Waterford research centres TSSG & PMBRC win at the Technology Ireland Industry Awards

The eagerly awaited Technology Ireland Industry Awards took place on Friday 22nd November in the Mansion House, Dublin.

Considered the most coveted awards ceremony within the Irish technology sector, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) research centres TSSG and PMBRC patiently waited to hear their project announced as winner of the ‘Outstanding Academic Achievement Award in the field of Digital Technology’. Dr Sasitharan Balasubramaniam, Director of Research in TSSG and Dr Lee Coffey, Principal Investigator in Molecular Biology in the PMBRC and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in TSSG, proudly accepted the award on Friday last.

The project, titled ‘Digital DNA Storage Infrastructure of the Future’, involves an infrastructure that supports encoding of digital transformation in DNA, which will lead to a new form of data storage for the future. This research was featured on RTE News as well as MIT Tech Review and the future looks bright for this project.

Speaking after the win, Dr Sasitharan Balasubramaniam expressed his appreciation for being chosen as a winner “This project really demonstrates the cutting edge multi-disciplinary ICT research that is being conducted in TSSG, looking in particular to how ICT should look 10 or even 20 years from today. This also demonstrates how blue-sky research can lead to possible technologies that industry can use in the future”

“I am delighted to win this award and to receive the recognition alongside our colleagues in TSSG for this work,” said Dr Lee Coffey. “The practical implementation of the TSSG-led DNA data storage concepts carried out in the PMBRC labs builds upon years of expertise in molecular biology research at the centre. The interface between the life sciences and data technology is an exciting space and we look forward to developing this research further with Huawei, our industry partner,” Dr Coffey continued.

Also attending the prestigious ceremony was Prof Wille Donnelly, President of Waterford Institute of Technology and founder of TSSG. The president congratulated both Dr Balasubramaniam and Dr Coffey on winning this accolade. Prof Donnelly stated that “It’s a fantastic achievement and recognition of the institute’s international leadership in research excellence.” This follows the PBMRC Research and Development award at the Pharma Industry awards 2019 for the second year running.

The project, funded by Huawei, has the capability to store the resonant equivalent of 70 billion copies of books into a single gram of DNA, and this technique is set to revolutionize the field of data storage. The practical applications are endless for example, in the coming years humans will be able to store their own and their ancestral medical history in their own DNA; food supplies can carry traceability information in the food itself; and energy burning data centres will become a thing of the past. The benefits lie in an architecture that can allow libraries of information to be created (e.g. music and movie files, and this data could be for long-term archive systems). This can benefit cloud infrastructure providers who are continuously expanding their data centres who are energy hungry, to select alternative systems that can potentially store large quantity of data and use low quantity energy, which will result in a significant reduction of carbon footprint.

This could mean that future data centres will have a combination of silicon technology that are found in the current system, combined with a biological infrastructure that stores information for long-term archives. The research is also developing anti-malware system to create future solutions for cyber security software industry to protect infrastructures for DNA storage.

Kevin Doolin, Director of Innovation in TSSG comments on the win “We are very proud of this research, and while this seems like science fiction, the practical applications of this breakthrough technology are everywhere. Imagine a future where you, and your ancestors’ entire medical history is stored in your body, or where a piece of steak contains un-hackable traceability information.”

The next step in this project is to develop various types of practical applications for DNA storage, and in particular for creating libraries that can store various types of files, and to be able to read as well as write to the storage infrastructure.

Both research centres are part of the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network Programme which funds interactions between local and national industry and institutes of technology and aims to increase the levels of interaction between the IoTs and industry in Ireland.

About TSSG
Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) ICT research wing Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) is a major driver in the emergence of a telecommunications industry in the South East of Ireland. In the last five years alone, TSSG has secured funding in excess of €100 million under EU Programmes, making it one of the most successful ICT research centres in Ireland.
TSSG has a proven track record in translating world class research into market-ready products and services and has enabled the establishment of an eco-system of mobile service companies in the South East of Ireland and beyond, creating several hundred jobs directly and indirectly in the last ten years.
Established 20 years ago, TSSG currently consists of over 80 research scientists and engineers; they have graduated over 20 PhD Students and manage an active international network in excess of 700 partners from industry, academic and research institutes spread across 35 countries worldwide.

About PMBRC
Celebrating 10 years of operations in 2019, the PMBRC research centre at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has established itself as a leading research centre in the pharmaceutical, chemical and biologicals sciences in Ireland.
The centre, one of 15 Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways, consists of an 800m2 state-of-the-art research facility. Situated on the main WIT campus, the centre supports R&D activities within the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, while simultaneously cultivating an innovative research programme at WIT.
The PMBRC has grown to become a leading Irish research centre in the pharmaceutical, chemical and biological sciences with a wide range of national, international and industry partnerships.

 

Profile: PMBrc Technology Gateway

Celebrating 10 years of operations in 2019, the Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC) has established itself as a leading research centre in the pharmaceutical, chemical and biologicals sciences in Ireland. Situated on the main WIT campus, it is one of 15 Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways working with companies in the pharmaceutical, medical device, food and engineering sectors. A truly multidisciplinary team, researchers in the PMBRC include chemists, biologists, biomedical scientists, physicists and engineers, and the centre has established links with national and international partners in industry, academia and healthcare institutions.

What is the PMBrc Technology Gateway?

The PMBRC Technology Gateway is the function of the research centre which develops collaborative industry projects. The Technology Gateway team works with industry partners to understand their requirements, assembles a technical team with the necessary expertise from the wider research centre and secures funding for the project. Projects ranging from short term contract analysis to longer term research collaborations can be accommodated.

What facilities and technologies are available at PMBrc Biodiagnostics?

The gateway has an extensive suite of characterisation and analytical equipment:

Materials characterisation suite – A wide range of techniques available including DSC, TGA, laser diffraction, DLS, nitrogen sorption, SEM, DVS, XRD (from Q1 2020), solid state NMR and powder rheometry.

Advanced analytical capability – Including a wide range of chromatography techniques, mass spectrometry, NMR and ICP-OES/MS

Formulation and drug delivery – Including blending, fluid bed coating and granulation, tablet compression, spray drying, aerosol jet printing, liquid/suspension formulation

Biology labs – Microbiology labs (including pathogen lab), cell culture, DNA sequencing, PCR, protein purification and analysis.

What types of companies does PMBrc work with?

While our research is primarily focused on the pharmaceutical and biological sciences, our expertise can be applied to a wide range of industries. In the past we have worked with pharma, medical device, food, cosmetics, engineering, agri-product, biotech, and veterinary companies. Some industry collaborations include: materials characterisation and pre-formulation; drug delivery and formulation; chromatography; analytical method development; impurity identification; novel sensor and process technologies; and biomedical research and molecular biotechnology.

What supports and funding does PMBrc have available to help your company?

The PMBRC has a proven track record in attracting funding from national and international sources. The PMBRC has attracted over €3.5 million since 2008 for collaborations with Irish companies. Funding has come from national and European sources and from industry itself. Some of the schemes available to companies include: Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers, Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnerships, IRC Enterprise Partnership Scheme, European Funding and directly funded industry projects. The PMBRC has established links with national and international partners in industry, academia and medical care institutions.

What are your next steps?

If you have an idea for a new product, service or process, or are experiencing difficulties with an existing process, get in touch with the Gateway, follow them on Twitter or check out their website for further information.

CAPPA Announced as New SSPC Collaborator

About SSPC
The Centre for Advanced Photonics & Process Analysis (CAPPA) is delighted to announce that they are now an official Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Cluster (SSPC) collaborator. SSPC is a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research cluster which was established in July 2013. SSPC is an internationally recognized hub of process innovation and advanced manufacturing for the pharmaceutical sector, it is the largest research collaboration in Ireland, and one of the largest globally, within the pharmaceutical area. SSPC’s mission is to position Ireland as a global hub for process innovation and advanced manufacturing in the pharmaceutical industry. SSPC supports over 300 active members across academic and industry on a national and international level. SSPC has a proven record of accomplishment in pre-competitive multi – industry partnership projects and single partner projects, working with over 20 industry partners and ensuring the research is critically informed by the needs of the pharmaceutical end users.

CAPPA Role in SSPC
The SSPC research programme will focus on five main topics; molecule, materials, medicine, manufacturing and modelling. CAPPA will be focusing their research under the associated theme of medicine. The objectives of this theme is to optimize the development, production and use of safe and effective medicines focusing on poorly soluble drugs, personalized and age appropriate medicines, and rational formulation and approaches with predictive performance. The key scientific expertise in this area focuses on preformulation and formulation of solid dosage forms; amorphous materials; microneedles; solid state characterization; pharmaceutical processing; dissolution studies; dissolution modelling; in vivo animal model; in vitro – in vivo correlations.

CAPPA Experience with the Pharmaceutical Industry
CAPPA has over 13 years’ experience in working with companies in the pharmaceutical sector. In the pharmaceutical sector CAPPA focuses on various areas including product analysis, product stability monitoring, process monitoring, quality control and packaging. CAPPA have worked with various pharmaceutical companies over the years including Janssen, Astellas, Sepha, Biocel and Hooke Bio. Photonics provides a range of invaluable solutions to the pharmaceutical industry. CAPPA have worked with photonics in the pharmaceuticals industry to investigate areas such as drug identification, blend uniformity, chemometrics, monitoring phase changes, cleaning verification, root cause analysis of contaminants, particle size analysis of powders and anti – counterfeit measures for packaging. CAPPA has been heavily involved in research for focusing on the development and deployment of Process Analytical Technologies (PAT), a major priority within the industry currently, and has applications inline, at – line and offline. CAPPA is also an Academic Partner of the industry – led Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Centre (PMTC).

If you are interested in learning more about the SSPC and the funding opportunities available, you can contact CAPPA here or learn more about CAPPA’s work in the pharmaceutical industry here

Meet the Team … Liam Lewis – CAPPA Technology Gateway

In our ‘Meet the Team’ series, we bring you a range of interviews from across the Technology Gateway Network.

Introducing Liam Lewis, Technology Gateway Manager in CAPPA in Cork Institute of Technology. CAPPA is part of our Irish Food Tech cluster.

