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Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers

Are you an Irish SME looking for help with research and innovation? Have you a product or service that requires expertise currently outside of your existing R&D capacity? The Technology Gateway Network, in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers, can help!

Who we are

There are 15 Technology Gateways in the network, situated within 11 Institutes of Technology around Ireland. We focus on key technology areas which are aligned to industry needs in areas such as polymers, photonics, mobile, coatings, industrial design, mechatronics, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, wireless technologies and precision engineering. Each centre works in conjunction with industry to aid the research and development of innovative products and services through a dedicated team of specialised engineers.

Technology Gateway Clusters

To boost the power and knowledge of the Gateways, three unique gateway clusters have been developed to enhance the delivery of research and innovation for Irish SMEs. These clusters are in the areas of Applied Internet of Things (A-IoT), Engineering, Materials and Design (EMD Ireland), and Food and Beverages. Each cluster consists of relevant specialised gateways and a dedicated support office, which can assist you with any questions you may have about the Technology Gateway Network or the upcoming Innovation Voucher call.

What is an Innovation Voucher call?

The Innovation Voucher scheme is run by Enterprise Ireland and opens approximately three/four times a year. Small and medium-sized companies can apply for a €5,000 voucher for the purpose of gaining academic support in research or innovation from a listed knowledge provider. Vouchers are valid for 12 months from the date of issue and can be used throughout the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway network. However, you must apply for a voucher during one of the open calls. For more information about the vouchers, you can see the FAQs on the Enterprise Ireland site, or contact either the A-IoT or EMD Ireland support offices.

How can the Gateways and an Innovation Voucher help your company?

We strive to have a close connection with industry and this shows in our results. Since 2013, we have provided support to over 500 Innovation Voucher projects throughout the network. Last year alone we supported over 210 projects. We view each project as unique and as a result the assistance we provide is tailored to its specific needs. Our specialist gateway teams ensure that projects are delivered on time and within budget, and provide a wide variety of support and assistance ranging from prototype production, business model development, process optimisation, customer interface, technical specification, new service development and technology audits. We can even help with the voucher application process itself.

But don’t just take our word for it! Irish companies such as Incereb, Bustard Heating and Kilkenny Cooling Systems have all collaborated with various gateways through the Innovation Vouchers scheme and experienced the benefits of the network.

Case studies

Incereb has developed a novel EEG electrode scaffold, known as the butterfly device. This device will enable technicians to apply in minutes the internationally recognised montage for optimal neonatal EEG brain monitoring and seizure detection. Incereb collaborated with the MiCRA Gateway through a series of Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers, as well as 100% Incereb funded, projects to co-develop the electrode which will be incorporated into the butterfly device scaffold. The prototype arising from this investigation is a fully functional device suitable to be scaled up for production.

“We have prototypes which work, and are very close to what we think will be the final product. The documentation and final report on the project was top class, and slotted immediately into our technical and design history file. We have absolutely no hesitation in recommending MiCRA to any interested party.”

Jim Roche – CEO, Incereb

Bustard Heating is an SME based in Donegal that provides a range of heating and plumbing services to the domestic and commercial building markets. As an ancillary to their core heating and plumbing business, the company installs a range of renewable energy and heat saving products. One such product is their Mobile Heat Switch, used to autonomously control heating and hot water systems by SMS phone text activation. Through an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher, the PEM Gateway in IT Sligo undertook an investigation to optimise the existing mobile heat switch device by re-designing the control box interface so that a manual time-clock activation device could be integrated, offering the end user both remote and manual setting functions. This included a 3D printed component to realise the design modifications and to test compatibility with the existing heat switch device.

“Operating in a progressive and fast changing building services market it is important that we act on end user feedback to optimise our products. The R&D input supported by the Innovation Voucher initiative was invaluable in helping us realise necessary and further potential for our heat switch device.”

Trevor Bustard – Bustard Heating

Kilkenny Cooling Systems is a leading manufacturer of refrigerated storage equipment for the dairy, brewing and food processing sectors. A sector where Kilkenny Cooling Systems is particularly prominent is the beverage cooling industry. Through an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher and Partnership Feasibility study, the TEC Gateway undertook a performance assessment of the company’s Kilkenny VS prototype beer cooler and benchmarked it against competitor cooling systems such as a conventional ice bank system and a full glycol system. The Kilkenny VS Beer Cooling System went on to be shortlisted for the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland Award for Innovation in 2015 and the 2016 IBEC Environment Award for best new product; winning the latter.

“The Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher scheme played a key role in the progress of our VS Beer Cooler R&D project. I would strongly encourage any business considering undertaking their own R&D to avail of an Innovation Voucher. Having expertise on hand such as that provided by Nimbus was extremely helpful and definitely contributed to this project’s successful outcome.”

