UCC researchers win awards for bioscience and ICT inventions

11 Jun 2013

Noel Caplice, professor of cardiovascular sciences at UCC; Dr Catherine Stanton, investigator at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre; and Dr Tim Roche, director of technology transfer, UCC

A new cardio-protective bacterial probiotic and a new software platform for air handling units have been recognised today in University College Cork’s (UCC) Invention of the Year awards.

Dr Catherine Stanton, an investigator at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at UCC, won a bioscience award based on her discovery of a new probiotic bacterial strain that has cardio-protective properties.

Stanton and her team’s research is the result of a collaboration between Teagasc, UCC microbiology and the Centre for Research in Vascular Biology. The researchers believe this new probiotic has the scope to reduce cholesterol by 53pc within 12 weeks of consumption.

Meanwhile, the ICT invention award went to a team of researchers from the Sustainable Energy Research Group at UCC. Dr Dominic O’Sullivan, Dr Marcus Keane, Ken Bruton and Dr Paul Raftery have pioneered a software application to detect faults in air handling units in large industrial facilities.

The group has developed the software as part of the Enterprise Ireland-funded i2e2 energy research centre, which is based in Cork.

The software has already been trialled at five multinationals in Ireland to assess its scope to achieve energy savings.

The inventors are in negotiations regarding licensing the technology, while they are also in the process of setting up a spin-out company to commercialise the product.

Other innovations

Some of the other entries that were shortlisted for invention awards included a smart bandage that can monitor wounds and a medical device for gastro-surgical procedures.

In the ICT category, a research team from Tyndall National Institute is targeting the optical communications market with an invention that deploys silicon nano-photonics technology.  

According to the group, this innovation will allow optical fibres to attach directly to silicon chips without compromising transmission speeds.

“The calibre of entries for the Invention of the Year Award at UCC was incredible again this year, with a number of the entries attracting real interest from industry both nationally and internationally,” said Dr Tim Roche, the university’s director of technology transfer.

On the commercialisation side, 12 new licences for technology in the fields of biosciences and ICT have also been announced today.  

Kerry Group, Carbery, Nualight and Intel are some of the companies that are licensing technologies that have been developed at UCC.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic