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MET Gateway offer free online Innovation Voucher Consultations

If you have an idea for a new product or service, and need support to develop it, the team at the Medical and Engineering Technology Gateway (MET) are here to advise and support you in developing your idea. MET are running a series of free Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher consultations on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th of July. These one-to-one online consultation will take you through the process from start to finish.  More information plus consultation dates and times are available here.

Who should attend?

If you are an entrepreneur or company with an innovative idea, product or process that requires assistance with making it market ready, this 1-to-1 consultation will greatly assist you in this process. We are part of a nationwide network of technology gateways, each with their own set of expertise and we can help you find the right partner to support your needs.

MET Technology Gateway

Located in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology’s Galway campus, the Enterprise Ireland Medical and Engineering Technologies (MET) Gateway is an interdisciplinary applied research centre, dedicated to supporting Research, Development and Innovation activities in the MedTech, LifeSciences and Engineering sectors across five technology themes:

  • Medical Imaging Technologies that allow for prototype devices to be tested and evaluated under clinically relevant simulated use conditions.
  • Anatomical Modelling and Physiological Replication that translate medical data into engineering data and then into clinically relevant anatomical models with accompanying simulation systems.
  • Data Analytics and Visualisation: MET has expertise in data analytics and the visualisation of clinical data that inform the design of next generation medical device prototypes.
  • Design Engineering and Verification: offering services in prototyping and resign verification technologies such as CAD design; rapid prototyping, technical reviews and materials and product characterisation.
  • Medicinal Nutrition and Sport: with expertise in Nutrition and Sports Science, the research team assist the food industry in all aspects of novel food development including food analysis and testing, human intervention trials, product innovation, development and optimisation.

To learn more about MET capabilities and how they can help you, check out their website or contact Sharon White at sharon.white@gmit.ie or 091 742329.

Company Profile: Tekrasport

Tekrasport founder, John Hanley, an engineer with over 30 years’ experience, is a 3-time Ironman triathlete and active open water swimmer. After an injury forced John into retirement from rugby, he threw himself into new challenges – swimming and triathlons on Ireland’s West Coast beside some of Europe’s finest unspoilt beaches. 

As a competitor, race organiser and parent, John realised that swim safety devices were limiting people’s performance in the open water and used his engineering background to design a new type of device, one that would help first timers overcome anxiety and push experienced swimmers to improve. Wanting to improve upon the standard tow floats seen in various open water swimming locations, Tekrapod, the first open-water safety device, designed specifically for open- water swimmers was developed.  

From this, John extended his range, with one of his most recent innovations being the unique Tekralite, a 100% waterproof, wireless, rechargeable, LED strobe light for maximum visibility when swimming in low light conditions. With a strong focus on safety matched with a passion for personal achievement and pushing boundaries, TekraSport has become a serious industry competitor. 

Above: Tekralite, a 100% waterproof, wireless, rechargeable, LED strobe light

Tekrasport Ltd approached the WiSAR Technology Gateway to benchmark the performance of the Tekralite design and to investigate improvements to the end user experience of the innovative product. Using an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher, Tekrasport, in collaboration with WiSAR researchers undertook a performance investigation leading to the development of new firmware for the product related to movement sensor technology for the device.  

The partnership with WiSAR Lab, enabled Tekrasport to increase the functionality and improve the power consumption of their innovative Tekralite, the only 100% waterproof rechargeable light on the market. By working with WiSAR researchers, Tekrasport Ltd were able to improve the end-user experience and the battery life of their innovative light, for multi-purpose use in many recreational sporting activities including running, cycling and kayaking.  

These improvements to the Tekralite have increased the devices potential to be a game changer in the recreational sport industry.

WiSAR Partnership 

WiSAR Technology Gateway, based in Letterkenny Institute of Technology, provides solutions to Irish industry for the Internet of Things (IoT) using expertise in wireless, embedded systems and power electronics. WiSAR is home to an extensive team of researchers and engineers working on a wide range of collaborative RD&I industry projects and is equipped with a state-of-the-art test bench, connectivity devices, industrial sensors, antennae and digital controllers, for the design of prototypes and the optimisation of industrial processes. This expertise enables WiSAR to work with many product design companies to produce advanced near-to-market prototypes. 

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Industry complete 5000th project with the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network

Ministers Troy and English announce landmark 5,000th project – Sligo based company, Tekrasport and their collaboration with the WiSAR Gateway in Letterkenny IT on Tekralite, a 100% waterproof, wireless, rechargeable, LED strobe light for swimming in low light conditions.

Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy and Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English today announced Tekrasport and their collaboration with the WiSAR Technology Gateway in Letterkenny IT as the 5,000th industry project completed by the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network.

In operation since 2013, the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network provides a range of innovation solutions and supports to companies throughout the island of Ireland. Run by Enterprise Ireland, in partnership with Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities, the network has 16 Technology Gateways located nationwide. Each providing services and supports, across a range of technologies, to Irish companies in the areas such as Food, Pharma, ICT and Materials amongst others.

Companies from across the country have benefited from the expertise and experience available within the network to assist in the delivery of near-to-market solutions. The Technology Gateway Network and the funding supports offered by Enterprise Ireland are fundamental in promoting the ongoing development of research, development and innovation (RD&I) within companies who may lack the facilitates, equipment, personnel or expertise to do so otherwise.

The network offers support and assistance to a wide range of companies such as, High Potential Start-Ups, Small and Medium Enterprises, Large Indigenous and Multinationals. To date, the Gateways has collaborated with over 3,560 Irish companies, assisting in 5,000 projects worth €45million, of which over €22.5million is cash from industry.

Speaking of the achievement, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy said “Reaching the 5,000th project so quickly is a fantastic achievement that all the Technology Gateway staff should be proud of. Growing from 200 projects in 2013 to over 850 annually in 2020 is evidence of the huge demand from industry that exists and the willingness of the companies to return on multiple occasions to their local Gateways to carry out R&D. I am sure that the journey to project 10,000 will be even quicker and that the growth of the Technology Gateways will continue at pace due to the outstanding commitment of the Institutes of Technologies and Technological Universities in supporting their individual Technology Gateways.”

Speaking about the announcement Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD said “Tekrasport Ltd are a prime example of the extremely high standard of innovative products designed or in production by Irish industry today. The Tekrasport story is one of inspiration which no doubt will resonate with many. The growth of the Technology Gateways also highlights the world class talent available in the Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities and the value of local access for industry to this knowledge. I would encourage any companies who haven’t done so already to contact their local Technology Gateway to see what support is available to help them deal with challenges such as BREXIT and the COVID 19 pandemic.”

Enterprise Ireland’s Gearoid Mooney said, “Enterprise Ireland is proud to support the Technology Gateway network across Ireland. It plays a vital role in opening up access to research expertise on a regional level through our Institutes of Technology and our Technological Universities. The commencement of the 5000th project is a great achievement and I want to acknowledge the role that all partners have played in making this a real success story and we look forward to future collaboration in the years to come.”

Tekrasport / WiSAR Partnership

The partnership with WiSAR Lab, enabled Tekrasport to increase the functionality and improve the power consumption of their innovative Tekralite, the only 100% waterproof rechargeable light on the market. By working with WiSAR researchers, Tekrasport Ltd were able to improve the end-user experience and the battery life of their innovative light, for multi-purpose use in many recreational sporting activities including running, cycling and kayaking.

These improvements to the Tekralite have increased the devices potential to be a game changer in the recreational sport industry.

Speaking of the recent collaboration John Hanley, founder of Tekrasport said:

“We were delighted to team up with WiSAR, through the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher Programme, to develop the functionality of our innovative Tekralite. Through this collaboration with WiSAR researchers, Tekrasport were able to incorporate a number of significant improvements to our swimmers’ light, making the product even more competitive and attractive for the global market. Going forward, we believe that this added value will increase our capacity to grow and penetrate new markets.”

Photonics Sensors for Air Quality Monitoring

Air pollution in terms of toxic gas molecules and particulate matter is a major cause of morbidity and premature mortality, resulting in an estimated 4.2 million deaths per year. Real time pollution monitoring with high spatial resolution and public alerts is vital to minimise the exposure of the population, particularly the vulnerable, to air pollution. Direct access to high quality, trustworthy data would allow people and businesses to optimise their daily schedules in order to reduce exposure.

CAPPA recently launched the EU-funded research project PASSEPARTOUT, in collaboration with 17 EU partners. PASSEPARTOUT aims to develop low cost optical sensors and apply them to air quality monitoring, creating a 3-level optical gas analyser network to operate in urban areas. Exploiting photo-acoustic and photo-thermal based spectroscopy, the project will create compact photonic sensors mounted on buildings, vehicles and drones, for real-time outdoor air pollution monitoring.