John Smee – Kilkenny Cooling Systems

Next steps

If you think the Technology Gateways can help your company, get in touch.

Various Innovation Voucher clinics are also being held in regional centres to provide information and assistance with Innovation Voucher applications.

This post was originally published on the New Frontiers website


About the author

Gráinne Foley - EMD Ireland Cluster Marketing Executive

Gráinne Foley

EMD Ireland Cluster Marketing Executive

Technology Gateway showcase event in Dublin

Minister Halligan announces €26.75m in funding for the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network 2018-2022

New ‘Irish Food Tech’ cluster to be established within the Gateway network

On Wednesday, 2nd May, John Halligan TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, announced the Government of Ireland is providing funding of €26.75m for the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network over the five year period from 2018-2022.

Since its formation in 2013, the Technology Gateway Network has completed over 2,750 innovative projects with over 1,250 Irish based companies. Projects range from polymers to pharmaceuticals, photonics to mobile services and mechatronics, right through to biotechnology and industrial design. Typical projects focus on the development of a new product or service or the optimization of a process, across all sectors of the economy and based in every county.

Technology Gateways Launch Minister John Halligan with Niall O Reilly and Marc Kelly

Minister John Halligan with Niall O’Reilly, PMBRC Technology Gateway Manager, Waterford IT
and Marc Kelly, Materials Manager, Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland

The network consists of 15 individual Gateways hosted by an Institute of Technology, spread across the country providing industry with access to over 300 highly skilled and industrially focused researchers, together with specialist equipment and facilities.

The €26.75m funding announcement was made at a showcase event in Dublin attended by over 100 industry representatives where the establishment of a new Food and Beverage Technology Cluster (Irish Food Tech) within the network was also announced.

Announcing the funding, Minister John Halligan TD said:

“The Technology Gateway Network programme aims to bring Irish companies together with the researchers in the Institutes of Technology to provide near-to-market innovation and solutions in a range of areas, both regionally and nationally. Today I’m also delighted to announce the establishment of a new food and beverage technology focused cluster within the Gateway Network called Irish Food Tech. As with the other two sectoral clusters in the network, Applied IoT and EMD Ireland, the aim of Irish Food Tech is to optimise the power of the Network and connect industry with researchers in a wide selection of areas that include bioprocessing, food for health, process control and packaging.”

Technology Gateways Launch Minister John Halligan and Michael Hughes, Enterprise Ireland

Minister John Halligan and Michael Hughes, Enterprise Ireland

Gearoid Mooney, Manager, Research and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland added:

“The Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network offers an open access point for industry providing technology expertise which is industry relevant. Projects range from small starts-up in the regions making use of the Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Voucher Scheme, to larger companies using the Innovation Partnership Programme.
However, the most common mechanism by which companies engage via the Gateways is through projects they pay for completely themselves without leveraging any state funding.
This is a testament to both the trust built up between the companies and the Gateways, and the capability of the research community in the Institutes of Technology.”

Companies who have collaborated with the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network provided case studies and presentations during the event while attendees also had the opportunity to meet with the Technology Gateway teams to discuss various Research, Development and Innovation funding mechanisms.

Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways: Innovation in Construction

Over 60 companies attended the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways Innovation in Construction conference on 14th September in Dublin.

This half-day event was aimed at companies involved in any aspect of the construction industry who were interested in learning more about R&D resources available in the development of new and innovative construction products and services.

Applied IoT and Engineering, material & design

The conference brought together two unique clusters of Technology Gateways – A-IoT and EMD Ireland, providing specialised presentations and industry case studies from Technology Gateways involved in the engineering, materials and design, and Internet of Things (IoT) space.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Enterprise Ireland’s Stephen Hughes (Manager, Construction, Timber & Consumer Retail; Paper, Print & Packaging) said:

“Construction sector activity in Ireland is strong and according to the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index by Ulster Bank, August marked the 47th successive month of increased activity. From an export perspective, construction exports by Enterprise Ireland clients are at an all-time high and many construction companies, who diversified during the downturn, are now well positioned to capitalise on global growth in key markets.”

Keynote speaker, Pat Gilroy, MD Designer Group, shared his insights on how to create a culture of innovation within companies, as well as discussing current innovative practices such as BIM and virtual reality.

Anne Lanigan, of Enterprise Ireland (Manager, Brexit Unit) presented on the importance of Irish companies preparing for the effects of Brexit. She urged companies to put in place a plan to deal with challenges which may come their way and outlined strategic responses essential to protecting your company in this pre-brexit era.

Relevant case studies

Company case studies were provided by John Condron of Condron Concrete, who discussed his collaboration with the APT Gateway (Athlone Institute of Technology) in developing a plastic piping and fittings processing capability. Whilst Rob Fox, MD of Site Passport, outlined his company’s innovative journey in creating a bespoke cloud-based site management system for the construction industry in conjunction with the IMaR Gateway (Institute of Technology Tralee).

In the final session, the audience heard an interesting talk from the NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland), Ireland’s official standards and measurement body. Their presenters, Paul Killeen (Standards Business Development, Research & Innovation) and Martin English (Senior Certification & Inspection Officer for the construction sector), discussed how standards and certification can help companies win in international markets.

Conference chair, Paddy Byrne (Technology Gateway Management Team at Enterprise Ireland) said:

“Whilst this is a challenging time for the construction industry, there is also great opportunity and I urge delegates to consider the many options available within innovation and R&D.”

 


About the author

Gráinne Foley - EMD Ireland Cluster Marketing Executive

Gráinne Foley

EMD Ireland Cluster Marketing Executive

Profile: Polar IceTech teams up with CAPPA

Polar IceTech, a Midleton firm, is expanding its cryogenic cleaning services with the help of CAPPA Cork Institute of Technology, Bioexplore & Enterprise Ireland.

Polar IceTech

Polar IceTech are dry ice blasting specialists. They partner with Irish industry to create and develop cleaning processes that are more lean, efficient and cost effective. Polar IceTech work with key decision makers to help them reduce downtime, increase efficiencies and reduce costs by introducing eco-friendly cryogenic cleaning solutions.

Established in 2005, Polar IceTech analyse data before and after the cleaning process and use this to identify and continuously improve on the efficiencies offered by dry ice as a cleaning purification. Specialised equipment and processes were used to clean high-value, moisture-sensitive and abrasive-sensitive critical assets, including process and production equipment with dry ice (solid carbon dioxide).

Polar IceTech have engineered equipment and processes to deliver even greater results for customers and have trained operators to the highest standard. Furthermore, they continue to engage with specialists to ensure the solutions offered are delivering the lean measures promised.

The product

Dry ice blasting is the process of cleaning and decontaminating surfaces with dry ice. It is also known as Cryogenic cleaning. The dry ice blasting process works by accelerating dry ice through a stream of compressed air at the speed of sound. The speed and temperature of the dry ice being blasted causes the primary contaminant to crack.

When the dry ice hits the surface it instantly converts to gas and expands, breaking up the already cracked primary contaminant without damaging the surface. The process can be as sensitive or as robust as the contaminant requires.

Polar IceTech received funding from Enterprise Ireland for research currently being carried out in the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Process Analysis (CAPPA) and Bioexplore at Cork Institute of Technology on the impact of cryogenic cleaning on bacteria.

Polar IceTech, a relatively new business, was not in a position to fully understand the range of supports available to it to engage with third level research bodies. After an open day hosted by CAPPA, initial discussions began with the company and CAPPA suggested a body of work involving both them and CIT colleagues in Bioexplore, to give greater scientific clarity to efficacy of the dry ice blasting process.

After successfully helping the company to write an application for an Innovation Voucher the details of the research were fleshed out and systematic series of experiments conducted to validate the process. The final report on the overall testing is due shortly but the results are very clear and are beyond the expectations of the company.

Dr Liam Lewis of CAPPA Gateway commented:

“This is a classic example of how simple, direct engagement with a company can not only provide significant scientific weight to an in-house process, but can also display the range of offerings available within CIT for collaboration. The company are now firmly looking towards carrying out further research work and establishing a long-term relationship with CIT.”

Planning for the future

Damien McDonnell is planning to expand in all of the markets in which Polar IceTech are competing. They are working on the growth of sales, particularly in the Pharmaceutical sector.

Polar IceTech have broadened their base, with three employees now located in Limavady near Derry, Northern Ireland. Mr McDonnell has international plans for Polar IceTech and over the past 12 months they have tendered contracts with partners from the Middle East, Belgium, UK and Germany. The workforce of Polar IceTech is expected to grow by 20% by the end of 2017 with a 25% increase in turnover rate.

The company are also targeting power generation businesses in both Europe and the UK. Damien McDonnell believes that the experience gained by the company and their investments in high-tech equipment will enable success for Polar IceTech in these markets.

Polar IceTech plan to engage and collaborate with universities in educating Engineering students about the dry ice blasting process. Mr McDonnell said of the experience of working with CAPPA:

“We found CAPPA very professional, helpful and accommodating to deal with. They were quick in understanding what we wanted to achieve and were enthusiastic about working with us to achieve these goals. We experienced a number of hiccups along the way, but the manner in which these were dealt with was impressive and incredibly professional. Overall they were a pleasure to deal with.”

5 construction industry trends for 2017

The construction sector, like many others, has suffered in the last decade. Issues such as a decline in demand, increase in costs, a chronic skills shortage and the recent addition of Brexit, have caused difficulties and concerns within the industry. In recent times, however, companies have seen a marked improvement and there has been encouraging signs of recovery.

