SFI researchers pitch for Silicon Valley visit

7 Jun 2011

Two Irish researchers have won Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Technology Innovation Development Awards, after pitching to a panel for the prize of a trip to Silicon Valley to meet venture capitalists and leading technology companies.

Dr Jerry Reen, who is based in the BIOMERIT Research Centre at University College Cork, and Dr Patricia McGowan, who works in the Molecular Therapeutics for Cancer Ireland (MITC) based at St Vincent’s University Hospital and University College Dublin, won the Demo Day final of SFI’s Technology Innovation Development Awards (TIDA) programme, which took place at DCU Ryan Academy.

The final was the culmination of more than two months of intense training in commercialisation and entrepreneurship for the researchers, as part of SFI’s TIDA 2010 programme. 

SFI is facilitating the visit to Silicon Valley, which will be hosted by the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG).

The panel for the TIDA Demo Day included representatives from the ITLG, Enterprise Ireland, DCU Invent and Paddy Power.

“All of the presentations were of a very high quality demonstrating a good understanding of business concepts,” said Dr Ruth Freeman, director of Enterprise and International Affairs at SFI.

“In the end it was quite difficult for the panel to decide on a winner so we have awarded not one but two prizes to the researchers,” she added.

Entrepreneurship training

SFI partnered with DCU Ryan Academy to provide entrepreneurship training for post-doctoral researchers at research centres in universities across Ireland.

SFI is working in partnership with Enterprise Ireland on TIDA to realise a greater economic impact from the state investment in oriented basic research. The TIDA programme aimed to teach business skills to university researchers and scientists.

Ann Horan, CEO of the Ryan Academy, said these researchers now have a solid grounding in entrepreneurship that they can bring back to their research centres to examine the potential for the commercialisation of their research.

Photo: Dr Patricia McGowan of the Molecular Therapeutics for Cancer Ireland; Ann Horan CEO, DCU Ryan Academy; and Roisin Cheshire, SFI

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic