The Irish Times Innovation Awards 2024: Everything you need to know

The Irish Times Innovation Awards, now in their 15th year, is inviting entries for 2024

(From left): Kieran Coffey and Fiona Kelleher of MyGug, Julie Connelly and Matej Ulicny of AI Mapit, Prof Denis Dowling of Infraprint, Muhammad Yassin and Muneer Sawaied of Genicity, and Hannah Thornton and Colin Morrissey of Orreco, all winners at The Irish Times Innovation Awards 2023. Photo: Conor McCabe

Ireland’s entrepreneurs are invited to enter The Irish Times Innovation awards.

Now, in the event’s 15th year, the awards celebrate innovation in every sector of Irish society and business.

Over the years, finalists have varied from college spin-outs and kitchen table start-ups through to major corporates, charities and sporting/cultural organisations. The common thread through all is that they have delivered positive change with an innovative product or process.

This year’s awards are split into five categories and entry is free and easy. Simply answer our short questionnaire after registering.


Three finalists from each category will be selected by a panel of judges. The finalists will then pitch their innovation to another high-profile judging panel, with the winners of each category, and the overall winner, announced at a special event in the autumn.

Last year’s overall winner was Galway-based sports data company Orreco for its AI-powered Te@m platform, which combines its established machine learning algorithms with a software model that provides advance warning of illness and injury risk. The platform and its modules are now in full use with multiple teams in the English Premier League and a host of renowned global soccer, NFL and NBA teams.

Founded by sports scientist Brian Moore and consultant haematologist Andy Hodgson in 2010, the company uses machine learning and data analytics to monitor the health of sportspeople, helping to accelerate recovery and prolong careers.

Other winners last year included SFI Adapt Centre spinout Ai Mapit, Infraprint, based at UCD’s innovation hub NovaUCD, Galway-based company Genicity, and Cork start-up MyGug.

The categories

Applications are welcome from both public and private sectors, individuals and community groups. Simply choose the category that most closely fits your innovation.

SUSTAINABILITY, sponsored by Skillnet Ireland

Covering innovations in economic, environmental and social sustainability

IT & FINTECH, sponsored by Mason Hayes & Curran

Covering innovations in hardware, software, security, telecommunications products and services, including the growth in technology in the financial services sector, particularly around payments and processing.

LIFE SCIENCES & HEALTHCARE, sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland

Covering innovations in biology, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, botany, zoology and related medtech sectors.

NEW FRONTIERS, sponsored by UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

Covering any innovations that do not fall into any of the above categories – for example, those in the area of social enterprise.


Covering innovations in the fields of product design or innovative approaches to manufacturing processes.


The winner of this award will be chosen from the final five innovations in the categories above by the judging panel. This category is not directly available for public entry.

How it works

Innovation can be complex, but entry to the Innovation Awards is easy and free. Entries should be based on an operational, service or product innovation introduced into the target market in the period September 1st, 2022, and September 13th, 2024. The innovation may be business and/or customer and/or society focused, and its impact should be proven and measurable in qualitative and quantitative terms. There is no fee to enter. The rest is up to you.

1. Register your interest

To register for the competition, you need to provide us with some information about your organisation to ensure you are eligible. Once you have registered, you will be able to download your application form.

2. Submit your application form

Once complete, you can email your application to by no later than Friday, September 20th, 2024.

3. Selection process

After the closing date, all applications will pass through an initial screening process. They will then be read and marked by leading industry experts before the shortlisted organisations are announced in October.

4. Final judging process

Shortlisted organisations will be invited to present their innovation to our final judging panel in October. All shortlisted candidates must be available to attend this presentation day. Further information on the details and timing for the day will be provided by October 13th.

5. Awards ceremony

All shortlisted candidates will be invited to a networking and presentation event on Wednesday, November 13th, 2024 in CHQ, Dublin city centre. Further details on the event will be announced in due course.

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The closing date for receipt of your completed application, as stated, is Friday, September 20th, 2024.

Hints & Tips

To assist you in making your application to the 2024 Awards, we have pulled together some hints & tips, which we hope will answer some questions you may have.

Category selection: It may be the case that your innovation spans a couple of categories. If so, our advice is to select the category with the best fit for your innovation. During the judging phases, if the judges feel that you would be better suited in another category, they will move your application, and you will be notified of this change.

Presentation: Make sure your application is easy to read by trying to avoid industry jargon. You must seek to keep the reader interested throughout the whole of the reading.

Remember the objective: Some applications in the awards process can lose valuable marks because they don’t fully and clearly explain their innovation. The application is your “shop window”, so make the most of it! Your objective is to clearly detail your innovation and highlight what is unique about it.

Appropriate length: With several hundred applications to read through, it is important that you keep your application form concise and to the point. As a guide, answers to each question should be no longer than a maximum of 200-400 words.

Verification: Ensure that what you state in the application is accurate, including any claims about patents or projected sales/deals. Use your prior trading experience, provide external data and research results to back up what you say.

What the judges are looking for

Clarity: Remember that the judging panel is a mix of people from various walks of life and they may not be as well-read on your area as you are. Get someone outside your business to read through your application and point out any areas where it is unclear.

Best on market: Clearly explain what makes your idea better than the rest of the players on the market.

Money matters: If you have financials and bottom line figures to back up your claims, don’t be afraid to include them.

Jargon buster: In line with the clarity point, avoid getting caught up in either industry-specific or general management jargon. People associate its use with someone filling space because what they have to say doesn’t stand up on its own.

Deadline time: Don’t leave the application to the last minute. Preparing it early leaves you time to get feedback from friends and make the best effort to get your points across.

Michael McAleer

Michael McAleer

Michael McAleer is Motoring Editor, Innovation Editor and an Assistant Business Editor at The Irish Times