Demand is now increasing; skilled workers are returning home and technologies now exist which enable companies to stay ahead of the competition and increase market share. The potential to grow, develop and innovate is one which all companies seek irrespective of industry. The construction sector is no different, and companies are actively looking for ways in which to make this happen. One such way is to become aware of and act on current trends within the industry.

Trendwatch: the 5 trends making big impacts in 2017

  1. 3D printing

3D printing has gained significant prominence in recent years. Advances in technology and a reduction in cost has made it a viable option, in particular within the area of innovation and research. It significantly cuts time and costs in the prototyping and testing stage, which in turn helps with productivity gains, project planning, labour reduction, supply costs and waste reduction.

Advances in BIM (Building Information Modelling) are increasing the trend towards prefabrication and modularisation. The freedom for design, customised solutions and advanced engineering opportunities offered by 3D printing mean it will have an increased role to play in the development of innovative construction products. Further advances in technology will ensure that this trend increases in popularity in the coming years.

  1. Internet of Things (IoT)

From equipment tracking to BIM, from energy saving to remote operation, the Internet of Things (IoT) is playing a key role in the revolution of the construction industry and related products. New and innovative construction products equipped with low cost, low power sensors are providing companies with information which in turn is being used to enhance processes, reduce costs and increase profitability.

This technology platform enhances opportunities for smart buildings and creates the possibility of a smart city with interconnected infrastructure. The opportunities for IoT innovation in construction are endless.

  1. Energy-saving buildings

Concerns about climate change has brought to the fore the need to ensure the buildings we design and construct are as efficient as possible. Recent advances in technology has allowed elements just as mobile apps, wireless technology, light communications and green materials to play a significant role in what will most certainly be the next stage of building design.

  1. Big data

Big Data refers to all types of information which exists within the industry. Whilst not an entirely new trend, it is however starting to make gains due to an explosion of new approaches to analyse collated data. New technologies have allowed companies to benefit from this valuable information, which is now being used effectively in areas such as design, operations and communications. In turn allowing enhanced insights, increased productivity, superior design and a smoother manufacturing process.

  1. Innovation and research

Innovation has seen a steady increase in recent years. Companies involved in all aspects of the construction industry are choosing to research and innovate as a means of setting themselves apart from the competition, enhancing their product line and developing products which will have a lasting impact on their industry.

However, it is still viewed by some as an expensive process, often beyond a firm’s current R&D capability. Help and support is available through various different initiatives to assist companies in this capacity. Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways is one such example.

How the Gateways can help

Our 15 technology gateway centres, together with their industry clusters (A-IoT and EMD Ireland), can assist companies in gaining access to specialised centres across the gateway network and innovation support funding from Enterprise Ireland.

We focus on key technologies which are aligned to current construction needs in areas such as polymers, photonics, mobile, coatings, industrial design, mechatronics, wireless technologies and precision engineering. We have previously worked with a wide variety of companies, big and small, within the sector since 2008. For more information on how we can help, download our 2017 Technology Gateways booklet or get in touch.

Innovation in Construction event

You may also be interested in our Innovation in Construction event on 14th September, in the Carlton Airport Hotel Dublin from 9.30am to 1.30pm.

If your company is involved in any aspect of the construction industry – design, utilities, engineering, manufacture, supplies, transport, building maintenance, health & safety etc, and you are interested in learning more about the R&D resources available to assist you in the development of new and innovative construction products and services, then this event is for you. Registration details and more information are available here.

 


About the author

Gráinne Foley - EMD Ireland Cluster Marketing Executive

Gráinne Foley

EMD Ireland Cluster Marketing Executive

EMD Ireland: a new Technology Gateway Cluster

EMD Ireland is a cluster group of six technology gateways operating within the engineering, materials and design sector. Established in 2016 we provide a broad range of expertise to industry in the areas of research and innovation. The cluster connects with over 300 industry researchers in areas such as precision engineering, biotechnology, polymers, protective coatings, prototype design, medical imaging technologies and 3D medal additive manufacturing.

Specialised research resources are leveraged from within the six participating Institute of Technology and applied to industry problems of all sizes.

Our Gateways

APT Gateway is based in Athlone IT and provides polymer and technology solutions for industry in the medical, composite, recycling and pharmaceutical sectors. APT is equipped with sophisticated analytical equipment including SEM, DSC, FTIR, XRD, GPC, HPLC, etc., as well as a variety of pilot-scale processing equipment (3D additive, extruders, injection moulders, blow moulders, etc.).

CREST Gateway is based in DIT and provides coating innovation solutions for industry in the engineering, construction, healthcare and biomedical industries. As the only dedicated surface coatings laboratory in Ireland, CREST offers expertise in areas such as protective coatings for challenging environments, surface treatment of metal components, coatings for environment applications and biomedical devices.

