Cork schools win national design challenge with 3D printing

Competition was part of a Europe-led initiative to help create healthy communities
(L-R) Sinèad Herlihy, CBS Primary Charleville; Prof Denis Dowling, I-Form; CBS Primary Charleville student, Dr Triona Kennedy, Stryker; Sandra Minogue and Michael O'Sullivan Principal, CBS Primary Charleville

9 December 2021

Two primary schools in Cork have been named as winners of a national design competition, Manufacturing a Healthy Future, which used 3D printing to respond to health challenges in their local community. The European-funded project trained 56 teachers across three countries on how to design and print using a 3D printer. In Ireland, 25 teachers and their 750 pupils are taking part in the programme

CBS Primary Charleville and St. Patrick’s Boys’ National School were named as winners of the competition, which was initiated by I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, and Stryker, a leading medical technology company.

Supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Manufacturing, the project challenged young pupils to design and create projects to improve health in their own community, using 3D printing as a creative tool.




I-Form and Stryker have been working with primary school teachers throughout 2021 to empower them with the skills to bring manufacturing technology into the classroom. The programme is also running in schools in France and Estonia.

The senior autism spectrum disorder (ASD) class in CBS Primary Charleville designed sensory fidget toys aimed at improving well-being for themselves and their classmates. Third class in St Patrick’s designed a ‘learning desk’ aimed at helping children with autism to communicate their needs and emotions in a non-verbal way. Both schools were awarded a €2,000 technology support package for their school, along with gift vouchers for the children.

I-Form and Stryker are also collaborating on the EIT Manufacturing funded Discover Manufacturing programme for second level schools across the island of Ireland. This project is providing 3D printing training for teachers and engaging students in a Design Thinking challenge to improve health or well-being.

The winners of the all-Ireland ‘Discover Manufacturing’ health challenge have been named as Loreto College Mullingar, Cabra Community College, Campbell College, and Sperrin Integrated College.

Dr Triona Kennedy, senior research manager, Stryker, said: “At Stryker, our mission is to make healthcare better and that is only possible through people. Partnered with I-Form at University College Dublin, we are connecting through teachers with young people who will help make healthcare better in the future. Our team of engineers, scientists and designers at Stryker have been so impressed with each entry to the health challenges from both primary and secondary schools. The future for healthcare is in great hands.”

“We were delighted to see so many young people involved in these innovative EIT Manufacturing programmes, engaging 1,750 pupils across the island of Ireland, and 2,500 in total across Europe,” said Prof Denis Dowling. “An imaginative, creative approach to problem-solving is a key skill, which is highly sought after by industry and will be a critical factor in enhancing Europe’s manufacturing competitiveness, in the decades ahead. As the manufacturing sector evolves, we hope to inspire young people to prepare now for the jobs of the future, and also to provide key support to teachers, who are crucial influencers of students.”

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