Third level students from Ukraine and Ireland have received an innovative solutions award for a project that aims to improve lives and education across Europe.

Postgraduate and undergraduate students from the three participating universities collaborated virtually to propose a solution that improves lives and education in the Ukraine and across Europe. The teams addressed challenges such as security for refugees and those living in Ukraine, ways to reduce misinformation and disinformation, improving collaboration across Europe, and between Ireland and Ukraine, improving access to education and digital literacy for all and ways to support human mobility across Europe.

Each team was supervised by mentors  Prof Markus Helfert, Dr Joseph Timoney and Dr Zohreh Pourzolfaghar from Maynooth University, Dr Marian Slabinoga and Prof Igor Liutak from Ivano-Frankivsk National Technical University of Oil and Gas, and Prof Olga Mozgalli and Dr Olena Derzhuk from Kyiv National Economic University, both in Ukraine. The winning project, Ecotrack, brought together Ryan Joseph Smith Cahill and Ahmed Lahli from Maynooth University, Anastasia Krikunova, Kyiv National Economic University and Ostap Denysiuk Ivano-Frankivsk National Technical University of Oil and Gas.

The team proposed an app that allows users to track their activities and their impact on the environment. The goal setting nature of the app encourages personal responsibility and habitat formation to help the environment and address carbon emissions.

Ecotrack app has six key features; a carbon footprint tracker, personalized recommendations of climate activist and environmental content, goal setting, community sharing, rewards, educational resources, and investment opportunities related to environmental initiatives.

Larysa Gerasko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Ireland, commended the students, stating: “The Innovation Challenge competition is a testament to the power of international cooperation between Irish and Ukrainian universities. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the winners of this competition. Your hard work, creativity, and dedication have earned you this recognition, and I commend each and every one of you for your outstanding achievements.”

Teams were assessed on the quality of their ideas and solutions, the potential of their solution to create social and/or commercial impact, level of both technical and business implementation and demonstrated potential to scale. Students were asked to submit their solution as a proposed technological digital solutions, preferably in the form of Proof of Concept (PoC), a prototype or minimum viable product concept and/or business plan.

The awards were presented at the annual IVI summit hosted by Maynooth University which brought policy, industry and academic stakeholders together to discuss the theme ‘Co-Creating the Digital World beyond 2027.’