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3D printing competition invites you to ‘Shape the Future’ for a sustainable world

Thursday, 1 August, 2019

Artists, designers, entrepreneurs and young people are invited to ‘Shape the Future’ with their ideas for 3D printing with a sustainability theme. Image credit: Henry Segerman, David Bachman, and IMAGINARY. (opens in a new window)https://imaginary.org/hands-on/stereographic-projection-globe

(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 Gallomanor 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 (opens in a new window)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: (opens in a new window)https://shape19.imascientist.ie/partners/

Competition entries close Monday 30th September at 5pm.


For more information please contact:

Sylvia Leatham, Communications & Engagement Manager

I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing

01 716 2956; 087 62 88 355

(opens in a new window)leatham@i-form.ie

Who can enter?

We have five categories:

  1. Art - What expresses sustainability? What does a third dimension add? A sculpture, a piece of jewelry? How will 3D printing help you impart a message about sustainability or the environment?
  2. New Product - We’re looking to help entrepreneurs make their vision real. What’s your idea to help the environment? Let us create a prototype for you.
  3. Rebuild - Missing a part to an engine, vintage car or old piece of kit? 3D printing gives us a chance to avoid replacing broken machinery and appliances. Show how this can help the planet.
  4. Under-18s - Advanced manufacturing is changing the way we develop and build the products we buy and use. It’s going to affect young people more than anyone else. At least one final space is being held for someone under-18.
  5. Surprise us - We don’t know what ideas are out there so we have a wildcard category. Let your imagination run free!

Anyone normally resident in Ireland can enter. Use the online entry form (opens in a new window)https://shape19.imascientist.ie  and upload a sketch or detailed description of your idea. Entries can be from individuals or teams. (Note: People working in or studying 3D printing full time are excluded from entering.)

What happens then?

Entries close Monday 30th September at 5pm. Our shortlisting panel will choose a finalist from each category based on meeting the technical criteria and having the potential for a successful manufacture. 

Each finalist will be paired with a researcher from I-Form and together create an entry page on the judging website. In November the site will be open to the public and Irish schools will ask questions and book live chats to quiz the finalists and researchers about their idea and 3D printing. They will also vote on the entry they want to win.


The entry with the most votes will be designed and printed. A researcher from I-Form will work up the idea/design into a technical specification for printing.

This competition is funded by Science Foundation Ireland through the SFI Discover Programme, with support from I-Form. It is run by Gallomanor Communications Ltd, the team behind I’m a Scientist.

About Gallomanor

Gallomanor is an international provider of science engagement. They've been running ‘I'm a Scientist, Get me out of here’ in Ireland since 2012, connecting thousands of schools students with scientists and engineers.

About I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing

I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, is delivering the next level of understanding and control for complex manufacturing processes. Our mission is to shape the future of manufacturing through high-impact research into the application of digital technologies to materials processing. I-Form brings together a nationwide pool of expertise in materials science, engineering, data analytics and cognitive computing. I-Form is applying exciting developments in digital technologies to materials processing, to improve understanding, modelling and control, thus increasing the competitiveness of Irish manufacturing on the world stage.

Funded by Science Foundation Ireland, I-Form works with industry to advance the low-cost, low-risk design of new products and the manufacture of high-value components exhibiting enhanced material performance, while reducing processing times and achieving enhanced process reliability. I-Form is actively engaged across a range of different materials processing technologies, with a particular focus on Additive Manufacturing (3D printing).

I-Form is funded through the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. It is a partnership between University College Dublin, Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, Institute of Technology Sligo, the National University of Ireland Galway, Waterford Institute of Technology and the National University of Ireland Maynooth - along with strong collaborative industry engagement in sectors that include medical devices, aerospace, automobile and microelectronic components. See http://www.i-form.ie/ for more information.

UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering

UCD Engineering & Materials Science Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 1884 | E: mme@ucd.ie | Location Map(opens in a new window)