Press Office


Student developed app will help freshers


A Newcastle University student has won £10,000 after coming first in a competition to design and build an app which will help first years settle into campus life.

The Newcastle University App will be launched this week, in time to welcome the new intake of British and international students. The app, for iPhones and iPod touch, brings together many campus services in one easy place. It will enable students to access a timetable of their lectures, tutorials and seminars for the day, keep up to date with University and Student Union events, as well as provide a full telephone directory for all staff.

Students will also be able to find the nearest computer cluster with free machines, keep track of their printing credits, view a map of the campus with all buildings included, and keep track of job information, vacancies and events organised by the University Careers Service, all using the Newcastle University App.

It will be a one stop shop for University life.

Newcastle University App developer, Robert Cain, 27, from West Denton, Newcastle talked about where the ideas for the app came from. Robert, who is halfway through and PhD in Computing Science at Newcastle University, said: “I just thought back to my early student days, about what kind of features and services I would have found useful and came up with this app idea.

“When you first start at university all the information you receive can be overwhelming. But this app will let people keep track of the most important things like their lectures, but also make sure they don’t miss those social events!

“I had only ever made one small app before and that was a few years ago so I had to work out how to do it all over again. But it’s been a good challenge and it will look good on my CV.”

The money was offered by the University for the best ideas and execution of the finished app. There were seven entries altogether with cash prizes for first, second and third places.

Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University, Professor Chris Brink, who sponsored the competition, said: “Robert has come up with great idea with the Newcastle University App, and he has executed it well. I’m sure all our new students will find it very useful. More and more of our students have smart phones and it makes sense that they can access University services through their device.

“This competition is a great way for the University to support the creativity and drive of our students and it is something we will hopefully repeat in the coming years.”

The competition was run by students from the entrepreneurial society at the University. Dan Thompson, head of the society, said: “It was a real privilege to organise this competition. The standard of the entries was very high and several would have been good enough to be made into real apps.”

The Newcastle University App is now available from the App Store on iTunes.

published on: 21 September 2012