Currently available ambient pollutant reference detectors are either impractical for widespread or mobile deployment (due to size, cost, insufficient robustness), or generally are still not stable or sensitive enough for monitoring ambient pollutants reliably. PASSEPARTOUT will advance the development and deployment of miniature, hyperspectral optical based sensors based on Quartz Enhanced Photo-acoustic Spectroscopy and Photo-Thermal Interferometry for a wide range of ambient pollutants. The PASSEPARTOUT optical sensors operate in the mid-infrared or near-infrared spectral range and allow calibration-free methodologies, as quantification is based on the well-known optical constants of the target analytes and will be compatible with the rigorous certification process.

The sensitivity and selectivity of photonic sensors based on Laser Absorption Spectroscopy (LAS), make them ideal for monitoring numerous trace air pollutant constituents. The Infrared (IR) region of the electromagnetic spectrum is known as the molecular fingerprint region, as IR light interacts strongly with molecular vibrational transitions which are predominantly in this energy range. Furthermore, slight differences in molecules results in different absorption profiles, resulting in easily distinguishable fingerprints. The growing interest in IR LAS is due to the recent development of lasers, which are tunable over large-wavelength ranges in the IR, permitting unambiguous detection of numerous substances at low concentrations. They are considerably faster than non-photonic sensors, suffer from minimal drift, offer high specificity and sensitivity for real time in-situ measurements.

Standard LAS systems are based on slight, hard to measure, direct changes in light intensity due to Lambert-Beer optical absorption; Photoacoustic Spectroscopy (PAS) and PhotoThermal Interferometry (PTI) follow very different rules. In PAS, the absorption of infrared photons in a gas sample results in the excitation of molecular energy levels whose energy is released as heat. The generated signal is proportional to the incident light intensity and quantity of absorbing species. Should this intensity be modulated, localised transient heating results, creating two different waves; 1. a weakly damped propagating acoustic (pressure) wave and 2. a heavily damped thermal wave observed only in the vicinity of the exciting light beam. In standard PAS sensors, a microphone detects the acoustic (pressure) wave. In the Quartz Enhanced PAS (QEPAS) approach, a quartz-tuning fork (QTF) is employed as the electrical transducer. The IR laser beam is focused between the QTF prongs and when the laser beam is modulated at the resonance frequency of the QTF, the generated acoustic wave deflects the two prongs in opposite directions, creating a piezoelectricity signal proportional to the absorbing analyte concentration. QEPAS provides great stability, compactness, capability to analyse small gas samples, requires no optical detectors, covers a large linear dynamic range (from few % to part per trillion range) in real time and has low power consumption and cost. Conversely, PTI monitors the photon-generated thermal wave through the refractive index (the refractive index is temperature dependent). PTI shares many of the features of QEPAS, but is not connected to any mechanical resonance, which gives an advantage in certain gas matrices.

Figure 1 QEPAS employs a QTF transducer to convert acoustic waves to electric signal.

As part of PASSEPARTOUT, CAPPA will advance the development of mobile, miniature and hyperspectral QEPAS and PTI sensors, for a wide range of ambient pollutant gases (NOx, SO2, NH3, CH4, CO, CO2) and black carbon, all significant contributors to morbidity and mortality. The innovative and high-performance technologies will be built on robust drone-mounted, low-cost vehicle-mounted and stationary sensors, creating the first 3D mobile gas analyser network, with extremely high precision and good spatial resolution. The analysers will be deployed within urban areas, around landfills and seaports. Collected data will be combined with weather data and analysed. PASSEPARTOUT will then generate air quality forecasts, which will be provided to the public via a freely downloadable Pollution Monitoring App (PMA), with options to customise the forecasts based on the users’ preferences.

 

Figure 2 Schematic of the PASSEPARTOUT three-level sensor network, comprising the following layers: airborne gas analysers on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles; mobile vehicle mounted gas analysers and stationary gas analysers distributed in volume on lampposts etc. The sensor network will comprise of a mixture of QEPAS/PTI MIR LAS sensors and will provide 3D mapping of pollution hotspots with 2-metre spatial resolution.

CAPPA staff have over ten years’ experience working with photonic sensors with a specific focus on air quality monitoring in recent years. You can learn more about photonic sensing here and about CAPPA’s currently active research projects here.

PASSEPARTOUT has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101016956, in the context of the Photonics Public Private Partnership.