Design+ Gateway is based in IT Carlow and provides a wide range of industrial design expertise in the areas of engineering, ICT & software, and bio lifesciences. The gateway enables industries to define and develop new products and concepts in a highly creative manner, drawing on a broad spectrum of technical, business and marketing expertise.

MET Gateway is based in GMIT and is an interdisciplinary technology centre providing world-class solutions for the medtech and general manufacturing sectors. The centre develops novel technologies relevant to both clinical research and medtech companies operating in the design application phase. MET provides expertise in medical imaging technologies, biomedical engineering technologies/solutions, data analytics and visualisation and design engineering and verification.

PEM Gateway is based in IT Sligo and provides a unique single industry support offering in precision engineering, manufacturing and materials. PEM provides expertise in precision engineering and design, manufacturing process modelling and simulation, advanced process monitoring and control and advanced material syntheses & characterisation.

SEAM Gateway is based in WIT and provides innovative materials engineering solutions for companies from a wide range of sectors, including bio-medical devices, pharmaceuticals, micro-electronics, precision engineering and industrial technologies. SEAM has expertise in x-ray micro-tomography (XMT) – 3D non-destructive characterisation; finite element Analysis – 3D software modelling, 3D metal additive manufacturing; materials & precision engineering – engineering design & characterisation; and bio medical engineering – development of novel materials.

What can EMD Ireland offer your company?

With a greater focus on research and innovation, EMD Ireland facilitates your access to the six specialised centres across the EMD Gateway Cluster. Each centre can provide assistance and support in delivering near-to-market solutions, becoming an important extension of your company’s R&D capability.

Each centre has access to a dedicated Gateway manager and a team of specialised business development engineers to help with your individual needs. We can also provide information and assistance with various Enterprise Ireland funding supports available for your company.

EMD Ireland works with a wide range of companies on both large and small projects. If you are an SME, a large indigenous or multinational company, we can help.

What funding options are available?

There are a variety of different types of funding available, to suit all types and sizes of project.

Innovation Vouchers

Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers are open to all small and medium-sized limited companies currently registered in Ireland. They provide funding to the value of €5,000, to help with the research and innovation of a business opportunity or problem. Innovation Vouchers are redeemable with any of the Technology Gateways in Ireland. Read how Magnetar Medical Devices collaborated with Design+ Technology Gateway using an Innovation Voucher to further design and develop an electrical drug delivery patch.

The next call for Innovation Vouchers runs from Wednesday 26th April to Wednesday 10th May. To ensure eligibility for this scheme, get in touch for further information and advice.

Innovation Partnerships

Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnerships are ideal for larger, long-term projects and aid with the development or improvement of products, services or processes. Grants of up to 80% towards eligible costs are available from Enterprise Ireland. Read our case study of Neuravi, who collaborated – through an Innovation Partnership – with MET Gateway to develop an in vitro simulation system for testing the performance of their innovative product.

Innovation Partnerships are open for applications all year round. To ensure eligibility for this scheme, get in touch for further information and advice.

What’s the next step?

For more information about the cluster, click here. If you have any further questions, are unsure about eligibility or require further advice, get in touch with us. You can also follow us on Twitter to keep up with the latest industry and cluster news.

 

 


About the author

Gráinne Foley - EMD Ireland Cluster Marketing Executive

Gráinne Foley

EMD Ireland Cluster Marketing Executive

SEAM’s Design for Manufacture Conference

L-R: Ken Thomas WIT, Paddy Byrne EI, Ramesh Raghavendra SEAM, Minister Halligan, Willie Donnelly President WIT and Martin Corkery EI

The benefits of good design practice were highlighted to manufacturing companies across the south east at a conference hosted by the SEAM Technology Gateway at Waterford Institute of Technology last week. The Design for Manufacture conference was an industry-focused event sponsored by eDigiRegion (an FP7 project initiative to increase regional competitiveness via research-driven clusters in the technology domain).

Design for Manufacture

The day-long event was aimed at enhancing the awareness and skills needed in the rapidly changing advanced manufacturing industrial climate. The highlight of the event was a Town Hall session where senior management from both indigenous and multinational companies discussed the training and skills requirements for the manufacturing sector in the region.

Minister of State for Training and Skills, John Halligan, was the keynote speaker. In his address to delegates, he said:

“The SEAM Gateway is a great success story for the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network and for Waterford Institute of Technology. It has provided a fantastic resource not only for companies based here in the South-East Region, but also for companies all around the country.  Global competition is stronger than ever and, as a small, export-oriented economy, Ireland must respond to this challenge.  Research, development, innovation and a highly educated workforce will be the key points of differentiation for Ireland and the key drivers of our future economic success.”

