University of Galway IdeasLab students join Stanford Innovation Fellowship programme

A trio of students from the University of Galway IdeasLab have joined with colleagues from across 67 educational institutes in 15 countries to become University Innovation Fellows.

The inaugural fellows in University of Galway are Mia Shanley Brookes (Medicinal Chemistry, 2024), Sophie Spellissy (Computer Science and Information Technology, 2025) and Ciaran Cox (Biomedical Engineering, 2028).

Mia, Sophie and Ciaran are working as advocates for lasting institutional change with university leaders, lending the much-needed student voice to the conversations about the future of higher education and entrepreneurship.

The students participated in a six-week training experience during which they learned to analyse their campus ecosystems and identify opportunities for change related to innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking, and creativity.

They worked to understand the needs of peers on the University campus and apply this new knowledge and perspective to design new educational opportunities for their peers.

In early 2024 the student team will prototype a new programme that focuses on shadowing start-ups and early-stage companies to better understand how firms work and what types of roles students may wish to undertake once they are finished university and moving onto their next chapter.

A core theme of the programme supports responsible futuring and the team look forward to travelling to the University of Twente in 2024 to build skills and expertise and connect in person with the UIF community of over 2,000 faculty and students from across the globe.

University of Galway is the only Irish University who have taken part in the UIF programme.

Dr Natalie Walsh is a Faculty Innovation Fellow with Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( and the Director of Entrepreneurial Development in the University of Galway.

Pictured: Stanford Fellow University of Galway students Ciaran Cox, Mia Shanley-Brookes and Sophie Spellissy.

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