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Technology Insights – Energy Optimisation and Innovation for Business

‘Technology Insights’ brings together a range of relevant and exciting industry topics highlighting current, new and emerging technologies in sectors such as MedTech, Software, Biotechnology, Food and Manufacturing. The series aims to provide Irish industry with a platform for interesting and engaging discussion on a wide range of current and future technologies, presented by industry experts within the Technology Gateway Network.

The fifth webinar in the series takes place on Thursday 24th June 2021 and will focus on ‘Energy Optimisation and Innovation for Business’. Presented by Dr. Paul MacArtain and Dr. Fergal O’Rourke from CREDIT Technology Gateway at Dundalk Institute of Technology.

The drive to decarbonise business will see the halving of emissions each decade to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Better environmental performance leads to improved resource efficiency and direct cost savings and can also increase access to customers who are increasingly demanding more environmentally friendly products and services. Better environmental performance will also increase the agility and resilience of the company to climate change impacts. The steps through energy efficiency, renewable energy, corporate sustainability and circular economies are linked and businesses can identify opportunities to address each of these areas.

The CREDIT gateway specialises in the technical feasibility, development and testing of energy technologies aimed at addressing these drivers. Dr. Paul MacArtain will outline how energy storage can assist with decarbonisation and efficiency and Dr. Fergal O’Rourke will describe some examples of energy product developments developed at DKIT which SMEs have commercialised.

Presenters

Fergal O’Rourke, BE (Hons), PhD

Dr Fergal O’Rourke holds a BE (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD (Mechanical Engineering) in design optimisation and evaluation of energy systems and technologies, with a particular focus on hydrodynamic performance prediction of tidal current turbines operating in unsteady fluid flow conditions. Fergal’s primary field of research is fluid mechanics, particularly the development of numerical and analytical algorithms for external flow aerodynamic and hydrodynamic calculations for rotodynamic machines. Dr O’Rourke is PI on a number of research projects and the principal supervisor of five PhD students all in the energy domain. Fergal is the programme director for the MSc in Renewable Energy Systems programme delivered at Dundalk Institute of Technology and delivers the wind energy modules and supervises projects on this programme. Fergal also lectures fluid mechanics modules on the BEng (Hons) and BEng in Mechanical Engineering programmes in the School of Engineering. In his capacity as a lecturer at Dundalk Institute of Technology, he has collaborated with industrial partners on numerous energy and renewable energy projects over the past decade.

Paul MacArtain, Ph.D.

Dr Paul MacArtain holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from NUI Dublin and has worked in industry and at the Centre for Renewables and Energy at DKIT as Senior Research Fellow. He was Director of the Centre from 2017 to 2021 and is co-PI with Dr. O’Rourke on the Enterprise Ireland CREDIT Technology Gateway. He is DKIT PI on the INTERREG VA SPIRE2 project led by Ulster University with specific focus on distributed energy storage and is supervising one Ph.D. student in this project in collaboration with Dunleer Sustainable Energy Community. Dr MacArtain is also PI on the SEAI RD&D Dundalk Virtual Energy Microgrid Project in partnership with Energy Trading Ireland and DKIT PI on the INTERREG VA FASTER project on rapid EV charger rollout in the Cross Border region. He has completed more than 10 EI Innovation Vouchers with industry and 2 InterTrade Ireland Fusion projects as well as contract research in energy topics.

CREDIT Technology Gateway

The Centre for Renewables and Energy Technology Gateway at Dundalk IT (CREDIT), is focused on energy efficiency and optimisation as well as Energy Storage and Supply Optimisation. The Gateway has expertise in solar, wind and ocean energy and will assist companies to make both their products and their manufacturing operations as energy efficient as possible.

The CREDIT Gateway provides a place for industry and experts to work together with a particular focus on helping start-ups and SMEs explore product innovation, source applied research opportunities and leverage tech solutions for their needs.

Over the past number of years there has been a growing demand from industry for detailed Energy Performance Measurement of products, prototypes and process innovations. The CREDIT Gateway delivers these assessments as a mechanism to help companies to optimise and decarbonise their energy and other Green House Gas emissions.

Date: Thursday 24th June 2021

Time: 11.00am – 11.45am

For further details and registration please see here

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Webinar: Bringing Innovation to Market – The Role of Funding and Research Expertise

If you are an entrepreneur or company with an innovative idea, product or process that requires assistance with making it market ready, then this Webinar will greatly assist you in this process.

