Press Office


Apps the way to do it


Newcastle University is challenging its students to devise a mobile phone 'App' to improve life on campus.

The competition, organised by students from the University’s Entrepreneurial Society, has tasked students to submit their ideas for a mobile device that would support the students’ experience with  £1,000 on offer for the winning app idea.

The first stage of the competition has seen a wealth of ideas submitted from right across the University with the most feasible ideas going on to be considered by computer experts to progress into finished apps.

An app to help University societies and clubs keep in touch with their members – called NCL Space -won first prize in this first ideas round. Its designer, Olle Muronde, a first year computer scientist, said: “When you first get to university it’s hard to keep track of everything. I missed several events because I just didn’t know they were happening.

“With my idea for an app it will much easier for freshers and other students to keep up to date with what their societies and clubs are up to. It will also allow you to find out what societies your friends have joined so you can too.”

Other ideas included one to make textbooks more easily available, an app to help new students find their way around campus and another which turns mobile phones into a University smart card, giving access to buildings even if you have forgotten you card.

Another of the first stage winners was Joshua Simmons with his CampusBuzz app idea.

Josh said: “In a sense, CampusBuzz is a messaging system not dissimilar to Twitter, but for campus only. Tags can be attached to posts for easy identification and filtering. The design is intentionally simple to give a high level of freedom for anybody posting.

“It’s a communication tool that connects students, societies and anybody else within the university system. It can be used to announce society events, free give-it-a-go sessions, Union events, University news, and anything else that students should know about. Students could use CampusBuzz for selling books, recruiting for a sports team or anything they might need help for.

“It’s basically a one-stop shop for student life.”

Daniel Thompson, President of the Entrepreneurial Society, said: “We have had a great response to the competition. Many of them were very innovative, which is exactly what we were looking for.

“A lot of students have smart phones these days and with apps becoming more and more popular it seemed the right time to run a competition like this.

“Many of the ideas show great promise and hopefully they will prove to be popular when we see the finished apps. Any of the ideas submitted could now be made into real apps.”

The next stage of the competition will be to develop the apps for use on campus in time for the new student intake in September. If they prove popular they could be rolled out on campuses across the country.

Professor Chris Brink, Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University, said: “Improving our students’ experience of living and studying on campus was at the heart of the app competition and that is why I was delighted to support it.

“Thanks to the commitment, knowledge and enthusiasm of our Entrepreneurial Society and assistance from the Students’ Union and Careers Service, the competition has been a resounding success; attracting over 250 entries and capturing the imagination of students in a range of subjects to devise ways of harnessing the latest mobile technology to make life easier for all those studying at Newcastle.”

published on: 26 April 2012