  • Tell us a bit about the CAPPA Technology Gateway ?

Our Gateway uses Photonics, light and light based sensors and systems for investigative research. We have approximately 20 full time staff, all with doctorate level qualifications and 10 PhD students in our group. While the Gateway work is dedicated to applied and industry led research we also have a section of our staff that carry out fundamental research. We feel this is important as it helps generate the next phase of optical techniques and insight to allow us to solve future applied projects. We’ve worked with over 100 companies in the last 10 years, SME’s MnC’s and startups in such diverse areas as food and beverage, medical device and pharmaceutical manufacture.

 

  • Describe your role?:

As Gateway manager it’s my role to engage closely with our current and new clients to ensure that they are satisfied with our collaborations. The role is very diverse and challenging but always interesting. For new clients I try to ensure that prospective companies that we might work with get a full picture of our capabilities and are made aware of the funding schemes and resources that are available to them for potential collaborators. I also have regular team meeting to discuss progress on projects and to examine new opportunity areas for the group.

 

  • What’s unique about Gateway and its presence in the Region? 

The CAPPA gateway is the only gateway that solely uses light based technologies for its research purposes. In addition photonics is cross thematic when means we can work with a diverse range of clients and personnel. Cork has a very dense and diverse range of industries in Ringaskiddy and Little Island all of which can, and many of whom have, benefited from working with CAPPA on different projects. Also CIT has a reputation of working with local industry and as such companies are very keen to stay engaged with the CIT ecosystem.

 

  • What are the main benefits for a company collaborating with CAPPA?

Any company collaborating with CAPPA first and foremost gets a very dedicated and experienced set of researchers to engage with. This means that through close co-operation we will be very well placed to propose new solutions and technologies to the client company. Having completed over 250 industrial engagements our team is also very strongly aware of the commercial and time sensitive aspects to many of the projects we engage in. This experience allows us to work efficiently with and on behalf of the client and provide a quality service to them.

 

  • How can you help a company prepare for an innovation project?

Our approach is generally the same for all our initial engagements. We ask the client company to outline is as much detail the issue that they want to investigate. This is important for us to get an overall view of the problem statement. We then work through the potential solutions with the client outlining different options that might be available as well as discussing the required resources for same. We also then indicate what possible funding mechanisms the company could utilise in order to execute the project.

 

  • What can they expect working with the Gateway? 

All of the 15 gateways are highly experienced with a wide range of skills and expertise available. Gateway teams will be dedicated and communicative throughout the project work and will strive to work efficiently and accurately to solve the issues at hand. In addition gateways have very broad range of contacts in other industrial and research spaces. This can be beneficial if looking for an additional collaborative partner for a large project or an end user to gauge usability. The gateways work primarily on a “customer first” basis which means they can generally introduce the client to an appropriate partner even when an individual set of gateway expertise may not be directly relevant. This is also indicated in the many testimonials that CAPPA and the gateway network has received in general during its operation over the years and the level of company retention that the gateways have.

 

  • What’s the one piece of advice you would give to a company considering an innovation project?

There are perhaps a few considerations that should always be addressed. Firstly be as open re the issue to be solved as possible, more detail is always better and gateway staff operate very discretely. Be open to all types of solutions initially and trust the gateway staff to have your best interests at heart. Personally I believe that collaboration is the key to solving many problems.

 

  • What do you love most about your job?

I think the diversity is the most satisfying aspect of my job. Every day presents a new challenge and you are presented with some really tricky but very absorbing issues to solve. It’s also very satisfying when we have completed a successful project with a client and they have complimented us on our work. I also get to work with an excellent group of researchers and find that we learn very regularly from one another. If there is one thing I can say is that my job is never boring.

 

More information

• Find out more about CAPPA
• Find out more about our Irish Food Tech Cluster
• Sign up for our quarterly Technology Gateways newsletter
• Follow CAPPA on Twitter

 

Outsourcing your R&D to the Applied Internet of Things (Applied IoT) Cluster

Companies all over Ireland are capitalising on the wealth of research and engineering expertise that exists within the Applied IoT Technology Gateway Cluster. Making up the cluster are five of the fifteen Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways based at Institutes of Technology (IT) and Technological Universities (TU) across the country. In conjunction with its sister clusters in Engineering, Materials & Design (EMD) and the Irish Food Tech (IFT), the Applied IoT member Gateways are providing resources in the areas of applied research to Irish industry since 2013.

From Donegal to Cork and covering areas such as sensor & software development, networks, data analytics, machine learning, AI, AR/VR, mobile solutions and Industry 4.0, the 300 strong team of full-time researchers and engineers are available to assist your company with your next project. The Applied IoT Cluster is comprised of the following member Gateways;

COMAND – Connected Media, Athlone IT
IMaR – Intelligent Mechatronics and RFID, IT Tralee
Nimbus – Cork IT
TSSG – Telecommunications Software & Systems Group, Waterford IT
WiSAR – Wireless Sensor and Applied Research, Letterkenny IT

Whether it is a small, relatively straightforward €1,500 project or a longer, more detailed €200,000 Innovation Partnership project, the Applied IoT cluster will provide the relevant resources to complete your project on time and within budget.

