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NCU dominates national S&T competition

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Innovation powerhouse Northern Caribbean University (NCU) has retained first place in the National Science and Technology Competition hosted by the Scientific Research Council (SRC).

In fact, the Mandeville-based institution walked away from the annual National Science and Technology Fair held at Hope Gardens on July 4 with first and second-place positions.

Last year, team 'Pneulyfe', led by professor of Microbiology, Patience Alonge, brought home the first-place trophy as well as the best commercial product trophy. She again led this year's winning team, consisting of Yanque Yip, Orlando Hamilton, Oshea Nelson, and Dr Gordon Lightbourn. Their research project, 'SoTare, the Root Tube Hydroponics System', presented a way to battle production expenses and land space for growing of yams and sweet potatoes, while simultaneously fighting deforestation and current heavy environmental issues.

The second-place team presented the 'Pet Eat Timing System' to better manage feeding times of animals and pets. The group was led by faculty member Keron Tooma and included students Tyler Foster, Ryan Dixon, Ramon Nelson, and Jermaine Smith.

Five research groups from NCU initially entered the SRC competition, but only four, specifically from the colleges of Natural & Applied Sciences and Allied Health & Nursing, were selected to participate.

The team led by Nadia Washington-Daley and supported by Professor Alonge, Orlando Beckford and Mandy Mullings, did exceptionally well. Their all-natural honey-based smooth hair product displayed extended shelf life of over a year, which is due to the combination secret of the product. It was wel- received by booth visitors; and they enlisted volunteers to use the product this summer. They will hopefully, be entering the competition again in 2020 with their amazing product “Bee Happee”!

Commenting on NCU's prowess at innovation, Professor Alonge said that the unique relationship between the faculty, staff and students has allowed these young minds to channel their untapped potential into such a productive pathway. She added that along with the students' smartness, the Christ-like fellowship at NCU has created a holistic ambient/wonder place for their minds to be transformed and achieve successes.

In his congratulatory remarks, NCU President, Dr Lincoln Edwards, said that the performance of the students and their faculty leaders continued to demonstrate the institution's “growing reputation as a centre for applied research”. As an example, he pointed to the recent launch of Zon Teasan, a nutraceutical product that resulted from initial scientific work done by NCU researchers.

Dr Edwards also pointed to other competitions which the university has won in recent years:

* Winner of the Microsoft Imagine Cup on behalf of Jamaica (2010)

* Winner of National Business Model Competition (2014-2017)

* Winner of International Business Model Competition (2018)

* Winner of the Girls in ICT Caribbean Hackathon (2017-2018)

* Winner of the National Science and Technology Competition (2018-2019)

* First runner up of the Girls in ICT Caribbean Hackathon (2019)

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