NovaUCD has given its 2012 Innovation Award to Dr Denis Dowling, the director of the Surface Engineering Research Group at University College Dublin (UCD), in recognition of the role he has played in contributing to innovation at the university.
Dowling holds a joint appointment between the UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering and the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Science.
He has more than 20 years of teaching and research expertise in surface engineering, with his specialist research areas including the development of nanoscale technologies with commercial applications.
UCD’s technology transfer office has licensed technologies developed by Dowling’s research activities to industry. Applications of his technologies include products to enhance the biocompatibility of implanted medical devices, plus improvements in cell efficiencies in solar energy devices.
Prof Peter Clinch, UCD vice-president for innovation, said Dowling combines his teaching and research with a commitment to commercialising intellectual property.
"He has established and developed strategic links with industry, both large and small, in order to translate his research outputs into commercial applications," said Clinch.
Dowling’s Surface Engineering Research Group comprises 18 researchers. Since 2008, the group has secured just under €5m for its research. This has involved participation in more than 25 projects funded through the European Union, Science Foundation Ireland and Enterprise Ireland programmes, as well as direct industry funding.
The research group has direct collaborative projects with companies such as Medtronic, Bombardier, 3M, Holfeld Plastics, SolarPrint and EnBio.
Dowling is also a principal investigator in industry-facing R&D clusters and technology centres. This includes two SFI-funded strategic research clusters – the Advanced Biomimetic Materials for Solar Energy Conversion, which is led by UCD, and the PRECISION cluster, which is led by Dublin City University.