A word from the Applied IoT member Gateways

Each Technology Gateway within the Applied IoT Cluster has a dedicated Gateway Manager and a specialised business development team who act as the key contact points for companies and manage the successful delivery of each project from conception right through to final sign off.

Based in Letterkenny Institute of Technology, WiSAR provides solutions to Irish industry for the Internet of Things (IoT) using expertise in wireless, embedded systems and power electronics.

“The Wireless Sensor Applied Research Technology Gateway connects the real world to the cloud using skills and expertise that cover the full Internet of Things technology stack from physical electronic product design through to data aggregation and analytics. With expertise in antenna design, communications technology and the application of state of the art in sensors, we deliver practical solutions to meet our clients research and innovation goals in a wide range of sectors including manufacturing, transport, health, leisure, agriculture and ICT.”
Stephen Seawright
WiSAR Technology Gateway Manager

TSSG, based at Waterford Institute of Technology, collaborates with companies involved in delivering mobile services, primarily for smart phones and tablets.

“The depth and breadth of research and expertise we have in TSSG offers companies a unique opportunity to develop their business without the risk. With expertise in advancedmobile services, augmented & virtual reality, data mining, 5G and future communications, we endeavour to create a partnership with our clients and carefully craft a solution in line with their R&D goals.”
Kevin Doolin
Director of Innovation, TSSG

IMaR based at the Institute of Technology Tralee, is applying its core expertise in providing electronic and mechanical hardware, software, IoT and data analytics innovation for increased productivity in the manufacturing, agriculture and process sectors.

“Offering mechatronics, automation, industrial communications, process analytics, data driven control and machine learning expertise, IMaR is working with Irish manufacturing and AgriTech companies on the research and development of intelligent and autonomous systems to bring Industry 4.0 standards to their processes and products.”
Daniel Riordan
IMaR Technology Gateway Manager

Based in Athlone Institute of Technology, COMAND is delivering industry-focused technology solutions for the software industry across multiple media platforms.

“The COMAND Technology Gateway is a leading open access point for Industry – to avail of any collaborative expertise in augmented user interaction, end-to-end applications and intelligent infrastructures, mobile, cloud computing and internet of things – all of which are applicable in a wide range of commercial fields in telecoms, gaming, entertainment, e-health, e-learning and digital marketing.”
Anthony Cunningham
COMAND Technology Gateway Manager

Collaborating with the Applied IoT Cluster

If you have an idea for a new product, service, process, or are experiencing difficulties with an existing process – get in touch with us to see how we can assist you in developing an innovative solution.
Whilst the most common industrial projects undertaken with the cluster are valued over €10,000, many companies are making use of the €5,000 Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher scheme as their first introduction to the cluster. Companies then continue to fund their own projects, with the cluster acting as their external R&D department.
The Applied IoT Cluster can help with Innovation Voucher applications for eligible companies. To qualify for a voucher, the company must have fewer than 250 full-time employees and an annual turnover total not exceeding €50 million and/or an annual Balance Sheet total not exceeding €43 million. Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers, to the value of €5,000 are redeemable for services provided by all members of the Applied IoT Cluster.

Get in touch with us

Tom Fitzmaurice, Business Development Manager with the Applied IoT Cluster is available to discuss your company’s requirements, align your project idea to the most relevant Gateway(s) within the cluster and guide you through the various Enterprise Ireland funding options available to your company.
“As Business Development Manager, I meet with companies of all sizes, it does not matter whether it is a start-up, SME or multinational we’ll sit down and flesh out any issues they might be having with existing processes or discuss ideas for new and innovative products or services that might benefit the company and contribute to its future growth. Another key element is to talk through and outline the various funding options that are available for these types of R&D projects. Following on from our initial meeting/discussions, I will then introduce the company to the Technology Gateway(s) that will be most suitable for their requirements.”
Tom Fitzmaurice
Business Development Manager, Applied IoT

Meet the Team … Finola Howe – PEM Technology Gateway

In our ‘Meet the Team’ series, we bring you a range of interviews from across the Technology Gateway Network.

Next up is Finola Howe – PEM Technology Gateway Manager, one of 15 Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways.

Finola Howe – PEM Technology Gateway Manager

 

  • Tell us a bit about the PEM Technology Gateway and describe your role within it?

The PEM Technology Gateway was established in 2015 and was initiated from the Precision Engineering, Manufacturing and Materials Strategic Research Centre in IT Sligo. We work primarily with manufacturing companies to provide engineering and process optimisation solutions across their product lifecycle – in product development and design, manufacturing and materials. We deliver this through building on our deep technical expertise and history in Advanced Material Synthesis & characterisation, Precision Engineering & Design, Manufacturing Process Modelling & Simulation and Advanced Process Monitoring & Control.

 

  • Describe your role:

My role in managing the PEM Technology Gateway is developing and implementing a strategy that drives engagement with industry. Working with companies to identify projects that can add value to them e.g. Product R&D, improving processes, reducing waste/cost, solving technical problems. Primarily I’m involved in setting the strategic business direction, business development, day to day management of the centre resources and financials. I spend a lot of time meeting companies and understanding what their pain points are so we can determine the best way to help them.

