We have 300 industry-focused researchers ready to work on your next R&D project


Are you a small or medium-sized business thinking about applying for an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher? Or maybe you have no idea what that is? Karl Crowley, Technology Gateway manager at MiCRA, IT Tallaght, reveals all by answering the eight most common questions usually asked to give you an insight into the Innovation Voucher process. Find out what you can expect when working with an Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway in this quick Q&A…

1. What is a Technology Gateway?

Technology Gateways are an Enterprise Ireland Initiative in partnership with 11 Institutes of Technology around the country. Within these institutes, specialist gateways operate by focusing on key technology areas aligned to industry needs.

The MiCRA Technology Gateway based in IT Tallaght focuses on the advancement of chemical and biosensor technologies, using materials such as enzymes and advanced polymers. We deliver solutions to companies in many sectors including in vitro diagnostics, environmental, food and pharmaceuticals. Our facilities consist of state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation, cell culture and microbiology labs (class 2 biosafety rated), and prototype fabrication facilities for printed sensors and microfluidics.

Technology Gateways are unique, in that we are a network of 15 individual gateways, however we often collaborate closely on projects with sister gateways either within the Network or our own sectoral clusters. You can find out more information on our network and clusters here.

2. What is an Innovation Voucher and how does it work?

The Innovation Voucher programme was developed by Enterprise Ireland to build links between knowledge providers (i.e. higher education institutes, public research bodies) and Irish SMEs. Eligible companies can apply for a €5,000 voucher to explore an element of research or innovation.

Applications for vouchers are only accepted during an Enterprise Ireland open call, these normally happen three times a year. All Vouchers are valid for 12 months. To find out more about the upcoming voucher call, you can view the call schedule here.

3. Am I eligible to apply?

The initiative is open to all small and medium-sized limited companies registered with the CRO in Ireland. You do not have to be a client of Enterprise Ireland to apply for a voucher. More details on eligibility are available here.

4. What types of innovation can I use my voucher for?

Innovation Vouchers can be used for a range of different types of innovation everything from new product or process development; new business model development; new service delivery and customer interface to new service development; tailored training in innovation management; and innovation or technology audits.

Technology Gateways such as MiCRA will work closely with you to assess your individual company requirements. We have dealt with a wide variety of projects through the Innovation Voucher initiative. To get a feel for the types of projects we work on, read our case study on Incereb, an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-up (HPSU) working in the medical device industry.

5. What should I do when I receive my voucher?

When you receive notification of a successful application, you should make contact with your preferred knowledge provider. If you have indicated a Technology Gateway as your preferred choice, the Gateway team will work with you to formalise the process. Should you be unsure of a suitable knowledge provider or simply need some advice you can contact the Technology Gateway Team on +353 (0)1 7082955 or email tfitzmaurice@technologygateway.ie.

6. What can I expect when working with a Technology Gateway?

Within each gateway, a dedicated Gateway Manager and a team of specific business development staff act as the key contact points and manage the successful delivery of projects. The Technology Gateway network has the expertise of over 300 industry-focused researchers, with the specialist equipment and facilities of the Institutes of Technology, so there is a lot of advice and help on offer!

We support projects of all sizes with all types of company, whether they are start-ups, HPSUs, SMEs, large indigenous, multinationals, etc. Gateway Managers work closely with their Gateway team to ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget.

7. How should I prepare for my initial meeting with a Gateway?

If you are coming to the Gateway with a specific problem to be addressed, it is useful to have as much background information as possible. This will allow the Gateway team to assess the best way forward and maximise your output from the voucher. We will also aid you in drafting a project plan for your proposal. We are happy to provide guidance and help at all stages of the process, so feel free to contact us at any time.

8. Will I own any resulting IP?

IP developed as a result of an Innovation Voucher project belongs to the company unless the company and the knowledge provider have otherwise agreed.

Further information on Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers is available at Innovation Vouchers.

About the author

Karl Crowley - Technology Gateway Manager, MiCRA

Karl Crowley

Technology Gateway Manager, MiCRA