Defence Forces engineering project awarded funding under Public Service Innovation Fund


Defence Forces engineering project awarded funding under Public Service Innovation FundA Defence Forces project focusing on the remote disablement of explosive devices completed by students studying mechanical engineering at Institute of Technology Carlow has been awarded €50,000 funding under the Public Service Innovation Fund for future development. 

Students from the Ordnance School at the Curragh Camp, who are in their third year of the Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering at IT Carlow, were awarded funding for their project entitled DISARM (Disablement In-Situ Alternative Remote Mechanisms).

The funding awarded for DISARM will be utilised to assist in producing prototypes designed to safely disable explosive devices to an industrial standard.

DISARM evolved from a platform prototype of a semi-remote disablement tool developed last year by the Ordnance School and subsequently awarded the 2020 Defence Forces Chief of Staff’s gold innovation team award.  The mechanical engineering students continued this work and developed a suite of alternative remote disablement techniques for their class project, which they successfully submitted for the Public Service Innovation Fund.

Keith Smyth, Course Director Military Communications Systems and lecturer in the Department of Aerospace, Mechanical and Electronic Engineering, IT Carlow commented, “This is a great achievement for the students and the award is testament to the quality of their work and ingenuity. We are very proud of our collaboration with the Defence Forces and look forward to future successes together”.

Commenting on the initiative, the Chief Officer Instructor of the Ordnance School stated, “This project’s goals and successes to date have further strengthened and enabled the mutual synergy and successful collaboration between the Defence Forces Ordnance Corps and Institute of Technology Carlow. This symbiotic relationship has brought much success, not only in the academic development and accreditation of Ordnance Corps personnel, but is striding forward heavily in the field of applied research, development and technological innovation. It is hoped that this project will evolve and continue to provide practical engineering solutions to complex, real-world engineering problems.”

DISARM was one of 20 diverse projects awarded under the government’s Public Service Innovation Fund. The fund, which was established in 2019, is designed to support innovative ideas from public service bodies to promote collaboration and new and better approaches to service delivery in the public service.

Commenting on the awards, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD said, “The Public Service needs to be innovative and agile to effectively respond to the many challenges it faces. We need our public service to collaborate with the entire innovation ecosystem, including academia and industry, to solve some of the more intricate problems we face.”

“I want to congratulate the project leads receiving funding this year in what is a highly competitive process. The projects clearly demonstrate the willingness of public servants to work together to find better solutions. Many are collaborative and have demonstrated evidence of their potential to scale and transfer within, and in some cases outside their own sectors”, added Minister McGrath.

CAPTION: The DISARM operational prototype designed by engineering students at IT Carlow that has been awarded funding under the Public Service Innovation Fund for future development