 

  • What’s unique about Gateway and its presence in the North-West? 

IT Sligo is the National Training Centre for Toolmakers in Ireland and as a result has a rich history and expertise in Precision Engineering which we have built on in the PEM Research Centre and Technology Gateway. We primarily work with manufacturing companies, and we are a focal point for anyone who designs and/or makes products as we help them design and improve their processes throughout their product lifecycle.

 

  • What are the main benefits for a company collaborating with PEM?

We also look at innovation across the product lifecycle and value chain, we work with companies at all stages of innovation, from early startup stage to established product/process optimisation stages. We know that companies, especially SME’s are focussed by necessity on what is right in front of them. We help them to prepare for the future by optimising and bringing technological advancement to engineering, manufacturing and materials processes. We see ourselves as long term partners with companies to help them always stay ahead of their competition.

An obvious benefit is our technical expertise in engineering and manufacturing and more specifically in the areas of Advanced Material Synthesis & characterisation, Precision Engineering & Design, Manufacturing Process Modelling & Simulation and Advanced Process Monitoring & Control.

 

  • How can you help a company prepare for an innovation project

Initially we would sit down with a company and try to understand their ‘Why’ their ‘What’ and their ‘How’ – why do they do what they do and surfacing their pain points in how they do it. That helps us to focus in on the key problems we can help them to solve. We work with them to identify projects that are aligned with our technical expertise, and we help them navigate funding opportunities to help finance the projects. There are so many funding mechanisms out there, it can be a bit daunting for companies to figure out where to start.

 

  • What can they expect working with the Gateway? 

Sometimes innovation ideas are at a really early stage and people are a little afraid of discussing an idea that isn’t fully developed. I think that the PEM Gateway operates firstly on a very human level, we provide a safe sounding board environment to companies and individuals and we are always happy to discuss innovation ideas no matter what stage they are at, we are here to provide help and guidance and we have a great network of sister Gateways that we can connect with depending on the type of expertise needed. As ideas progress into projects, we scope out the deliverables of the project and provide both the technical expertise and project management oversight to ensure the project delivers as per the agreed plan.

 

  • What’s the one piece of advice you would give to a company considering an innovation project?

Don’t let it go to the bottom of the list of things to do because you are busy with what is important today. Innovation is a ‘Must Do’ but often gets neglected until it is too late. I’d advise companies to look at all available resources, not just in-house resources, because resources are often a reason companies don’t innovate. Connect with the Technology Gateway early in your innovation journey, we can partner with you to extend your ability to innovate!

 

  • What do you love most about your job?

I really enjoy getting out and meeting companies, understanding what they do, identifying issues they are having and developing projects to solve those issues. I facilitate Innovation Workshops with some companies where I get them to think about potential business scenarios – that always surfaces things that they need to work on across a range of strategic, business model and technical areas. I meet lots of companies and I enjoy sharing the networks and connecting people from the different companies, you never know what new ideas may spark or new partnerships develop from those connections that are of benefit to the companies.

 

More information

 

Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Clusters: How we can help your company

September 2016 saw the formation of the first Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway cluster Applied IoT. Established in the area of Internet of Things, the cluster sought to bring together unique skills and expertise throughout the network directly to Irish Business. Since then another two clusters have joined the Technology Gateway family, in the areas of Engineering, Materials and Design (EMD Ireland) and Food and Beverage Technologies (Irish Food Tech).

All three clusters work to consolidate the considerable amount of expertise and technologies available throughout the network and deliver market lead innovation solutions in a collaborative and responsive fashion. Providing many benefits for the business community such as;

  • a ready-made R&D infrastructure applied to industry problems of all sizes,
  • access to 300+ researchers and engineers
  • an opportunity to capitalise on the research and engineering expertise of multiple centres and Institutes of Technologies
  • access to R&D advice, supports and funding from Enterprise Ireland.

For Irish companies of all sizes, that may currently lack the required resources, funding and/or expertise to explore an innovation problem or project, the clusters are often their first port of call.

 

What funding options are available?

There are a variety of different types of funding available, to suit all types and sizes of project. We offer Industry support in the form of various Enterprise Ireland funding initiatives such as Innovation Vouchers, Feasibility Studies, Innovation Partnerships and the Agile innovation Fund. You can also access any gateway cluster by direct consultancy. You can access more information on funding options here.

 

How do I get in contact with the clusters?

The clusters have a dedicated support office and team based in Dublin to help with your companies’ individual needs. If you have an idea for a new product, service or process or are experiencing difficulties with an existing process, get in touch with us to see how we can assist you in developing an innovative solution.

But don’t just take our word for it, check out below how these Irish companies benefited from cluster collaboration.

 

The Applied IoT Cluster and GrazeBot Ltd.

