NDRC seeks applications for its Catalyser programme

23 Apr 2010

NDRC is seeking applications from companies and academics with project and product ideas in the digital and digital content technology space to join the ‘Catalyser’ programme.

Catalyser is an investment programme that supports collaborative innovation and bridges the gap between research lab technologies and investor-ready product prototypes.

Project proposals from applicants should be focused in one of four primary application areas: education; entertainment; healthcare or the environment.

NDRC will review applications and select projects to become part of its portfolio of collaborations with established academic and commercial partners. This call progresses NDRC’s second phase of investment in Catalyser, with successes from phase 1 including ‘GameBrains’ and ‘LocalSocial’ for instance.

A framework for commercial development

Says Ben Hurley, CEO, NDRC: “The Catalyser programme offers an opportunity both for academics with strong intellectual property looking to translate to the marketplace, and for companies with market knowledge looking to exploit new technologies.”

The GameBrains project and Catalyser

GameBrains, which is currently progressing through the Catalyser programme, is a collaboration between NDRC, Neat Sciences, UCD and gaming-industry veteran Les Edgar.

Hurley describes it as “an artificial intelligence toolkit for game developers which will help them to produce more sophisticated life-like AI characters, ultimately leading to a better playing experience.”

“This exciting project showcases how NDRC is uniquely positioned at the nexus of academia, industry and venture investment.

“Many excellent ideas fall by the wayside due to shortcomings in ability to execute and deliver – we take a bold approach to accelerate great ideas. NDRC’s positioning provides the necessary focus, expertise and support to allow viable ideas to become a commercial success in a relatively short period of time.”

Speaking about his experience of NDRC’s Catalyser programme through the LocalSocial project, Sean O’Sullivan of Rococo Software adds: “Rococo Software, NDRC and UCD worked together to develop ‘LocalSocial’, a platform for creating rich social applications on mobile devices. Without the collaboration from NDRC, LocalSocial would not have become a commercially viable solution.”

“We have recently won industry awards and are now demonstrating by example that NDRC’s model of collaborative innovation can get new products to the marketplace,” adds Sullivan.

The Catalyser programme is focusing on health, education, entertainment and the environment, and the deadline for submissions is 27 May 2010. To apply, contact Amy Neale at amy.neale@ndrc.ie or visit the NDRC website.

By Carmel Doyle

Photo: Ben Hurley, CEO, NDRC; Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Karl Quinn, NDRC Commercial Development associate

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic