Higher Education Institutes as part of the ACE Consortium to introduce enterprise and entrepreneurship education in non-business courses.

“We all know that business students learn valuable financial and management skills but it is also vital that those studying other disciplines such as engineering, creative industries and social sciences learn essential business skills,” says Roisin McGlone, a lecturer in the School of Business and Social Sciences.

By learning to think in an entrepreneurial way, graduates are better prepared for the world of employment or self-employment.”

The ACE Conference was the venue for the launch of the Campus Entrepreneurship Enterprise Network (CEEN) which will provide a network for educators to share resources and support the introduction of enterprise education in non-business disciplines across their campus.

In addition to driving the entrepreneurship agenda in third level education, CEEN will work with primary and secondary educators to integrate entrepreneurship and enterprise education into Irish education.

Roisin McGlone said: “Irish education must be innovative. It needs to adapt to meet the changing needs of graduates. It is not enough to teach technical skills. Entrepreneurship is a mind-set. It is a suite of skills. It is an ability to assess problems and find solutions.

“By teaching entrepreneurship, we give our children the toolkit they need to design their own future. This is the era of the ‘Entrepreneurial Graduate’ in Irish Education and IT Sligo is proud to lead this way in this major educational change.”

Paul Murphy, who is on the Creative Design and Innovation degree programme, is from Claremorris, Co Mayo. The Entrepreneurial Student Scholarship is jointly funded by IT Sligo, Foroige’s Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and ACE.


Minister with Sligo IT Team


Pictured: Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn with IT Sligo representatives, from left, Cathy O’Kelly, lecturer in Business, Dr John Pender, Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences, Paul Murphy, Student Entrepreneurship Scholar, Dr Perry Share, Head of Department Social Sciences, and Roisin Mc Glone, Lecturer in Social Sciences. 

Study Architecture in the West of Ireland

Institute of Technology, Sligo is delighted to announce the launch of a BA (Hons) in Architectural Design, which is professionally accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

This degree course offers students a clear path of progression towards a career in Architecture.

IT Sligo is now the only provider of architectural education in the north-west of Ireland. It is also the sole centre in the west of the country to have a RIBA-validated Architecture degree, which is recognised globally.

The course focuses on what is expected to be a growing need in Ireland – the transformation of buildings from traditional purposes to contemporary and sustainable re-use.

” Our programme is tailored to tap into the potential for repurposing, restoring, and reimagining existing buildings in  addition to fulfilling the criteria for mainstream architectural education  ,”  explained Bernadette Donohoe, Programme Chair for Architectural Design at IT Sligo.

“For too long, the tendency in Ireland has been to knock down existing buildings and make way for new ones, with little consideration for the urban fabric, conservation of our heritage and the carbon footprint that building a new structure leaves,” she said. “People are beginning to take a more considered and sustainable approach towards building development.”

Trevor McSharry, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering and Construction at IT Sligo, expressed his delight with the launch of the new programme. He believes it will cater for a growing skills need in Ireland. “Reuse and retro-fitting of existing buildings will lead to significant employment in the near future,” he said. “Given the reported emerging shortage of construction graduates, now is a great time to study in this field as the construction sector recovers to a sustainable level of activity. “

IT Sligo pioneered Interior Architecture 15 years ago. The course was the first to achieve formal recognition from the European Council of Interior Architects.

For more information on IT Sligo’s new course offerings, visit


Pictured: IT Sligo graduate James Huxley preparing for a student exhibition.

IT Sligo To Host Major Sports Conference

Several of Sligo’s leading sports personalities are lending their support to the 11th National Coaching Forum, organised by Coaching Ireland, which will take place at Institute of Technology Sligo, on the 26th-27th September 2014.

This Forum promises to be the biggest and most extensive gathering of professionals and volunteers involved in coaching sport. It will attract coaches, tutors, sports development officers, physical education teachers, sports scientists and policy makers. Leading National and International presenters will take part in this event titled “Fun to Full Potential – Coaching the Whole Athlete”.

Speaking at Tuesday’s event, Michael McGeehin, Director of Coaching Ireland, paid tribute to the role of the coach in the development of sport in this country. “This event is a great opportunity to further enhance their development and drive towards excellence, through collaboration and knowledge sharing.”

Roddy Gaynor Lecturer & Programme Co-ordinator for Bachelor of Business Recreation and Leisure described IT Sligo’s hosting of the National Coaching Forum as a major boost for the north west region. “This is the first time that the National Coaching Forum has been held outside Dublin or Limerick,” he said. “Sport plays a central role in the Institute’s participation in Community life here. We’re delighted to be hosting such a prestigious national sports event.”

The Forum will combine keynote speakers, with practical and applied sessions, with opportunities to network with coaches from different sports.

Keynote speakers will include Billy Walsh (Head Coach of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) High Performance Team, Richard Bailey (Philosopher and Sport Scientist), Niels De Vos (Chief Executive of UK Athletics), Sergio Lara-Bercial (Senior Research Fellow at Leeds Metropolitan University, International Council for Coaching Excellence) and Missy Parker (Course Director Teaching Physical Education, Sport & Physical Activity MSc).

The 11th National Coaching Forum will take place in the Institute of Technology, Sligo. For further information and registration details, visit


Launch photo 1

(Pictured L-R): Johnny Martin (Sligo GAA), Charlie Harrison (Sligo GAA), Roddy Gaynor (IT Sligo) Professor Terri Scott (President, IT Sligo), Deirdre Lavin (Sligo Sports Partnership), Michael McGeehin (Coaching Ireland), Joe Taaffe (Chairman, Sligo GAA), Liam Óg Gormley (Sligo GAA).


Launch photo 7 Rovers


(Pictured L-R): Michael McGeehin (Director of Coaching Ireland), Raf Cretaro (Sligo Rovers), Gavin Dykes (Sligo Rovers),  Ciaran Kelly (Sligo Rovers),  Roddy Gaynor (IT Sligo).

IT Sligo Showcases Engineering Expertise

IT Sligo will continue to build on the widely acknowledged success of its provision of flexible “on the job” upskilling learning courses that meet the needs of employers and employees.

That was a keynote message from Dr Brendan McCormack, Registrar of IT Sligo, in an address to a national audience of professional engineers in industry, public service and academia.

Collaboration with employers and education innovation were prominent themes of IT Sligo’s contribution to the national conference of Engineers Ireland, held in Sligo and organised jointly with the body’s North West Region.

As engineering staff from IT Sligo’s School of Engineering and Design demonstrated recent examples of innovative engineering education and research, conference participants were keen to test their interactive skills and scrutinise results.

Staff from the Institute’s Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies (CREST) provided briefings about research and development support that CREST gives to the companies in the North West region.

Outlining the Institute’s expansion of online learning programmes over recent years, Dr McCormack said demand continues to grow for tailored programmes that deliver the most up-to-date knowledge of specialist industry disciplines made accessible through online education..

“IT Sligo is an academic institution that has a proven record in providing education how and when employers and employees need it,” he said. “The Institute’s proactive approach has been very strongly welcomed by industry in general,” he said.

In addition to its many full-time courses that equip IT Sligo students for graduate-entry roles in a wide variety of occupations, the Institute works in partnership with employers to design and deliver bespoke programmes, he explained.

Dr McCormack, who is a Chartered Engineer, said: “These programmes are delivered online to increase accessibility and facilitate a flexible learning environment that enables the student in employment to take the course whether or not they attend a live class.

“We currently have a portfolio of over 40 courses delivered to some 50 industries across the country. On these online courses, students typically do not travel to Sligo and receive all of their classes and course materials online.”

