Three academics received commercialisation awards yesterday, when Enterprise Ireland held its Big Ideas Technology Showcase at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, where 19 researchers also presented to investors their inventions that have been developed via publicly funded research.
Enterprise Ireland’s Lifescience Commercialisation Award went to Prof Dolores O’Riordan, deputy director of University College Dublin’s (UCD) Institute of Food and Health. She was presented with the award in recognition of her contribution to innovation in the food sector through industry collaboration.
O’Riordan is a principal investigator in Food for Health Ireland, a collaborative research programme that’s funded by Enterprise Ireland and four of Ireland’s largest dairy companies.
Together with her research team, she has also developed a patented health food technology which has recently been licensed to Largo Foods by UCD’s technology transfer office at NovaUCD to bring a healthy snack product to market.
O’Riordan is also viewed as being instrumental in developing a new strategy for UCD to forge industry partnerships for food product development.
Dr Alan Holland received the Enterprise Ireland ICT Commercialisation Award in recognition of how he has succeeded in transforming his publicly funded research idea from University College Cork (UCC) into a business reality via the spin-out company Keelvar.
Keelvar, which emerged from the 4C research laboratory in the Department of Computer Science at UCC, has developed and launched ‘smart’ procurement software for public-sector organisations and other large clients.
Keelvar raised €750,000 in a funding round led by ACT Venture Capital in October.
Enterprise Ireland’s Manufacturing, Engineering and Energy Commercialisation Award went to Stephen Daniels, a senior lecturer in the School of Electronic Engineering at Dublin City University (DCU).
Daniels received the award for his commitment to commercialising research, as he has played a pivotal role in the formation of several technology businesses, including Arann Healthcare, Qualflow Systems, Lexas Research and Sonex Metrology.
He also leads a multidisciplinary research team in plasma technology and energy systems.
At the overall Big Ideas event at the Aviva Stadium, 19 inventors pitched their ideas to more than 300 potential investors.
"This event is about turning publicly funded research into companies, spin-outs, intellectual property and jobs. It’s about cultivating the investment by the taxpayer in our third-level institutions, and harvesting the rewards," said the Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock, TD, yesterday.