Grazebot Ltd. in collaboration with IMaR and COMAND Technology Gateways have developed ‘Freshgraze’, an automated moving fence system which allocates fresh grass to grazing animals on a continual basis at a rate that ensures the entire sward is consumed before the fence moves again. COMAND have assisted GrazeBot in the development of a software platform to provide grassland mapping which controls feed rate and provides overall motion directives to the moving fence, while IMaR worked with GrazeBot Ltd. on the development of the moving fence electronic hardware and remote communications. GrazeBot intend to continue working with both Gateways through Enterprise Ireland funding mechanisms to bring this AgriTech solution to market within 12 months.

 

The EMD Ireland cluster and Accucolour Ltd.

Accucolour Ltd. in association with both the Applied Polymer Technologies (APT) and CREST Technology Gateway’s developed liquid additives for a PET injection moulding process. The CREST Gateway was engaged with the formulations development where colourants were successfully suspended into a liquid carrier which allowed the APT Gateway to carry out processing trials to validate the new technology. Accucolour Ltd. were seeking to influence the melting/processing of P.E.T in such a manner as to reduce energy input/increase output standardisation and reduce carbon footprint. As a consequence, follow on projects with both gateways will look at the emerging area of homogenisation of recycled PET for the efficient production of consumer-ready PET bottle products. This work will ultimately enable Closed Loop Recycling.

For more information about the clusters, check out www.technologygateway.ie. If you have any further questions, are unsure about eligibility or require further advice you can simply get in touch with us. You can also follow us on Twitter @EITechGateway @aiotgroup, @emdcluster and @irishfoodtech and LinkedIn to keep up with the latest industry and cluster news.

Technology Gateways: innovative support throughout the country

Companies across Ireland are currently engaging in innovative projects which aid with their development, growth, and success at home and abroad. To enable the development of these projects, Enterprise Ireland provides advice, support, and funding through their regional office network and with programmes such as the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network.

The Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway programme is a network of 15 gateways situated within nine Institutes of Technology and one Technological University spread across the country. Our unique geographic approach is a key aspect of the network, with 13 of our 15 Gateways located in the regions. Each Gateway provides an important service to Irish industry, not only within its own region but nationwide, by providing key assistance and expertise to companies with research, development, or innovation problems or projects across a broad range of sectors. Access can be funded by various Enterprise Ireland Innovation supports or directly funded by the company.

To find out more about the ongoing development and importance of innovation in regional areas, we talked to Dr Stephen Seawright, WiSAR Technology Gateway Manager, about the centre, its services, and the growth of innovation in the North-West.

Explain a bit about WiSAR and your role within it?

The Wireless Sensor Applied Research Technology Gateway (WiSAR) is located in Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) and provides solutions to Irish industry for the Internet of Things (IoT) using its expertise in wireless, embedded electronics and related software. WiSAR has been providing support to Irish industry for 15 years and, while our foundation is in electronics, today we have expertise in all levels of the IoT stack from the physical layer through to software and data analytics.

Home to an extensive team of researchers and engineers, we work on a wide range of collaborative R&D projects for industry. The range of facilities available at WiSAR allows for a very high standard of research and development to be conducted. My role, as Technology Gateway Manager, is to engage with industry, not only in the North-West but nationwide. I have a broad remit, which ranges from helping clients define projects or ideas, assisting with project funding applications, and driving the projects forward to ensure key deliverables are met on time and on budget. Throughout the process, I’ll also liaise with the company to keep them informed of progress.

What services can WiSAR provide?

WiSAR has a range of technologies and services available. Our facilities provide companies with a flexible and expert R&D resource, allowing them to examine the potential for existing and emerging wireless and sensor technology within their businesses. Our lab includes electronic prototyping facilities, 3D printing and RF test equipment operational to 40GHz. Companies engage with WiSAR to conduct technology research, to develop and build prototypes, to undertake feasibility studies, and to collaborate on new product development. We have a dedicated ready-made R&D infrastructure which can be applied to industry problems of all sizes and in several instances, we become an external R&D source for companies that come through our doors.

What type of company do you normally engage with?

We work with a wide variety of sectors such as healthcare, sports & tourism, renewable energy, marine, transport, and the environment to name but a few. Our team provides assistance and support to all types of companies from start-ups and SMEs right through to large multinationals. Companies can access our services through a range of Enterprise Ireland supports such as the Innovation Voucher Programme, Innovation Partnerships, Feasibility Study or the Agile Innovation fund. Companies also have the option to fund projects directly themselves.

What are the main benefits for a company engaging in an innovation project?

Rapid advancement in technology is constantly disrupting existing products and even entire business models offering both challenges and opportunities for new product development and process improvement. Innovation has become essential for Irish industry to remain competitive and relevant to a global audience and by engaging with the innovation process companies have taken the first step to ensure continued development and growth.

Innovation can open many doors and provide new opportunities such as market diversification, increased client base and product line extension. For similar reasons, the Gateway network attracts start-ups and entrepreneurs with disruptive concepts but insufficient technical capability to realise their idea. Large or small, established or new, it is important that companies realise that they are not alone; by engaging with Gateways like WiSAR, they can expect expert advice and support from specialised research centres around the country.

How important is the WiSAR Gateway for the North-West and beyond?