Exhibits of IT Sligo innovation at the conference included: an online training rig that allows students to conduct control system analysis and experiments remotely; interactive remote robotics programming; a demonstration of the Institute’s ground-breaking MOOC (massive open online course) on Lean Six Sigma Quality, for which 2,400 students from 45 countries registered.

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IT Sligo to offer Jobseekers free places

IT Sligo is offering 270 free places to jobseekers in Science, Technology and Engineering.

These courses are being offered as part of Springboard 2014, which was launched nationally on Monday. The courses are tailored to meet key job growth areas in Biopharmaceutical Science, Information Technology and Polymer Technologies.

‘’These courses are free, part-time, online and completed within one year while students continue to receive their social welfare payments,” explained Jean Gilligan, IT Sligo’s Springboard Co-ordinator. “The courses are accredited programmes for those who are currently unemployed and confer Certificates on graduation from levels 6 through to Post Graduate level 9.”

This year’s courses address skills shortages in the following areas:

  • Level 6 Cert. in Biopharmaceutical Processing
  • Level 6 Cert. in Cleanroom Manufacturing
  • Level 7 Cert. in Biopharmaceutical Processing
  • Level 7 Cert. in Bioprocess Engineering
  • Level 8 Cert. in Biopharmaceutical Science
  • Level 9 Cert. in Biopharmaceutical Science
  • Level 6 Cert. in Polymer Technology
  • Level 8 Higher Diploma in Science in Computing


Online learning courses are designed for students who want to study part-time and at a pace that matches their work life balance. Through a combination of online delivery technologies such as  web- casting of live lectures and access to high quality recordings, IT Sligo has established itself as a national leader in online learning.

‘’The online lecture delivery of this course was very user-friendly and facilitated my participation in this course which was being delivered on the other side of the country,” said Waterford-based Sorcha Byrne (pictured), a 2013 Springboard student. “I was able to study at my own pace and in my own home. “
Springboard aims to help participants up-skill to restart their career and get back to work. It is a Government-funded initiative, coordinated by the Higher Education Authority,  which provides free, part-time, accredited training programmes for those who are currently seeking work.

For more information on IT Sligo Springboard courses email: or visit


IT Sligo Engineering Students win National Award

Mechanical Engineering students from IT Sligo have won a prestigious Engineers Ireland Innovative Student Engineer of the Year Award.

Ruairi McGee from Derrykillew in Donegal, Anthony Mannion from Ballyshannon in Co. Donegal, Gary Lyons from Balla in Co. Mayo, and Niall McHale from Kilfian in Mayo scooped the top award for their Willow Harvester project,  which is used for whole stem harvesting of biomass crops.

The Willow Harvester prototype provides a cost effective harvesting solution for smaller, dispersed willow growers and will be field tested this summer.  The students became involved in this project through the Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies (CREST, project, which provides R&D support to regional SMEs.  The intention of the Willow Harvester project is to provide a vital link in the biomass supply chain.

“This is a very prestigious accolade for the students and the mechanical engineering programme at IT Sligo,” said Michael Moffat, Programme Chair of Mechanical Engineering at the Institute. “The students deserve tremendous credit for the work they put into their project.”

A second IT Sligo engineering project was also shortlisted for the National award. Niall Hunt from Roscommon, Ciaran Duffy and David Acheson from Glaslough in Co Monaghan, and Damian Conlon from Kiltimagh in Co Mayo developed a portable lift or ‘Port-a-lift’. It’s a practical and versatile lifting solution for the repair and maintenance of small to medium-sized vehicles,and can can be used both indoors and outdoors. It was developed by four students:

“We saw a niche in the market,” explained Niall. “We went to rallies. We could see that the rally service teams were crawling under cars and it was highly dangerous. So, we thought we could come up with a product that would help make life a lot easier for these rally teams.”

Engineers win


Engineers Ireland Innovative Student Award Level 7 winners Anthony Mannion, Ruairi McGee, Niall McHale and Gary Lyons from IT Sligo.


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