€2.8bn investment ‘hinges on third-level tech transfer’

18 Jul 2006

The success of Ireland’s €2.8bn investment in a major science and technology strategy will depend on the professional management of technology transfer from the universities, a leading academic has claimed.

Speaking at the publication of the NovaUCD annual report, Dr Pat Frain, director of NovaUCD, based in University College Dublin (UCD), said he welcomed the recent Government Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation. “It is recognised that the universities are an important national resource which can make a direct contribution to the growth and competitiveness of a knowledge-based economy.

“The universities can contribute not only through the production of highly qualified graduates and scholarly papers but also by the attraction of overseas research and development (R&D) investment and the generation of new high-tech ventures.

“The success of this strategy will depend on the professional management of technology transfer from the universities.”

According to the latest annual report, the NovaUCD innovation and technology transfer centre has now reached 90pc occupancy with 150 people currently employed there.

The report stated that 23 knowledge-intensive companies operate from the NovaUCD centre, including BiancaMed, Celtic Caltalysts, ChangingWorlds’ Advanced Research and Development Centre and Duolog Technologies.

The technology-transfer operation boasts 4,000 square metres, including 340 square meters of bio-incubation space.

As well as providing a launch pad for promising new businesses, the operation is responsible for the implementation of UCD policies relating to the commercialisation of intellectual property (IP) arising from UCD’s research programmes and for the provision of advice on the identification, protection and exploitation of IP.

NovaUCD also works closely with UCD researchers to develop ideas from proof-of-principle through to commercial success.

Dr Frain, said: “It is now two years and nine months since NovaUCD officially opened and this represents a critical milestone as we have now reached the end of our first cycle. Our first client company will ‘graduate’ in the coming weeks to make way for new enterprises, thus ensuring that NovaUCD’s community of entrepreneurs is continuously refreshed.”

He added: “This is an important element of NovaUCD’s development strategy and it has been made easier to implement by the growing demand for space at NovaUCD.”

By John Kennedy