Gearoid Mooney, Divisional Manager, Research and Innovation at Enterprise Ireland, outlined the importance of Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways such as SEAM to regional development:

“The 15 Gateways in the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network are a critical innovation support for Irish industry delivering near to market solutions for partner companies located both regionally and nationally. They have a proven track record of performance, having completed in excess of 1,800 industry projects since 2013 at a value of €18 million, almost half of which (47%) has come directly from industry contributions. This activity is critical in supporting Irish companies develop new products, processes and services, enabling them to increase their competitiveness and exploit new markets with export potential.”

The benefits of good design practice to the manufacturing sector was highlighted through wide range of presentations on topics such as lean designing, 3D printing, finite element analysis, designing for reliability, etc., by experts in their field.

Design Thinking presentations were made by Eoghan O’Donoghue, SEAM Technology Leader (FA/FEA); Dr Richard Keegan, Manager, Competitiveness Department at Enterprise Ireland; and Dr Tony O Donnell, Vice President of Engineering at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Dublin.

Speakers who gave presentations on design by finite element analysis were Fergal Corcoran, Principal Mechanical Design Engineer at Logitech, Cork; Eoin English, New Technology Evaluation Engineering Manager at Analog Devices, Limerick; and Patrick Donnellan, FEA Engineer at SEAM Research Centre, WIT.

Paddy Byrne, Technology Gateway Manager at Enterprise Ireland, reflected on the value of such events:

“Events like the Design for Manufacturing conference at the SEAM Gateway are critical for manufacturing companies to understand the challenges and opportunities being posed by the technology advances represented by Manufacturing 4.0 and how this impacts on development of new products and processes. The importance of this issue was reflected by the strong industry attendance. The day offered a great opportunity for industry and the applied research community to network and exchange ideas.”

The SEAM Gateway

An industry dedicated materials research and development facility, SEAM (South Eastern Applied Materials) Research Centre has been a success story in expanding opportunities in the medical device, precision engineering, pharma and energy sectors in Ireland. SEAM has established itself as the first stop for companies seeking assistance on materials-related issues that cannot be solved by utilising their on-site resources. SEAM’s polymer, metallic, and ceramic experience are proving invaluable to its clients due to offerings of its niche technologies (X-ray CT scan & finite element modelling, 3D metal printing) and materials research capabilities to resolve their day to day process/product and quality related issues.

SEAM has an impeccable track record of delivering for industry, having executed over 900 direct funded industry projects spanning across over 100 companies since its launch in 2009.  Notable SEAM repeat clients in the region include Teva, Bausch and Lomb, Schivo, Honeywell Turbo & Engines, Genzyme, PPI, Lake Region Medical and Boston Scientific.

Dr. Ramesh Raghavendra, SEAM Centre Director, who takes pride in organising similar industrial events every year said:

“Our prime focus in SEAM has always been to advance the cutting edge of innovation by bringing in latest technologies that are useful to manufacturing sector with a view to transferring the knowledge acquired to Irish based industries. The increased automation and integration of new technologies such as 3D additive printing and industrial internet of things for engineering and manufacturing companies are creating new skills needs for Irish industry. The SEAM Gateway, along with its sister Gateways in the network, is seeking to address these issues on a regional and national basis though our open access policy and by becoming an extension of the R&D capabilities of our partner companies.”

For information about the events and open days organised around Ireland by the Technology Gateways, check our events calendar.

Collaboration: the Fulbright International Scholar Program

Applied Polymer Technologies (APT) Gateway collaborates with Harvard University and the Mayo Clinic through the Fulbright International Scholar Program  

In 2015, founding Principal Investigator of the APT Gateway in Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), Dr Luke Geever, was presented with a Fulbright International Scholar Award. Dr Geever, who leads one of Ireland’s largest polymer research groups, was the 2015 Fulbright-Enterprise Ireland Scholar and carried out his research at Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic in the United States. During the scholarship, Dr Geever undertook collaborative research with leading experts in the field of regenerative medicine in work that seeks to Expand the Clinical Applications of Novel Drug Eluting Bioresorbable Polymers.

During his time in the US, through collaboration with Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic, he undertook a clinical observership, observed surgeries and reviewed case studies with surgeons, which has enabled the Enterprise Ireland-funded APT Gateway in AIT to develop technical solutions with the patient’s welfare at the very heart of the research. The research involved the development of novel bioresorbable polymer materials for medical device implant applications, a core area of expertise in APT. Bioresorbable polymers are becoming the materials of choice in the development of medical devices, including cardiovascular stents and fixation devices for bone repair, with demand for implantable medical devices forecast to reach $52 billion in 2015.

Large-scale medical device projects

The research is closely aligned to the strategic direction of the APT Gateway and will allow our centre to carry out a much larger degree of large-scale industry projects with medical device companies in the future. The important industry-relevant skills developed through the Fulbright study have had great benefit to the APT Gateway and to the wider Gateway network.

