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2021 Innovation Blues award winners named

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1 November 2021

The founders of A.I. hospital rostering and recruitment solution ventures, New Zealand Universities National League Case Competition winners and the Global EY Corporate Finance Woman of the Year have all been recognised as outstanding student innovators in the 2021 University of Auckland Blues Awards.

Blues Awards are a university tradition that originated from England. The blue colours of Oxford and Cambridge Universities came to symbolise sporting excellence and the tradition migrated to New Zealand where many universities have adopted the recognition and reward system. At the University of Auckland, Blues Awards have evolved to recognise excellence in other fields such as Arts and Culture, Service and Leadership, and Innovation.

Innovation Blues Awards applications were reviewed by a panel of senior University of Auckland staff. Finalists were chosen for an outstanding achievement in innovation that had created or enhanced a product, process or system which provides an effective solution to a challenging issue. This could have been in a social, environmental, technological or commercial context. Applications came from students of all study disciplines.

Most Meritorious Innovation award went to Isaac Cleland and Daniel Ge – founders of  RosterLab – winner of the 2020 Velocity $100k Challenge business planning competition. RosterLab has developed a state-of-the-art A.I. technique to create a fully automated rostering application for hospital staff. Their product significantly reduces the time and errors of manual rostering. RosterLab won an international nursing rostering award and is currently being trialled at multiple nursing wards in New Zealand. 

Director of the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Darsel Keane says “These achievements would be remarkable in any year, but to have accomplished so much during a global pandemic is truly exceptional. The world needs innovative capability more than ever and it is wonderful to see such aptitude rewarded.”

2021 Innovation Blues recipients

Isaac Cleland (Engineering) and Daniel Ge (Business)

Through their venture RosterLab, Isaac and Daniel have created a cost-effective and high-quality roster web application for nurses and doctors in the Health industry. Winning the Velocity $100k Challenge, their team interviewed nurses and doctors from numerous DHBs and identified challenges they faced with staff rostering that did not meet staffing needs. Their A.I. roster creation has enabled health care personnel to generate rosters automatically rather than manually which saves time and are more aligned toward staffing requirements. Many nursing wards in New Zealand are currently trialling their programme.

Issie Dekker (Business and Engineering), James Hancock (Arts and Business), Madeleine Tilley (Business and Law), Michael Smith (Business and Engineering)

Took part in the New Zealand Universities National League Case Competition. The team was required to provide a solution to an online sustainable farmers market company to improve performance and meet their goals. The team placed 1st in the competition. 

Kate Gatfield-Jeffries (Business and Law)

Law and Commerce student Kate won 1st place out of 3,426 applicants across 23 countries in the Global EY Corporate Finance Woman of the Year competition. This was the first time there has been an overall Global winner from New Zealand. She was also named Global EY Corporate Finance Woman of the year 2021.

Zifeng Liang (Business)

Postgraduate Commerce student Zifeng developed a candidate screening program called SkillsMe which uses A.I. to screen potential candidates on their soft skills, reducing HR’s time to do this manually. Collaborating with a large tech recruitment agency, Zifeng noticed that they were not keen on hiring inexperienced recent graduates. His creation has helped companies to discover hidden talents and reduce any biased evaluation of a candidate’s job application. SkillsMe is currently being subscribed by over 10 companies for talent screening based on positive feedback from satisfied customers.

University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education

Daniel Ge (left) and Isaac Cleland (right)

University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education

Daniel Ge (left) and Isaac Cleland (right)

social media

1 November 2021

The founders of A.I. hospital rostering and recruitment solution ventures, New Zealand Universities National League Case Competition winners and the Global EY Corporate Finance Woman of the Year have all been recognised as outstanding student innovators in the 2021 University of Auckland Blues Awards.

Blues Awards are a university tradition that originated from England. The blue colours of Oxford and Cambridge Universities came to symbolise sporting excellence and the tradition migrated to New Zealand where many universities have adopted the recognition and reward system. At the University of Auckland, Blues Awards have evolved to recognise excellence in other fields such as Arts and Culture, Service and Leadership, and Innovation.

Innovation Blues Awards applications were reviewed by a panel of senior University of Auckland staff. Finalists were chosen for an outstanding achievement in innovation that had created or enhanced a product, process or system which provides an effective solution to a challenging issue. This could have been in a social, environmental, technological or commercial context. Applications came from students of all study disciplines.

Most Meritorious Innovation award went to Isaac Cleland and Daniel Ge – founders of  RosterLab – winner of the 2020 Velocity $100k Challenge business planning competition. RosterLab has developed a state-of-the-art A.I. technique to create a fully automated rostering application for hospital staff. Their product significantly reduces the time and errors of manual rostering. RosterLab won an international nursing rostering award and is currently being trialled at multiple nursing wards in New Zealand. 

Director of the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Darsel Keane says “These achievements would be remarkable in any year, but to have accomplished so much during a global pandemic is truly exceptional. The world needs innovative capability more than ever and it is wonderful to see such aptitude rewarded.”

2021 Innovation Blues recipients

Isaac Cleland (Engineering) and Daniel Ge (Business)

Through their venture RosterLab, Isaac and Daniel have created a cost-effective and high-quality roster web application for nurses and doctors in the Health industry. Winning the Velocity $100k Challenge, their team interviewed nurses and doctors from numerous DHBs and identified challenges they faced with staff rostering that did not meet staffing needs. Their A.I. roster creation has enabled health care personnel to generate rosters automatically rather than manually which saves time and are more aligned toward staffing requirements. Many nursing wards in New Zealand are currently trialling their programme.

Issie Dekker (Business and Engineering), James Hancock (Arts and Business), Madeleine Tilley (Business and Law), Michael Smith (Business and Engineering)

Took part in the New Zealand Universities National League Case Competition. The team was required to provide a solution to an online sustainable farmers market company to improve performance and meet their goals. The team placed 1st in the competition. 

Kate Gatfield-Jeffries (Business and Law)

Law and Commerce student Kate won 1st place out of 3,426 applicants across 23 countries in the Global EY Corporate Finance Woman of the Year competition. This was the first time there has been an overall Global winner from New Zealand. She was also named Global EY Corporate Finance Woman of the year 2021.

Zifeng Liang (Business)

Postgraduate Commerce student Zifeng developed a candidate screening program called SkillsMe which uses A.I. to screen potential candidates on their soft skills, reducing HR’s time to do this manually. Collaborating with a large tech recruitment agency, Zifeng noticed that they were not keen on hiring inexperienced recent graduates. His creation has helped companies to discover hidden talents and reduce any biased evaluation of a candidate’s job application. SkillsMe is currently being subscribed by over 10 companies for talent screening based on positive feedback from satisfied customers.


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