WIT: The Industry Gateway to the South East

Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways work in partnership with Institutes of Technology and  Technological Universities across Ireland. Each Gateway is funded by Enterprise Ireland to increase interactions with Irish Industry.

The Technology Gateway Network deliver innovation expertise and solutions for Irish industry. Focusing on key technology areas, aligned to industry needs in areas such as mobile, polymers, photonics, 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 full-time researchers and engineers. Acting as a portal to the industry focussed capability across the network and beyond to the wider research infrastructure in Ireland.

The south east region is home to four technology gateways; Design+ in the Institute of Technology Carlow, SEAM (South Eastern Applied Materials), PMBRC (Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biology Research Centre) and TSSG (Telecommunications Software & Systems Group) based in Waterford Institute of Technology.

Waterford is the Innovation Capital of Ireland™ and these three technology gateways have played a significant role in securing this trademarked status. WIT is unique to the network as it hosts three of the fifteen technology gateways. Each gateway within WIT specialises in very different areas creating a diverse ecosystem of innovative research within the region.

Since its inception in 1996, TSSG at Walton Institute has facilitated and supported a myriad of companies in their R&D capabilities. Dedicated to research in specific focus areas such as Networks & Cloud Computing, VR/AR, Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, Data Mining and Software System Architecture and Engineering, TSSG is one of the leading ICT research institutions in Ireland and has worked with over 250 companies since 2005. With over 700 international project partners, TSSG 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.  For example, year to date TSSG has worked on over 30 projects worth €363k, of which €318k was contributed directly by Industry. TSSG and PMBRC won the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award in the Technology Ireland Industry Awards in 2019.

In contrast, PMBRC has established itself as a leading research centre in the pharmaceutical, chemical and biological sciences in Ireland since it opened in 2009. The Technology Gateway team are the industry-facing arm of the centre, supporting a wide range of companies in the (bio)pharma, medical device, food, beverage, veterinary, agri-tech, engineering, materials and cosmetic sectors. The Gateway team apply PMBRC’s research expertise in drug product formulation, drug delivery, materials characterisation, analytical science, molecular biology, biomedical science and sensor development in their collaborations with industry partners. PMBRC has 30 researchers and 16 academic staff involved in research within the centre. Last year PMBRC completed 43 projects with companies worth €290,842, approximately 70% of which was funded by industry. While PMBRC work with companies all over Ireland, approximately half are based in the South East and half are SMEs or Irish-owned companies. PMBRC won the R&D Achievement Award at the 2017 and 2019 Pharma Industry Awards.

SEAM is WIT’s research centre for advanced manufacturing and 3D printing. 2019 was a milestone year for the centre as it celebrated its 10th anniversary of its inception.   This industry dedicated materials research and development facility is now one of the leading Technology Gateways providing innovative materials science & engineering solutions for companies seeking assistance on materials related issues that cannot be solved by utilising their on-site resources.  SEAM currently has over 235 industrial clients from wide ranging industrial sectors –From Medical devices to Precision Engineering, Pharma to Food and Textiles to Energy. SEAM has now become an effective vehicle for conveying and transferring the benefits of various government funded research programmes to industries through partnering and collaborating with them. Coinciding with its  10th anniversary celebrations  SEAM launched 3DWIT, a new initiative with a unique hands-on 3D printing training centre for the support and education of industry needs in the high potential and fast growing field of Additive Manufacturing. The onset of the Covid19 pandemic in 2020 saw an unanticipated challenge which SEAM managed effectively providing continuous services to essential sectors of Medical Devices and Pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, in response, SEAM printed and distributed visors for National Ambulance services, Health centres, UHW clinicians and Nursing homes in Waterford. These developments are in addition to SEAM assisting over 80 companies in 2020 through wide ranging projects from short term direct funded to over long term innovation partnership projects. SEAM secured in excess of €1m funding from industries alone in 2019.

Through the Technology Gateways in WIT, the expertise of almost 120 industry focused researchers, together with the specialist equipment and facilities of the wider institute are being leveraged to access near-to-market innovation and solutions. Since 2013, over 2,500 Irish based companies have used Technology Gateways to complete more than 4,500 innovation based projects at a total value of over €40.5 million, 49% of which has come directly from industry.

These figures outline the requirement for industry gateways such as the three in WIT to support the economy, growth of the region, employment and FDI.

Technology Gateways are accessed by companies of all sizes. Typical projects focus on the development of a new product or service or the optimisation of a process. The project sizes vary from small short term, of which 60% are €5-10,000, to larger projects which range to over €900,000 typically funded from the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme. For businesses – and for Ireland Inc – the impact of these collaborations can be big.

To further develop collaboration and optimise the power of the Network, 3 sectoral clusters were established to deliver market lead innovation solutions for Irish companies, in the areas of Applied Internet of Things, Engineering, Materials & Design and Food and Beverages. These clusters work to consolidate the considerable amount of expertise and technologies available throughout the network and deliver market lead innovation solutions in a collaborative and responsive fashion.

Case studies

Read about TSSG’s recent collaboration with Oracle VR and XR Concepts.

Read about PMBrc’s recent collaboration with Medite Smartply and Teva Pharmaceuticals

Read about SEAM’s recent collaboration with Keltech and Dennison Trailers