Presentations to Fulbright awardees were made at an award ceremony in Dublin and at the annual Irish Fulbright Alumni Association Scholars’ Dinner, held at Dublin Castle.

US Ambassador of Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, noted:

“Year on year, US and Irish Fulbrighters provide a fascinating insight into the direction of global research in a wide variety of fields. This year we have seen a particular increase in research in the areas of health and technology. The Fulbright program provides a unique platform for international scholars to break new ground, to collaborate with other world class researchers and to make a difference.”

The study focused on a highly relevant area of clinical and industrial significance – the development of novel drug eluting bioresorbable polymeric materials for medical device implant applications. The research was carried out in Harvard Medical School, Boston, at the Centre for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies, while related research was carried out at the Rehabilitation Medicine Research Center at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester. In 2014, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, was ranked as the No.1 overall hospital in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. Bioresorbable polymers are becoming the materials of choice in the development of medical devices, including cardiovascular stents and fixation devices for bone repair, with demand for implantable medical devices forecast to reach over $50 billion in 2015.

Dr Luke Geever

A graduate in Polymer Technology from AIT, Dr Geever undertook his PhD in Athlone in the controlled release of pharmaceutical ingredients from smart temperature sensitive polymers. Dr Geever now leads one of the largest polymer materials research groups in Ireland, the Smart Polymers Research Group. This specialist research team currently comprises of 10 full-time scientists and engineers. The group has played a key role in securing €6.5 million in research funding awards, attracting significant competitive state and industry funding. Dr Geever is also a Principal Investigator for the APT Gateway, Ireland’s National Polymer Materials and Processing Research Centre, which is supported by Enterprise Ireland. The APT Gateway in Athlone Institute of Technology was established in 2012 and offers companies, locally and nationally, access to world-class R&D infrastructure, expertise and resources. The APT Gateway currently works with in excess of 100 companies each year, delivering solutions to a wide range of industry partners who rely on polymer technologies to support their core business, from SMEs to multinationals across the pharmaceutical, medical, composite and sustainable sectors. The research carried out was wholly industry driven and has been of great benefit to APT’s biomedical industry partners.   

The Fulbright Program is a highly competitive, merit-based grants program for international educational exchange which was founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. It is one of the most prestigious award programmes worldwide, operating in over 155 countries. Under the Fulbright Program, competitively selected candidates are awarded scholarships to study, conduct research, and exercise their talents at top universities and institutions throughout the United States. Interested applicants in all disciplines are encouraged to visit the Fulbright Commission’s website for more information.

Meeting with Enterprise Ireland team

Meeting with Enterprise Ireland team (Catie Riordan, Trade Development Executive – Lifesciences and IT for Pharma, & Donal Cummings, Trade Development Executive – Lifesciences and IT for Health) in their Boston office

Dr Greever and Prof John Hegarty

Dr Luke Geever of AIT pictured with the Chair of the Fulbright Commission Ireland, Prof John Hegarty. Pic: Conor McCabe

Dr Luke Geever recently returned from the USA after completing his Fulbright Scholar position at the CAOS in Harvard Medical School and the Rehabilitation Medicine Research Center at the Mayo Clinic. This prestigious award enabled Dr Geever to forge links within Harvard Medical School, the Mayo Clinic and at other leading research institutes throughout the USA.

Presentation at Group meeting at CAOS, Harvard Medical School

Presentation at Group meeting at CAOS, Harvard Medical School

Outside Harvard library which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year

Outside Harvard library which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year

Group meetings at the Mayo Clinic

Group meetings at the Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic

Professor Hani E Naguib

Meeting with Professor Hani E. Naguib, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Smart and Functional Materials at his lab in Toronto

A natural approach to cosmetics

The cosmetics industry is a multi-billion euro economy and sales in the EU represent the largest proportions of the worldwide trade.

Traditional cosmetics are derived from a mixture of natural and synthetically manufactured products. As we become more environmentally conscious, there is a sharp focus on using more natural products in a sustainable fashion to create all-natural options for the customer.

Through the close connections offered by the Technology Gateway network, the CAPPA centre and Shannon ABC are providing help in this area to Cork-based cosmetics company NADUR. NADUR recently relocated from the UK and is finalising its rebranding efforts and refining a product offering to launch in the first quarter of 2017. NADUR is a natural cosmetic e-commerce company dedicated to creating the most efficacious, natural products from ethically sourced ingredients.

Testing new formulas

“As an integrated business, we create our proprietary formulas, source all of our raw materials and manufacture our products directly. This ‘close to source’ process gives us greater control over the quality and authenticity of our ingredients and finished products.”