The North-West has a wide and diverse range of companies operating throughout the region. As with any Irish company, the importance of establishing a presence, developing growth, and maintaining a sustainable business is critically important. Often, the key to all three elements can be working within an innovation ecosystem. The WiSAR Gateway not only provides a centre of excellence in embedded electronics and software but a valuable resource for advice and support in innovation funding. The centre is a one-stop shop for all types of companies, be it their first engagement with innovation or indeed a company who has been through the process before.

It’s important to remember that companies can engage with us whatever their innovation problems may be. We work closely with our sister gateways throughout the Technology Gateway network, ensuring access to a level of expertise in a wide range of specialities. We are also a member of Applied IoT, a specialised Technology Gateway cluster operating in the area of Internet of Things. This level of collaboration and co-operation provides industry with access to over 250 researchers and engineers, ensuring they receive relevant and dedicated help and support every step of the way.

What’s your advice for a company thinking about starting their innovation journey?

Innovation can be daunting, but knowing your audience, researching the supports available and considering the positives gained, rather than the negatives, is a step in the right direction. Remember that help, support, advice, and expertise are available every step of the way.

For more information on WiSAR Technology Gateway, get in touch with us, follow us on Twitter, or check out our website for further information.

Technology Gateways in the South East. What’s available in your region?

The success of new and established Irish industry is essential for the growth and economic development of any region. For industry, in particular, trading in an island with a forward-thinking and outward looking economy, sustained development throughout the entire island is necessary. One of the many contributors to this is a vibrant innovation ecosystem. In other words, the continuous experimentation or development of a new or improved product, process or service. By embracing this process, companies not only enhance their own development but also that of their collective region. Innovation should, therefore, become an essential part of a company’s growth strategy.

But don’t despair, you don’t need to navigate this on your own. Specialised assistance in this area is available for companies that may not have a dedicated R&D team, suitable facilities, technologies, or indeed the time or resources to allocate to such a task.

Reaching out to those who can help is often the first step, but knowing what’s available can sometimes be a bit of a minefield. Distilling information in terms of what’s suitable and appropriate for your company can take time and effort, a luxury some simply do not have. This blog aims to ease that process and outline what’s available in terms of innovation supports, funding, expertise and advice in the South East. This is by no means an exhaustive list but aims to brings together some information regarding the innovation funding space such as those available through the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network.

Funding, supports, and expertise

Often essential to a business in the start-up or SME phase is a strong support network, an abundance of knowledge and expertise, as well as funding and supports that encapsulate forward movement. A wide range of innovation funding is currently available for the majority of Irish companies – from start-ups, HPSUs, SMEs, and indigenous companies right through to multinationals. In particular, those available through the Technology Gateway Network are the Innovation Voucher, Innovation Feasibility Study, Innovation Partnership and Agile Innovation fund.

For most Irish companies thinking about availing of innovation funding, the first port of call is often the Local Enterprise Office, Enterprise Ireland regional office, or equivalent. With a wide array of advice to offer as well as funding and supports, the mix of experience and expertise is second to none. Agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices, and Intertrade Ireland work with companies to develop, enhance, and maintain collaborative partnerships with established knowledge providers such as universities, Institutes of Technologies, or third level colleges in the region and beyond.

Technology Gateway Knowledge Providers in your area

The Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway programme provides four such knowledge providers in the South East, each operating within its own unique speciality, providing expertise and advice to companies and aiding them in developing new or enhanced products, processes or services. The network as a whole provides access to over 300 industry focused researchers and engineers, specialist equipment, and facilities.

Design+

The Design+ Technology Gateway, based at Institute of Technology Carlow, is a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in design, engineering, ICT and bioscience. The centre champions the application of the design thinking process within the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network, with a focus on the engineering, ICT, and bioscience sectors. Design+ was established in 2016 to support innovation for industry utilising a design approach. The technology offerings to industry include:

  • Design: design strategy, visual communication and product design capabilities
  • Prototyping: 3D printing, machining and modelling
  • Engineering: smart energy systems, embedded circuits and systems technologies, and surface and coating engineering

PMBRC

The Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC) is an applied research centre which aims to support the sustainable growth of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry in the south-east of Ireland. Situated in the heart of the region on the Waterford Institute of Technology campus, the centre seeks to stimulate research and innovation, allowing companies to embed R&D into their activities. PMBRC delivers industry solutions for the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors in areas such as drug delivery, process technology, biotechnology, biomedical, and separation science. It offers expertise in:

  • Physico-chemical characterisation of materials
  • Advanced analytical capability
  • Formulation, process development and drug delivery

SEAM

SEAM Technology Gateway, based in Waterford Institute of Technology, is an industry focused applied research centre, providing materials engineering solutions to companies from wide-ranging sectors such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals, microelectronics, precision engineering, and energy sectors. SEAM supports research activities for industries throughout Ireland.