Hosted by Shannon Chamber and Local Enterprise Office Clare (LEO Clare) in collaboration with and the Enterprise Ireland Medical and Engineering Technology Gateway (MET), this webinar will provide key information on the funding and supports available for your business idea and offer guidance on how to engage with LEO Clare and/or the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network.

Key speakers at this webinar include:

  • Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber
  • Padraic McElwee, Head of Enterprise, LEO Clare
  • Sharon White, MET Technology Gateway Manager (Galway)
  • Dr John Barry, IMaR Gateway Manager (Kerry)
  • Dr Tim Yeomans, Shannon ABC Gateway Manager (Clare)

About Presenters: 

Local Enterprise Office Clare (LEO Clare) aims to promote entrepreneurship, foster business start-ups and develop existing micro and small businesses to drive job creation and to provide accessible high-quality supports for business ideas.

Enterprise Ireland Medical and Engineering Technologies (MET) Gateway is an interdisciplinary applied research centre, dedicated to supporting Research, Development and Innovation activities in the MedTech, LifeSciences and Engineering sectors. Located in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology’s Galway campus, the MET Technology Gateway provides open access for industry to the academic expertise within GMIT, generating solutions for close-to-market needs to companies.

Working within the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network of 16 specialised Gateways and sectoral clusters,  this centre delivers innovation, expertise and solutions for Irish industry. The Applied IOT, Irish FoodTech and Engineering Materials and Design (EMD) clusters, comprises multiple gateways working together to provide specialist support and expertise. Operated in partnership with the Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities, these clusters offer access to the academic and technological expertise within each institute.

The IMaR Technology Gateway, based in Munster Technological University Kerry, applies its core expertise in electronics, mechatronics, automation technologies, software, IoT, RFID and data analytics to address process and product innovation requirements of enterprises.

The Shannon ABC Technology Gateway is based on both the Munster Technological University Kerry and Limerick Institute of Technology campuses and is a leader in bioresource research – detection, identification, characterisation and valorisation – and collaborates with industry and other research centres in order to deliver this expertise in applied settings.

Who should attend?

This webinar is suitable for anyone seeking support if you are considering developing a new product, process or service.

This webinar is free of charge, but online booking is essential.

The link to join this webinar will be shared via email a day before the event.

Profile: PEM Technology Gateway

PEM Technology Gateway, based in the Institute of Technology Sligo, provides Industry-focused research and development of precision engineering, manufacturing and materials technologies and innovation. Working with companies at all stages of their research and innovation journey, across the full spectrum of Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs).

What is the PEM Technology Gateway?

PEM Technology Gateway is part of the PEM Research Centre that specifically provides applied research and innovation supports to the manufacturing industry and has a dedicated team in place, funded by Enterprise Ireland, to help support this.

PEM (Precision Engineering and Manufacturing) Technology Gateway has built on IT Sligo’s strength and history as the National Training Centre for Toolmakers in Ireland and has developed expertise in precision engineering, design for manufacture (DFM), mechanical engineering, materials science, micro-machining, polymer processing, rapid prototyping, general manufacturing process control and statistical process analysis. PEM works with companies, across a wide range of sectors on projects that help solve technical challenges or innovations they want to exploit. Providing technology solutions that allow companies to continuously improve processes & services and the development of new products, by leveraging the research expertise available though IT Sligo.

The aim at the PEM Technology Gateway is to:

  • To service the needs of industry – working with companies to provide solutions to engineering, manufacturing, and technical problems across their value chain.
  • To contribute to the technical and academic body of knowledge within the Precision Engineering & Manufacturing sector, and to transfer that knowledge to Industry.

What expertise is available at PEM?

The PEM Research, Development & Innovation capabilities provide industry with unique applied industrial RD&I support in precision engineering, manufacturing, and material technologies, which is underpinned by the experience and the expertise of their Principal Investigators, all who have individually achieved notable research achievements through engagement with industry in areas of.

  • Product Development & Design
  • Manufacturing Operations
  • Materials Development
  • Product Use & End of Life

What type of companies do PEM collaborate with?

PEM works with companies, across a range of sectors on projects that help solve technical challenges they are experiencing or innovations they want to exploit. The gateway provides technology solutions that allow companies to develop new products, processes & services by leveraging the research expertise available to through IT Sligo.

What services are available at PEM?

