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Two South East Technological University (SETU) students are ‘honoured’ to have been shortlisted for the 2023 Siemens Innovative Student Engineer of the Year Award for their all-terrain wheelchair-accessible vehicle concept.

Organised by Engineers Ireland and held at their headquarters in Ballsbridge, Dublin, the annual awards encompass many engineering disciplines including design, sustainability, and tech among others.

This year's competition, which is open to all third-level institutions, saw over 30 entries compete with only five projects making it to the final.  

Among those were students Richard Fenlon and Peter Murphy who were studying a Level 7 BEng in Mechanical Engineering at SETU's campus in Waterford at the time - a course which they believe provided the knowledge and skills for them to undertake this capstone project.

Richard and Peter's novel concept aims to facilitate a more active life for wheelchair users. Designed and manufactured by the students in Waterford, the radical design can safely travel over all types of terrain in every conceivable weather condition. 

Showcasing the project 

While thanking his friends, family and staff at SETU, Richard noted that it was an "honour" to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award which offers students a platform to demonstrate ground-breaking ideas: "To be able to showcase our project to the judges who are all experienced in the industry was a valuable experience. Yes, it was a little bit nerve-wracking but the people at Engineers Ireland could not have been more hospitable."

He continued: "Most of the preparation beforehand was to the showcase and presentation. Peter and I completed the project back in May of this year, but the prototype had been left to one side for the summer. In preparation for the final, we made sure to revisit the key details, features and specifications so that we could comfortably explain everything to the judges on the day."

Further information about the event can be found here. To learn more about SETU's Waterford campus Mechanical Engineering offerings, tap here