SEAM provides engineering material solutions for industry in sectors such as biomedical devices, pharmaceuticals, microelectronics, precision engineering, and construction with expertise in:

  • X-Ray Micro-tomography (XMT): 3D non-destructive characterisation
  • Finite Element Analysis and Computational Fluid Dynamics: 3D software modelling
  • 3D metal Additive Manufacturing (AM)
  • Materials and precision engineering: engineering design and characterisation
  • Biomedical engineering: medical device design optimisation and new material assessment

TSSG

The TSSG Technology Gateway based in Waterford Institute of Technology collaborates with companies involved in delivering mobile services primarily for smartphones and tablets. TSSG is an advanced software R&D centre with particular expertise in all aspects of mobile networks and communications platforms and services.

TSSG’s technology offer is based upon expertise in:

  • Distributed and cloud-based mobile services
  • Next-generation IP based voice and video
  • Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) services
  • Location, context, smart space, and social service enablers
  • Data science and mining
  • UI/UX
  • Data analytics
  • Communications/networks
  • Machine learning and trialling

For more information on any of the above funding supports or Technology Gateways contact the support office, download our Gateway booklet, sign up for our quarterly Technology Gateways newsletter and follow us on Twitter to keep up with the latest network and cluster news!

MET Gateway offers Medicinal Nutrition Technologies at their GMIT Galway centre

The Medical and Engineering Technologies (MET) Centre is an interdisciplinary technology centre providing world-class solutions for the Medtech and general manufacturing sectors. Based at GMIT’s Galway campus, the centre develops novel technologies relevant to both clinical research and Medtech companies operating in the design application phase. By actively engaging with clinical and industry partners, the MET Centre produces both scientific knowledge and technology outputs across a range of streams.

In recent months, MET has extended their technology offering to industry with the addition of medicinal nutrition. Medicinal nutrition at MET is dedicated to advancing the science of nutrition in collaboration with industry and to maximising healthy outcomes in the Irish population.  The concept of medicinal nutrition encompasses functional foods and foods for health. The research team at MET can help the food industry in all aspects of novel food development with particular expertise on testing the effects of food on human health. Additional expertise lies in the development of foods specific to those involved in sport and recreational activity.

MET is a leader in nutritional science for health and wellbeing purposes and its unique skills offer Irish industry the ability to test and modify the impact of foods on physiological and metabolic parameters enabling food companies to develop niche foods that can target particular groups in the population.  Their know-how enables companies to analyse the health effects of existing products and provides a means to develop new products to target specific health goals in individuals.

What is medicinal nutrition?

At its core, medicinal nutrition means:

‘keeping healthy people healthy’

How?

  • by examining/testing the physiological impact of food
  • developing Foods for Health, Foods for Life, Foods for Sport and Wellness

How MET can help your company

MET can assist companies in product design and innovation in areas such as food analysis and testing, human interventional trials and product development and optimisation. Additionally, MET has the capabilities to provide full wellbeing training and solutions in the workplace.

The centre is focused on applied research with translation into industry and practice to encapsulate research, education and training in the areas of:

  • Nutrition
  • Metabolic health & testing
  • Wellbeing
  • Functional food testing/development
  • Sport & exercise science

What facilities are available for Irish Industry

Met Gateway offers a range of facilities in areas such as:

Food Analysis and Testing

  • Metabolic testing: Metabolic rate analysis (basal metabolic rate) using ECAL technologies – how does a food product affect metabolism, what substrate i.e. fat/glucose are people burning at rest and what foods can affect human metabolic rate, Glycaemic Index (GI): (GI assessment and certification, identification and development of low GI foods) glycaemic response; energy and glucose metabolism – designed to ensure that foods are not giving rise to large increases in blood glucose which is associated with weight gain etc weight loss and body weight regulation; cholesterol and triglyceride measurements.
  • Cognitive testing: effects on mood and cognitive function (eg reaction time, concentration, memory, stress tolerance) – can your food enhance concentration, what foods are most compatible with work, etc.
  • Antioxidant assays: bioaccessibility and bioavailability; antioxidant profiles, stability and antioxidant capacity.
  • Other food assays: quantification and isolation of individual food components; plant-based bioactives (e.g. seaweed extracts, β-glucans and other prebiotics).
  • Food intake studies: effects of food components on food intake, appetite and satiety – how bioactives added to your food can make people feel ‘fuller for longer’ and therefore potential assist with weight loss and weight management.

Human Interventional Trials

  • Strictly controlled experiments on human volunteers for one day to several weeks to longer-term studies, with measures taken either in-house or amongst free-living populations.
  • Randomised controlled trials – bespoke studies designed to fit the needs of the client.

Product development and optimisation

  • Provide leadership to the food industry to encourage innovation and the promotion of health and wealth creation.
  • Consultancy on nutritional labelling, formulation, replacing synthetic additives, shelf life, evaluating functional properties.
  • Compliance assessment with compositional, labelling, packaging and advertising regulations in the EU.

What steps should a company take to start their innovation journey?

Often the first step to take is to implement the Design Thinking process to define the problem your product/service will solve and to determine if there is a market for your product/service, as well as engagement in research to develop and validate your product. Don’t worry if you’re unsure of the process, the team at MET Gateway is available for help and advice from the start. All you need to do is contact them for an initial discussion.

How to get in contact with MET Gateway

If you have an idea for a new product, service or process, or are experiencing difficulties with an existing process, get in touch with the Gateway, follow them on Twitter or check out their website for further information.