The PEM Research Centre is focused on addressing specific manufacturing industry research needs in:

  • Product development and Design for Manufacturing (DFM)
  • Manufacturing Process Simulation and Optimisation
  • Process control and statistical analysis
  • Sustainable Manufacturing
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Enhancement, Optimisation & Control of Polymer Processes
  • Precision Engineering and Micro-Machining
  • Laser-based prototyping and Manufacturing technologies
  • Nanomaterials and Nanotechnologies

PEM RD&I themes are complementary and provide opportunities for convergence towards a unique single industry R&D support offering in precision engineering and manufacturing.

Expertise is also available to assist businesses navigate the myriad of funding mechanisms and help them choose the option best suited to their project.

Meet some of the PEM team members on the blog section of their website and read some of the PEM industry case studies here.

Contact PEM for a FREE Consultation on how they can help your business.

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Virtual launch of state-of-the-art Medical Imaging Suite at MET Gateway

Announcing the virtual launch of GMIT’s Enterprise Ireland Medical and Engineering Technologies (MET) Gateway state-of-the-art Medical Imaging Suite

Representing an investment of €840,000 by Enterprise Ireland, and kindly supported by Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), the recent installation of the Philips Azurion 7 M20 digital fluoroscope to the purpose-built Medical Imaging Suite at GMIT’s Galway campus consititues an outstanding resource for the MedTech industry and academic and clinical researchers. This fluoroscope is optimised for vascular, non-vascular, cardiovascular and neuro applications and with its high resolution and large field of view, it offers superb image quality to evaluate small details and vessels with clarity.

Dr Rick Officer, Vice President for Research and Innovation at GMIT, says: “This facility compliments the MET Gateway’s existing expertise in medical imaging, anatomical modelling and physiological replication. Our state-of-the-art medical testing facility supports the development of next generation medical technologies. It will enable industry, research and academic partners to design, test and demonstrate features of their new technologies on equipment not readily available outside of clinical environments”. He adds “GMIT has established strong ties with the MedTech industry in Ireland and together we aim to provide safer therapies to improve health outcomes for patients”.

The Medical Imaging Suite can also be used for training of clinicians, staff and students in new imaging technologies, the interpretation of medical images and practice techniques as well as the evaluation and demonstration of new and emerging medical technologies. This unique facility is the first of its kind to be located in a research performing organisation in Ireland.

Speaking about the launch, Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Programme Manager Mark Whelan, says: “I am delighted to see the launch of the new and updated flouroscope facility at the MET Gateway in GMIT. This state-of-the-art facility is truly world class and will enable the full range of companies from new startups to the established medical device companies, both locally and nationally to develop new and improved devices at an accelerated rate. It will help keep companies in Ireland at the forefront of the industry.”

The Enterprise Ireland Medical and Engineering Technologies (MET) Gateway is an interdisciplinary applied research centre, dedicated to supporting research, development and innovation activities in the MedTech, LifeSciences and Engineering sectors, providing open access for industry to the academic expertise within GMIT, generating solutions for close-to-market needs of companies.

MET Technology Gateway Manager Sharon White, says: “We are delighted to offer such an important and unique resource to our industry partners, providing them with access to state-of-the-art facilities that are right on their doorstep.  It will enable us to continue to grow and expand our collaboration with the MedTech sector and support them in the development of cutting-edge medical technologies”.

About MET Gateway
GMIT’s MET Gateway is one of 16 industry-focused Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways located within Ireland’s Technological Higher Education Institutions. The Technology Gateway Network Programme funds interactions between local and national industry and the Institutes of Technology/Technological Universities and aims to increase the levels of interaction between the IoTs / TUs and industry in Ireland. The intended outcomes of the programme include:

  • more companies engaging in R&D
  • pilot manufacturing capability for new product/process development
  • enhanced technology validation and testing capabilities
  • testbed generation
  • enhanced training potential for key industry staff on emerging technologies

Within the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network, there are also three sector-specific clusters:  Applied IoT, Irish FoodTech and Engineering Materials & Design (EMD). These clusters comprise of multiple gateways working together to provide specialist support and expertise.

This virtual launch webinar will take place on Thursday, 27 May at 11am (to 11:45am).

Advance booking essential by noon on 26 May.

