News & Events

Winners of Knowledge Transfer Ireland “Impact Awards” 2019 announced

  • Minister John Halligan hails the benefits accruing to businesses from knowledge transfer activity in Ireland 
  • Winners awarded across five categories of knowledge transfer activity

The winners of this year’s Impact Awards were announced at a ceremony this evening by Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI). The winning entries, from research performing organisations around the country were recognised for achievements in the successful commercialisation of publicly funded research for the benefit of the Irish economy and society.

Over 140 guests from technology transfer offices, academia, industry as well as investors and the wider business community business attended the awards, where a keynote speech was delivered by former Microsoft executive and tech evangelist Clare Dillon. Knowledge Transfer Ireland is the national office that helps bring business and research together to maximise the economic potential of innovative technologies, ideas and expertise 

Winning entries:

  • Collaborative Research Impact Award: University College Dublin for their research with agri-food and nutrition business Glanbia Ireland which led to Glanbia developing new technology that positioned the company to secure €22m in EU funding via Horizon 2020.  This funding supported Glanbia’s AgriChemWhey project under which the company is developing a new facility at the former site of Lisheen Mines in Tipperary where 15 people are currently employed with plans for further growth once the facility is fully operational.

  • Consultancy Impact Award: University College Cork for their engagement with global healthcare company Abbott Nutrition Ireland. Abbott consulted with UCC to investigate production process of its infant milk formula product with a view to improving the manufacturing process and the product itself. Under the engagement, UCC built a bespoke pilot piece of equipment and delivered training for Abbot Nutrition staff.  The project has led to further research between the company and university and has positioned UCC for further research in the space.   

  • Licence2Market Impact Award: University College Dublin for its licence to Galway based Atlantic Therapeutics that allowed the development of the company’s INNOVO product – an externally worn electrical muscle stimulator that is the first ever transcutaneous electrical stimulator cleared as a safe, clinically effective and non-evasive product to treat stress urinary incontinence. 

  • Spin-out Company Award: cyber security firm Nova Leah which was spun out of Dundalk Institute of Technology and provides platform and software tools primarily to the medical device sector. The company was recognised for its exceptional achievements during the year that included raising its third round of seed funding of €2.25million; growing too large for DkIT incubation centre that necessitated moving to a larger premises; increasing sales by 250% in a 12 month period; signing several Tier 1 healthcare companies and beginning a major trial with the regulatory body in the USA.

  • Knowledge Transfer Achiever of the Year Award: was jointly presented to: Fiona Neary, Innovation Operations Manager & Bioexel Accelorator Commercial Lead at NUI Galway and Anthony Morrissey, Commercialisation Case Manager at University College Cork, for their exceptionally high performances in their respective roles.

Special commendation was also paid on the night to Anu Sahni, Lecturer in Computing & Technology Transfer Case Manager for her contribution to knowledge transfer at the National College of Ireland.

Commenting at the awards, Minister John Halligan TD said; 

The Irish government has invested significantly in the country’s research and innovation capacity over the last 20 years and this long-term commitment has resulted in a strong ecosystem to support research commercialisation that is respected in Europe and beyond.

It is critical that publicly funded research is put to work, boosting business productivity and competitiveness and generating growth and jobs. The winners of this year’s Impact Awards are exemplars of best practice in this regard, demonstrating how innovation, in a practical and effective way, can benefit the economy and wider society.”

Commenting, KTI Director and Chair of the Judging Panel Dr Alison Campbell said; 

The EU’s Innovation Scoreboard classifies Ireland as a “Strong Innovator” with our performance ranking favourably among our EU peers. Tonight’s Awards recognise and pay tribute to the work of those on the ground nationwide in Ireland’s Technology Transfer Offices who actually make this innovation happen, acting as a vital link between industry and academia. They provide the information to companies, support and manage the processes that allow commercialisation and collaboration to flourish, freeing up researchers and businesses to get on with the business of innovating.

Today we recognise their achievements both at the wider project level, but also through the individual KT Achiever of the Year award.”  

All of the shortlisted entries were evaluated by a panel of international experts that included Maxine Ficarra, CEO at PraxisAuril, the UK knowledge exchange and commercialisation organisation; Holly Wales Meadows, US Patent Attorney and Director at the US based knowledge transfer association AUTM; and Eavan O’Brien, Assistant Director for Impact and Partnerships at the Irish Research Council.

Submissions were judged according to criteria such as the level of the impact delivered; the clarity and succinctness of the entry; the persuasiveness of the submission in outlining what it has achieved and why it is relevant to the category at hand; and the role that the local technology transfer office played in the activity.


For further information contact:

Elizabeth Carvill, Communications Manager, Knowledge Transfer Ireland


About Knowledge Transfer Ireland

Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) makes it simpler for business and research performing organisations to work together. KTI aims to maximise the extent to which State-funded technology, ideas and expertise gets into the hands of business to drive innovation. KTI is located in Enterprise Ireland (EI) and funded by EI with co-financing from the Irish Universities Association.

KTI offers information and advice across the areas of research collaboration, consultancy, licensing and spin-out opportunities amongst others. It helps companies and investors access expertise and intellectual property and guides them to the right contacts and information on funding supports available to assist innovation. 

Through its web portal Knowledge Transfer Ireland provides a range of tools to support the engagement process between industry and research performing organisations in Ireland.  Resources such as the KTI Find Funding Tool, KTI Research Map of Ireland, KTI Research Centre Directory and KTI Directory of Researchers can help you find and connect with the right research partner in Ireland and identify the most relevant financial support that might be available. The series of KTI Practical Guides will support you through the practical process of engagement and the suite of KTI Model Agreements offers a number of functional templates devised to act as the foundation of any negotiating process between researchers and industry. 

For more information, visit