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KTI celebrates ground-breaking technology and research collaboration

Friday 31st March: The Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) Impact Awards on Thursday evening (30th March) recognised and celebrated the achievements of knowledge transfer professionals working in Irish Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) and publicly-funded research organisations (RPOs) was attended by over 200 people from the business and research community.

KTI helps business to benefit from access to Irish expertise and technology by making it simple to connect and engage with this research base in Ireland, thus progressing innovation, the commercialisation of research, job creation and economic prosperity.

Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD who opened the ceremony presented the winners with their awards which recognised substantial commercial achievements across seven categories. Speaking at the event Minister Halligan commented, “Innovation 2020, Ireland's cross-governmental strategy for Research and Development, Science and Technology, is based on a shared vision of Ireland becoming a Global Innovation Leader, driving a strong, sustainable, high employment economy and a better society. That is why the Government continues to enhance State support for research and its commercialisation. KTI manages and administers the €34.5m Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative on behalf of Enterprise Ireland which sustains the capacity within our Higher Education Institutes to license technologies, create spinout companies and to engage with enterprise. This all leads to innovation, competitiveness and ultimately jobs.”

Speaking about the awards, Director of KTI commented Dr Alison Campbell, “The Impact Awards are about acknowledging Ireland’s success in knowledge transfer and the people that make it happen -n the on-the-ground staff in technology transfer offices and industry liaison offices in our HEIs around the country. Recent results from Enterprise Ireland’s client survey show that companies that collaborate with the Irish Research system on market-led projects have more than double the sales and exports than those that don’t. The knowledge transfer profession plays an essential role in helping companies (existing and new) to innovate through the commercialisation of research and expertise.”

The Winners across the 7 categories are as follows:

KTI Collaborative Research award Ceramicx, a Cork-based heat processing specialist, worked with a team of engineers from Trinity College to develop a first-of-its-kind 3D infrared IR heat detector which has major implications for industry and manufacturing, reducing waste and saving on costs. The product has helped Ceramicx increase sales, which have jumped by 32% since 2015 and employee numbers, which have grown by 50% since the project began 5 years ago.

Licence2Market KTI award

Teagasc, the agriculture and food development authority, licensed new technology to Ornua Cooperative Ltd that enabled the company manufacture cheese in countries with a shortage of fresh milk. This led to Ornua opening a multi-million euro cheese manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia. With plans to extend its product range in 2017, the company has strong growth plans to fill the capacity of the plant over the next five years.

Consultancy Award

Rusal Aughinish Alumina (AAL) plant in Limerick which extracts alumina sought the expertise of researchers at MACSI (a network of mathematical modellers and scientific computational analysts based in Ireland) in University of Limerick to develop bespoke systems for them. AAL wanted to ensure that the quality of their extracted products would not be affected in the event of a loss of power at their plants. This project has resulted in a staggering 200pc increase in the accuracy of prediction of product quality, enhancing the overall efficiency and decision-making of the plant.

Spin-Out Company Award

Kastus was spun out from Dublin Institute of Technology to develop technology that can be used during production processes to render any glass, ceramic or metallic surface 99.99 per cent resistant to superbugs like MRSA, ecoli and other fungi. The company is projecting multi-million euro revenue over the next 5 years and in 2016 secured investment from Venture Capitalist, Atlantic Bridge University Fund which has enabled them to grow their staff.

Mature Spin-Out Award

UCC and their spin-out company InfiniLED Ltd founded in 2011, creates low power micro-LED display technology. In 2016, it was acquired by Facebook-owned virtual reality company Oculus. This has led to significant inward investment in Cork and the creation of high skilled jobs in the region.

KTI Initiative of the Year

Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin working together established the €60 million University Bridge fund which was launched in 2016 with the purpose of bridging gaps in the national eco-system. They are achieving this through earlier investment in science-based companies, building executive teams and creating the capacity to follow the investment. The fund ensures that Ireland is now internationally competitive from a campus company and scaling perspective.

 KTI Achiever of the Year Paul Maguire, Senior Licensing Executive in ICT and Engineering at DIT’s technology transfer office, was recognised as the Achiever of the Year who personally supported the creation of 19 new companies for DIT and its partner Institutes of Technology and developed over 50 new industry engagements.

There was a further personal award announced on the night by KTI – the KTI Special Recognition Award that was presented to Lorraine Kane, Office Manager at Maynooth University technology transfer office for the role she plays both locally across the Maynooth University Technology Transfer Consortium of four HEIS and nationally supporting the development of the knowledge transfer system in Ireland.


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