A €145m Munster tech transfer consortium has been formed

17 May 2017

From left: Prof Anita Maguire, UCC vice-president of research and innovation; Sean Mulvany, head of technology transfer at Teagasc; Orla Flynn, CIT vice-president of external affairs; and Brid McElligott, vice-president of research and development at IT Tralee. Image: Cathal Noonan

New tech transfer consortium is a boost for the Munster region.

Four offices – University College Cork (UCC), Cork IT, Teagasc Cork and IT Tralee – have joined forces to create what they claim is Ireland’s largest technology transfer consortium, entitled the Bridge Network.

The institutions will pool their efforts into the association, with a combined research revenue of €145m and funding value of €130m.

‘By working together, the Bridge Network of the four technology transfer offices is an exemplar of effective collaboration’

Funded by Enterprise Ireland and supported by Knowledge Transfer Ireland, the Bridge Network will apply its combined expertise to support the commercialisation of research, early-stage spin-out companies, licensing and, ultimately, effective relationships with industry.

“By working together, the Bridge Network of the four technology transfer offices is an exemplar of effective collaboration, creating best practice for commercialisation of research through sharing of expertise while managing IP effectively,” said UCC president Pat O’Shea.

“There have already been many success stories from our technology transfer offices, and together we are in a position to accelerate and drive further success in this area.”

Establishing best practice for tech transfer

UCC has had the largest industry-funded research income out of universities in Ireland, with CIT similarly leading among the institutes of technology in terms of such funding.

“Given our long history of engagement with industry and supporting start-ups, we also expect to be a significant contributor to the consortium and its impact,” said Dr Brendan Murphy, Cork IT president.

Dr Oliver Murphy, president of IT Tralee, added: “Leveraging the expertise of the Bridge Network tech transfer consortium, our industry partners can be certain that they will continue to avail of the highest standards of knowledge transfer practices in their collaborations with IT Tralee.”

The Bridge Network will also create a programme that supports engagement between spin-out companies and venture capitalists, angel investors, institutional investors and national agencies.

For example, one clear area that could win is the burgeoning space of agri-food.

“As part of Teagasc’s commitment to deepening and extending this impact, membership of the Bridge Network under the leadership of UCC affords a platform to exchange best practice and attain maximal efficiency and client satisfaction in the transfer of new research and technology into the hands of the producers and companies,” said Declan Troy, Teagasc director of technology transfer.

“Furthermore, it has greatly increased our researchers appreciation of maximising such impact, thereby stimulating a greater level of meaningful engagements with Teagasc and the Irish agri-food sector.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years