IT Sligo students shortlisted for top award.


Two groups of Mechanical Engineering students from IT Sligo have been shortlisted for the prestigious Engineers Ireland Innovative Student Engineers Award.

This is the fifth consecutive year that students from the Institute’s Level 7 Mechanical Engineering course have been shortlisted. IT Sligo previously won the overall award in 2010.

The two shortlisted projects this year are:

1 – A Portable Lift known as ‘Port-a-lift’.
This is 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: Niall Hunt from Roscommon, Ciaran Duffy and David Acheson from Glaslough in Co Monaghan, and Damian Conlon from Kiltimagh in Co Mayo. The quartet have a keen interest in motorsport.

“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.”

2- Willow Harvester

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 have been shortlisted for their project, which is used for whole stem harvesting of biomass crops.

This 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.

“To have these projects selected for the finals is a major achievement for the students, the Mechanical Engineering Programme and IT Sligo,” said Michael Moffat, Programme Chair of Mechanical Engineering at the Institute. “This is the first time that two projects from the same college have been shortlisted for the final of the Level 7 competition.”

The final will be held in Dublin this Friday, June 6th.

Photo by

Mechanical Engineering students: Damian Conlon, David Acheson, Niall Hunt and Ciaran Duffy with their ‘Port-a-lift’.

Photo by

Niall McHale,  Anthony Mannion, Gary Lyons and Ruairi McGee with their Willow Harvester prototype.