Dublin, July 31st - What does sustainability mean to you? Efficiency? Recycling? A better way of living? I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, and science engagement specialists Gallo manor are running a nationwide competition to turn an idea for sustainability into 3D-printed reality. 

The competition, which is supported through the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme, is open to anyone who has an idea to improve our world. Entrants are invited to draw and describe their idea and submit it to https://shape19.imascientist.ie. The winning entry will be 3D printed by I-Form researchers, and the winner will also receive EUR500 to spend on promoting their sustainability work.

I-Form, an SFI Research Centre hosted at University College Dublin, is shaping the future of manufacturing through high-impact research into the application of digital technologies to materials processing. I-Form’s research is changing how things are made, through combining advanced technologies such as 3D printing with data analytics and artificial intelligence in the manufacturing process.

“3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) opens up a world of possibilities, enabling us to make complex shapes efficiently for sectors as diverse as aerospace, medical devices and pharma,” said I-Form deputy director Prof Dermot Brabazon, of DCU’s School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. “Manufacturing with 3D printing can be a much more sustainable way to make things - by enabling parts to be produced close to where they are needed, as opposed to shipped around the globe; reducing the amount of waste involved in the manufacturing process; and enabling inventory to be kept to a minimum, with parts only produced as and when needed."

“I-Form and Gallomanor are inviting artists, designers, entrepreneurs and young people to submit their own ideas around sustainability to our competition. We look forward to being inspired by the entries and working with the winner to create an original 3D printed design.”  

Shortlisted entrants will be paired with I-Form researchers and together will pitch their idea to an online audience; the winner will be decided by public vote. The competition judges, who will decide on the shortlist, are:

  • Prof Dermot Brabazon, I-Form Deputy Director, School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Dublin City University
  • Dr Ruth Freeman, Director - Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland
  • Dr Jonathan Derham, Head of Programme - Office of Evidence & Assessment, Environmental Protection Agency
  • Dr Deirdre Ledwith, WE 3DP Application Engineering Lead, Henkel Ireland 
  • Colin Keogh, 3D Printing Engineer, The Rapid Foundation
  • Anthony Greene, Youth Volunteer, Ballymun Regional Youth Reach

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director - Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland, said: "3D printing has the ability to translate an abstract ethereal idea into a physical reality. As a judge I'm hoping to see the intersection of science, art and engineering produce a physical object that changes, in some small way, our view of sustainability and how we take care of our planet."

Colin Keogh, 3D Printing Engineer, The Rapid Foundation, said: "3D printing has so much potential, and so have the various communities of makers, entrepreneurs and students in Ireland. I'm really looking forward to seeing some ideas that might seem quite out there at first, but if printed could make us think differently about how we can improve our environment."

A number of partners have already committed to supporting and promoting the competition, including the National Youth Council of Ireland, Midlands Science, Limerick Festival of Science, Dublin Maker, Science Gallery, Coding Grace, Women in Technology and Science, The Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, and TOG Dublin Hackerspace. A full list of partners is available here.

Competition entries close Monday 30th September at 5pm.