Undergraduate summit gets underway

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Forty of the worlds brightest students met Taoiseach Enda Kenny today as part of the inaugural Undergraduate Awards Summit.

The students were brought to Dublin for a three-day Summit, considered a Davos for students, which will consist of networking events, talks and hands-on workshops such as Batman vs. Einstein, Are Academics the New Superheros?, Where Is That Corporate Ladder & How Do I Get On? and Unleashing Your Inner Misfit.

The Undergraduate Award winners represent the foremost minds and new ideas emerging from the world's third level institutions.

The Taoiseach described the initiative as impressive and said it was "wonderful" to see the students in Ireland.

As part of the three days of events, which begin today, the summit will also host the Forum on Higher Education, which will bring together international leaders, pioneers and academics to discuss disruptive education and the impact of technology on traditional approaches to learning.

The forum will highlight alternative models of higher education including Open University, Coursera and iVersity. It will look into taking academia out of the classroom and putting technology in, UA programme director Louise Hodgson said.

Conference speakers include Conrad Wolfram, who was recently named as one of Britains 50 New Radicals for his disruptive theories on maths education; Start-up Britain founder Rajeeb Dey, who at 26 is the World Economic Forum's youngest ever young global leader; and author Kyra Maya Phillips who recently researched the similarities between Google and gangsters. Her book The Misfit Economy, due to be published by Simon Schuster in 2014, looks at what the black market can teach the public about innovation.

Award winners and nominees will be joined by a selection of international young entrepreneurs, researchers and graduate recruiters for what has been called a pop-up incubation day.

Founded by Paddy Cosgrave and Oisín Hanrahan, the Undergraduate Awards is an Irish initiative that identifies future pioneers, disruptors and thought leaders through their undergraduate research.

The conference will draw to a close this Friday with President Michael D. Higgins presenting the winners with awards at a ceremony in the Royal Kilmainham Hospital.

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