UCD Innovation Academy Summer Camp 2022

Register your interest

Our funders

HEA Logo

Key facts

Course Content

Design it. Create it. Pitch it: Chocolatier Entrepreneurship

UCD Innovation Academy Summer Camps will be held on campus at University College Dublin from 9.30 am to 4.30pm each day. There are two weeks to choose from:

Week 1 runs from Monday 20th – Friday 24th June

Week 2 runs from Monday 4th – Friday 8th July

The cost is €100 per participant or FREE for students from DEIS schools. Applications are open to senior cycle secondary school students.

This year’s UCD Innovation Academy Summer Camp – “Design it. Create it. Pitch it: Chocolatier Entrepreneurship” – will offer students an opportunity to become entrepreneurs for the week, design, creating and pitching a confectionary product in five days.

Students will work in teams to explore current chocolate offerings through engaging market research, ideate a new-to-market chocolate or confectionery offering, design and create prototype packaging, and finally pitch their product idea in an engaging way to an industry expert.

Sustainability will be a key theme of the week and students will engage in discussions about sustainability in packaging, fair-trade sourcing, and the environmental impact of the current chocolate industry.

UCD Innovation Academy Summer Camp 2022 will be delivered by a highly experienced multidisciplinary team on campus in UCD, Belfield.  Participating students will have access to a new high-spec MakerSpace prototyping lab, equipped with 3-D printers, virtual reality, vaccuforming, electronics prototyping and multi-media production tools. No prior technical knowledge is required and we welcome students of all levels of technical experience.  The lab serves as an ‘academic workshop’ of innovation where soft skills such as team work and communication are as important as technical skills. Our facilitators are expert in working with students with all levels of experience.

With a strong emphasis on ‘learning from doing’, teamwork and ‘learning for the real-world’, our aim is that participating students will develop their confidence, capability and appetite to think, feel and “make” in a creative, innovative and entrepreneurial manner and develop key transversal skills around teamwork, resilience, communication, leadership, and positive learning habits, all grounded in a sustainable entrepreneurial mindset.

Most importantly, the UCD Innovation Summer Camp will offer students an opportunity to experience life at UCD through interacting with students and staff on campus.

How it's delivered

UCD Innovation Academy Summer Camps will be held on campus at University College Dublin from 9.30 am to 4.30pm each day.


The Summer Camp is one week long 9.30am to 4.30pm and students can chose between our camp in June and our camp in July.


Week 1 runs from Monday 20th – Friday 24th June

Week 2 runs from Monday 4th – Friday 8th July


The cost is €100 per participant or FREE for students from DEIS schools. Applications are open to senior cycle secondary school students.

Start date

Week 1 starts on Monday 20th

Week 2 starts on Monday 4th

End date

Week 1  ends on Friday 24th June

Week 2 ends on Friday 8th July

  • Why choose us
  • Learning outcomes
  • How to apply
  • Assessment
  • Who leads this course?
  • Career opportunities

Since 2017, we have successfully run four UCD Innovation Summer Camps with the generous support of the Higher Education Authority (HEA). Building on our experience, we aim to create a truly engaging and unforgettable learning experience for senior cycle secondary school students through two, week-long non-residential summer camps for 50 students each this summer on campus at UCD.

Students will experiment with creating moulds from small objects, such as shells, rocks, coins or medals to see how the vacuum-forming process works through using a desktop vacuum-forming machine and a variety of thermoplastics.

For chocolate or confectionery-based moulds, students will use food-safe materials to create production moulds into which melted chocolate or confectionery can be poured.

Students will learn about the “chocolate tempering” process in commercial chocolate production.

Students will learn about how 3D printing can be utilised to make moulds for use in vacuum forming- the advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing as a prototyping method.

Students will engage in research as a group and individually for different packaging for chocolates- with a focus on sustainable packaging methods.

Students will draw/sketch/fabricate custom packages for their chocolates/confectionery for presentation or “retail” display.

Using computer-controlled paper cutters, students will fabricate paper boxes to present as prototypes in their pitches to investors.

Students will use digital tools (Canva or web-based tools/software) to design the packaging to appeal to their target customer base. They will take on lessons/insights gained from current commercially or bespoke chocolate/confectionery offerings from other manufacturers.

Students will use web-based tools/software to create videos/slideshows or multimedia presentations for their pitches to an industry expert.

Students explore web-based QR code generators to add to their packaging/marketing methods for their prototype/pitch.


Entrepreneurial Mindset:

  • Students will gain knowledge to develop an entrepreneurial mindset in approaching the Chocolate/Confectionery making activity.
  • They will gain insight into business activities such as profit/loss, shipping and other considerations for a small business.
  • Profit/loss numbers as well as other financials are simulated through a dice/roll or number generator.


Virtual Reality:

  • Students will be given an opportunity to see how 360 videos can be used to communicate or share experiences.
  • Using VR drawing software, students will be given the opportunity to draw or sketch in 3D to communicate an idea, concept or prompt. They will share these “sketches” with their larger peer group.


Makey-Makey (Circuits):

  • Students will be given an opportunity to use (in pairs) a Makey Makey circuit set in which students can use everyday objects as input into a computer. For example, using fruit, bowls of water, or aluminium foil to create buttons to play a virtual piano or video game.
  • This session will teach students the basics of circuits without the need for soldering or advanced technical skill.


Bristle Bots/Scribble Bots:

  • Students will be given the parts or create a “Bristle Bot” – a simple motorised “robot” that can be created from everyday objects – such as a scrub brush, to see how motors and low-voltage electric current work to create motion. The bots are then raced against each other down a slope or track.
  • Alternatively, students can create a “scribble bot” or “wiggle bot” in which the circular motion of a small electric motor is used to make the robot wiggle to create a drawing using attached pens/markers. Students are encouraged to use “upcycled” parts to create the bot body, such as clean cans, food containers, or cardboard tubes.


3D Printing

  • Students are shown how 3D printing is utilised in industrial prototyping and art by quick research of applications/examples in a “sprint”.
  • Students are shown a variety of 3D prints including carbon fibre, paper, and plastic materials.
  • Students are introduced to the 3D printing process though a live demonstration
  • This process is connected to the vacuum forming activity as a way of making/prototyping moulds.

All applications for Summer Camp 2022 must be made through the UCD Booking system. This system will open soon. Please register your interest on this page, and we will email you once the system is open for applications. Please note that submitting a registration of interest does not guarantee a place in the Summer Camp.

There are no assessment components to this course however full participation for the entire week is required.

William Davis, UCD Innovation Academy Creative Makers Facilitator will lead the summer camp alongside other experienced facilitators.

William is the brains behind the Innovation Academy MakerSpace. As well as managing its design, setup, and operation, he leads workshops to introduce students to its tools, methods, and techniques. William teaches our MakerSpace undergraduate module, Designing the Future, Ireland’s first multidisciplinary MakerSpace module.