Register here:

For further information, please contact Sharon White, MET Gateway Manager at met@gmit.ie or visit metcentre.ie

Photo: Neil Warner

 

Reflection: A year in review

Jim Prendergast, Business Development Executive at the TSSG Technology Gateway at Walton Institute reflects on the past year, what it has been like joining the team during a pandemic, and the potential changes companies will need to make in a post-Covid environment.

Tell us a bit about the TSSG Technology Gateway in The Walton Institute
TSSG Technology Gateway is the commercial interface of Walton Institute, dedicated to research in specific areas such as Networks & Cloud Computing, VR/AR, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Mining and Software System Architecture and Engineering. We supports start-ups, micro SME’s and scaling SME’s by delivering technology solutions through collaboration on projects which are close to the market needs of the Irish industry. In the past 2 years, the technology gateway in Walton Institute secured funding from Enterprise Ireland to establish labs and testbeds in the areas of mixed reality, e-Textiles and satellite communications with a direct goal of supporting industry interested in enhancing their product and service offering in these areas.

Describe your role?
It is my job to facilitate the collaboration between cutting edge research and disruptive industry at the Walton Institute in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland. I bring clients and companies from concept to reality through Walton’s expertise in ICT & IoT innovation. I enable businesses to avail of our expertise through funding mechanisms such as Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers. Through an ever-increasing networking and engagement strategy, I also connect with established companies for contract R&D programmes, which are ever present in Walton.

How did you find starting a new job during a pandemic/working remotely?
For many, working remotely was something new. It was a strange feeling coming from a position where I was on the road and face to face with clients each day, straight into remote digital interaction. I noticed pretty quickly how businesses adapted to the “new normal”. I took the approach that everyone was in the same boat and working together, so it didn’t faze me. I do look forward to meeting my colleagues in the office when we reopen and welcoming future companies into the Walton Institute labs.

Has your role changed over the past 12 months?
One aspect that has changed from an external viewpoint is that companies and processes have become much more focused. Platforms such as MS Teams and Zoom have allowed for in depth discussions with Q&A workshops allowing projects to move forward.

Our relationship with our clients and partners is more important than ever. In our role we work with so many different moving parts, and whether it is with industry or internal research divisions, the mantra remains the same, strong relationships and partnerships create collaborative cutting edge projects.

How do you think your role will change when we are no longer working remotely?
It will be a surreal feeling when we do eventually return to normality. I don’t believe remote working will go away and many organisations will have to incorporate this going forward. It is up to employees and employers to make sure it can work. It could be the transformation that changes the work/life balance on a global scale.

There will also be a great sense of achievement at events, and this can foster great work and projects for the remainder of the decade and into the 2030’s.

What’s unique about the gateway and its presence in the south east?
I can’t emphasise enough how together is better. Industry collaborating with our in-house expert researchers and the resources available at Walton offers many benefits. You can use funding through Walton to leverage value to your business.

Our relationship with WIT has grown from strength to strength over the years. Our presence is ever felt, and our aim is to contribute to the south east becoming a leader in the Digital Transformation world. With over 700 project partners, Walton researchers have their finger on the pulse with new and cutting-edge technologies in the areas of Future Health, Precision Agriculture, Smart Energy, Intelligent Transport Systems & Molecular Communications and Computing. Almost half of the projects currently active in the research centre are direct industry projects working to improve Ireland’s status as a leader in tech start-ups. Walton delivers innovative ICT solutions to our clients across multiple industries, including Agritech, HealthTech, Smart Cities, Communications and Energy Sectors.

How are/will companies adapt to the post Covid world?
One of the most important aspects for companies to understand is how will they remain competitive in a post-Covid world. They will have to digitally transform, but that does not necessarily mean an immediate overhaul. Companies will have to use research and development to understand what best serves their needs.

I would have to say businesses need to understand their niche. A client understanding the market will work in tandem with our experts who possess high technical skills. This is a key component when developing the product. The more knowledge a business has, the more innovation takes place.

How can the technology gateway help companies evolve and prepare themselves?
We are transforming how companies operate and compete through our scientifically proven R&D knowledge and expertise. That has a direct impact on improving our clients’ bottom line.

At the Walton we offer clients valuable experience when it comes to ICT projects. We identify a roadmap through our Innovation Sprint, and this outlines the key technical strategy needed for the project ahead. A good start is half the battle & knowing where we need to be at key stages gives the client and Walton’s team perspective and a positive outlook.

Every company must innovate to survive, especially in a post-Covid world. If you do not have a Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) focus, Walton can help you create that focus. If you have an established RD&I function, create an extension of this function with Walton and we will help you push the boundaries to ensure you stay ahead of the competition and disrupt the marketplace.