In accordance with GMP and EU compliance, stability and safety testing is mandatory and can only be carried out by competent parties in order to meet regulation. Each product is sampled and exposed to a series of stress tests to ensure quality and stability of the end product for the customer. Exposure to prolonged UV radiation, high temperature and high humidity environments are part of this overall testing regime. Working closely with the company’s chemists and product formulation experts, CAPPA can provide continuous feedback on product performance throughout the testing cycle with the ability to adapt the testing procedure when the need arises.

Technology Gateways A natural approach to cosmetics

Traditionally this testing would have been carried out ‘behind closed doors’ as far as the company is concerned, but the strong relationship allows access for the company to all aspects of the test work while still achieving an impartial and dedicated analysis of the product. It is also the most critical part of the process prior to the product being launched, and having a local facility for the company – which is located less that 5 minutes from CAPPA – is extremely beneficial.

Sourcing new ingredients

When presenting a ‘natural’ product to the marketplace, it’s important that it is exactly that. The sourcing of natural products has become a contentious issue from a resource-stripping point of view and also from the fact that many natural ingredients are sourced from exotic locations around the globe, such as the Amazon rain forest. The tradition has been to stick with these ingredients generally from a convenience point of view but there are alternatives available, many of which are closer to hand than one might imagine.

NADUR is dedicated to researching indigenous Irish ingredients with unique bioactive and anti-microbial profiles as possible alternatives to their more exotic counterparts. Shannon ABC is assisting the company is examining local sources of these products, particularly where different varieties are specifically grown or cultured for their bioactive and anti-microbial properties.

A natural approach to cosmetics Technology Gateways CAPPA and Shannon ABC

It’s also important to consider that this also has local and national benefits beyond value for the company. A sustainably sourced product providing input into the cosmetics market provides stability across multi-disciplinary sectors. It also serves as a starting point for exposing the country as a whole as a place where non-traditional ingredients can be grown and where large multinational industries normally confined to a restricted group of countries can source such ingredients.

Testing new bioactive and antimicrobial products

Once these new ingredient are sourced, it is of course critical that they are tested for compatibility and to ensure that they provide appropriate protection in the product. Shannon ABC specialises in bioactive compounds and screening for activities across a range of applications, including anti-microbial activity. Such testing can be carried out by growing cultured cells in special media and assessing how well the antimicrobial ingredients can inhibit bacterial growth.

Spectroscopic techniques can also be used to determine the type and strength of the microbial element as the product moves through a product lifetime testing phase. This allows the company to tailor the amount and strength of the ingredient to best suit the profile of the product and its customers.

In addition to their bioactive based testing for the cosmetic sector, Shannon ABC have recently begun to offer services based on non-invasive skin probes. These industry standard probes provide quantitative data about a cosmetic product with respect to moisturisation, hydration and elasticity of the skin.


About the authors

Liam Lewis CAPPA technology gateway

Liam Lewis

CAPPA Technology Gateway Manager

021 433 5338

 

 

SABC Tim Yeomans Technology Gateway

Tim Yeomans

Shannon ABC Technology Gateway Manager

066 714 4217

Applied Internet of Things (A-IoT) Technology Gateway cluster

Innovative IoT solutions for Dublin companies

Dublin-based businesses are capitalising on the research and engineering expertise of the A-IoT Technology Gateway cluster, which is comprised of five Technology Gateways: COMAND (AIT), IMaR (ITT), MSTG (WIT), TEC (CIT) & WiSAR (LyIT). Availing of nearly 300 industry focused professionals, companies are engaging in the development of new and revolutionary products, services and processes in the broad technology area of IoT.

Whilst the most common industrial projects undertaken with the Gateways 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 Gateways. Companies then fund their own projects, with the Gateways acting as their external R&D departments.

Meet the A-IoT Gateways

  • COMAND, based in Athlone Institute of Technology, is delivering industry-focused technology solutions for the software industry across multiple media platforms.
  • IMaR, based in 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.
  • MSTG, based in Waterford Institute of Technology, collaborates with companies involved in delivering mobile services, primarily for smart phones and tablets.
  • TEC, based in Cork Institute of Technology, is the industry interface for the Nimbus group in CIT. The Gateway develops Internet of Things (IoT) prototypes for a broad range of companies, connecting everyday objects and systems and making them smart.
  • WiSAR, 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.

Each Gateway 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.

Collaborating with the A-IoT cluster

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.

The A-IoT Technology Gateway 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, can be redeemed for services provided by all members of the Technology Gateway Network.

Innovation Voucher Applications

The next open call for standard Innovation Voucher applications runs from Wednesday 18th January 2017 to Wednesday 1st February 2017.

Larger projects involving new processes or services, knowledge or know-how can access expertise from the A-IoT Technology Gateway Group and have up to 80% of the research costs paid for by the Innovation Partnership Programme.

Get in touch with us


About the author

COMAND Anthony Cunningham Technology Gateway

Tom Fitzmaurice

A-IoT Business Development Coordinator

086 824 1707