UCD and Waterford Institute of Technology swept the boards at the annual Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Awards presented by Damien English, T.D., Minister for Skills, Research & Innovation in Dublin on Wednesday 23rd March 2015.
UCD and its technology transfer office, NovaUCD, took both the Licence2Market Impact Award and the Spin-out Company Impact Award for the UCD spin-out OxyMem.
Waterford Institute of Technology also scooped 2 awards; the Research2Business Collaborative Impact Award was presented to Dr. Felicity Kelliher and Dr. Ramesh Raghavendra won the Consultancy Impact Award.
Congratulating the winners Minister English said “the KTI Impact Awards celebrate the significant impact of commercially valuable knowledge transferred from the research system into Irish industry. It is important to recognise the successful impact achieved by industry in Ireland through the acquisition of new technologies and intellectual property or by getting expert advice from State-funded researchers and the Universities, Institutes of Technology and research institutes where they work”.
Dr. Alison Campbell, Director of KTI congratulated Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice President for Research, Innovation and Impact and Professor Willie Donnelly, Vice President for Research and Innovation at Waterford Institute of Technology who also received awards on behalf of UCD and WIT in recognition of their support and promotion of knowledge transfer at the winning researchers’ host institutions.
According to Dr. Campbell, “KTI’s aim is to support the economic and social return from State investment in research by encouraging companies to engage with the research base in Ireland to help them innovate. KTI is playing an important part by making the knowledge, expertise and IP available within our research performing organisations more visible to companies so that they may use research and innovation to drive competitive advantage and sustainable job creation”.
KTI was launched in May 2014 and is operated in partnership between Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Universities Association. KTI’s web portal (www.knowledgetransferireland.com) provides companies with easy access to the resources available to them from State-funded research – from expertise to technologies, from intellectual property to facilities and equipment.
Details on the Award Winners
The Licence2Market Impact Award recognises a commercial product or service that is based on a licence to intellectual property rights from an Irish publicly funded RPO – and its path to licence. Professor Mark Rogers in the winning UCD entrydeveloped a novel diagnostic test for BSE which was licensed to Enfer Scientific by NovaUCD, UCD’s technology transfer office. Enfer Scientific further developed the technology into one of the first commercially robust diagnostics for BSE to get EU regulatory approval and contributed to the rapid expansion by the Tipperary company.
The Spin-Out Company Impact Award recognises a spin-out company from an Irish publicly-funded RPO that has achieved a significant event in the previous year. In OxyMem’s case, this included securing several rounds of investment, successfully delivering field trials of its membrane aerated biofilm (MABR) wastewater treatment technology, creating 28 full-time jobs at its new Athlone facility and securing early orders. The award was presented to the company founders Professor Eoin Casey and Dr. Eoin Syron both academics in the UCD School of Chemical Engineering and to Ciaran O’Beirne, manager of technology transfer at NovaUCD, in recognition of the support provided by the TTO to developing the company proposition and leading on licence and company formation agreements
The Research2Business Collaborative Impact Award recognises collaborative research between Irish publicly funded RPOs and industry that has led to clear benefits for the company or companies involved. Dr. Felicity Kelliher, a senior lecturer in management at the School of Business at Waterford Institute of Technology was presented with this award for her engagement with hundreds of SMEs – in particular with the tourism sector, Ireland’s second largest service industry – enabling them to adopt best practice, improve their business and integrate research findings into developing their staff and companies.
The Consultancy Impact Award recognises a researcher or research group at an Irish publicly funded RPO whose consultancy advice has resulted in a clear economic or public benefit to a business or public sector organisation.
Dr. Ramesh Raghavendra won this award for his work as the Manager of the South Eastern Applied Materials (SEAM) Centre at Waterford Institute of Technology. Under Dr. Raghavendra’s direction, SEAM has carried out more than 800 directly funded industry projects within 5 years of its launch in 2009.
Both Felicity and Ramesh have been actively supported by the industry services team at WIT.
About Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI)
KTI is the State-funded central knowledge transfer office operated by Enterprise Ireland in partnership with the Irish Universities Association. KTI’s role is to actively support the commercialisation of State-funded research. Its mission is to support business, the public sector and the research base to maximise State-funded research by exchanging knowledge and transferring technology, ideas and expertise into the hands of business and the public sector swiftly and easily for the benefit of the economy and society.
KTI also works with the technology transfer / industry liaison offices to build and strengthen the knowledge transfer system at Ireland’s research performing organisations through the State-funded programme Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative 2 (TTSI2, 2013-2016).
There has been a marked increase in the level of engagement between companies and all Irish publicly-funded research performing organisations (RPOs), including universities and the institutes of technology in recent years.
The first KTI annual report published on 23 October 2014 showed a 15% increase in the number of external company clients that engaged with research performing organisations in 2013, resulting in 1,598 engagement agreements, up 9% on the previous year.
The report also showed that 37 new spin-out companies were created based on intellectual property and knowledge from Irish research performing organisations. Over the same period the number of IP-based transactions between RPOs and industry, including licences, options and assignments, increased by 48% to 139 last year. The report takes in a wide and deep data set, with information returned from all of Ireland’s RPOs.