Now that you have been working in Walton Institute for a year, what do you love most about your job?
I get to meet with so many companies from a wide spectrum. The satisfaction of guiding clients from concept to application is a great feeling. Knowing that I have helped an entrepreneur who will play a significant role in the economy gives me great joy.  Networking and facilitating relationships between industry and research is a huge reward.

Contact me on LinkedIn or email me at jim.prendergast@waltoninstitute.ie  to arrange a meeting or have an informal virtual coffee.

What piece of advice would you give yourself 12 months ago?
When the then Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, announced the closure of schools, I was very naive to think that we would be back in the office by the end of March. I began working in the kitchen and then eventually turned one of the small spare rooms into an acceptable office. If I had one piece of advice to say to myself now, I would say purchase a good webcam and a good set of headphones with built in mic, be it wired or wireless, coinciding with a good office setup. While not everyone can have a good office setup at home, I believe working from home will be incorporated into our lives going forward 1 or 2 days a week. If you can set up a decent desk, a good portable work station with a large screen, a good lumbar chair and desk space you are onto a winner.

This article was first published on the Walton Institute website.

Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme

The Innovation Partnership Programme encourages Irish-based companies to work with Irish research institutes resulting in mutually beneficial co-operation and interaction. Companies can access expertise and resources to undertake research towards the development of new and improved products, processes, services, and generate new knowledge and know-how. The participating company benefits in terms of its growth, the evolution of its strategic research and development and the creation of new knowledge that it can use to generate commercial advantage. The research institute benefits in terms of developing skill sets, intellectual property and publications. 

What is the Innovation Partnership Programme 

The Innovation Partnership Programme can help you to take your business to the next level. Enterprise Ireland can help your company to access the latest skills and expertise from research institutes throughout Ireland.    

The Innovation Partnership Programme can provide up to 80% of the cost of research work towards the development of new and improved products, processes or services, or generate new knowledge and know-how. 

Who is Eligible? 

A manufacturing or internationally traded services company with an operating base in the Republic of Ireland that wishes to collaborate with one or more research institutes, also based in the Republic of Ireland, is eligible to participate. 

Any company that is a registered client of one of the following state development agencies: Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Enterprise Office, Údarás na Gaeltachta.  

The company must have the full support of their assigned Development Adviser/Agency Contact to participate in the programme. This support must be confirmed before any application forms are submitted. Clusters of companies and/or research institutes are welcome to apply to the programme. 

Funding?  

Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme provides grants of up to 80% towards eligible costs of the research project. Funding from Enterprise Ireland will normally not exceed €200,000. Exceptions to this limit may be made for established clients of Enterprise Ireland and other State development agencies where the Innovation Partnership project and the follow-on activity will clearly lead to a significant increase in the company’s employment and/or sales and exports. Grant funding to projects involving early stage companies and High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) clients will normally be capped at €100,000. 

What type of research does this fund Support? 

Project types can be grouped as subsets of either Industrial Research or Experimental Development. The ‘Full Grant Rate’ CANNOT exceed 80% for Industrial Collaborative Research and 60% for Experimental Collaborative Development. 

Industrial Research is planned research and investigation aimed at discovering brand new knowledge. This new knowledge may be useful in developing new products, processes or services, or in bringing about a significant improvement to existing products, processes or services.  

Experimental Development is systematic work, drawing on existing knowledge gained from research and/or practical experience directed towards producing plans & arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products. This work leads to a product which could be commercialised without significant additional development. 

Company Contribution.  

All Innovation Partnership projects require the company partner to provide minimum cash contribution of 20% of the total project cost. In all cases, the company partner must have the resources to contribute its share of the funding for the research and to fund the commercialisation of the research, when completed. 

Application Process. 

There are two phases associated with an Innovation Partnership application.  

  • In Phase 1, there are two options. 

– Option 1 is to submit an Outline Proposal Document.  

– Option 2 is to apply for an Innovation Partnership Feasibility Study.  

  • Phase 2 is a Full Application

How and when can I apply? 

Outline Proposals and Feasibility Proposals can be submitted at any time. Full Innovation Partnership Proposals can be submitted following a review of an Outline Proposals or a positive outcome of a Feasibility Study. 

Where can I download the Application Form?

Guidelines, Frequently Asked Questions and Application Forms are available to download here