UCD opens Enterprise Gateway to better link businesses with research

12 May 2014

William Lyons, chief marketing officer, Shimmer; Prof Orla Feely, UCD vice-president for Research, Innovation and Impact; and Prof Andrew J Deeks, UCD president

University College Dublin (UCD) has established a new UCD Enterprise Gateway aimed at fostering greater interaction between the university and local and global businesses.

“University College Dublin already has a strong track record of working alongside business and has partnered with over 350 national and international businesses in the last decade alone,” said Prof Andrew J Deeks, president of UCD.

“Through the UCD Enterprise Gateway we will take our level of engagement with business, social and cultural enterprises, government agencies and other enterprise stakeholders to a higher level; adding value, expanding networks and exploring new opportunities to deliver impact through partnership.” 

The innovation ecosystem at UCD to support business has been enhanced over recent years through large-scale industry collaborative programmes such as Science Foundation Ireland-funded CSETs and Centres (for example, Insight and Systems Biology Ireland) and seven Strategic Research Clusters in areas ranging from energy to animal production to nanotechnology.

In addition, three Enterprise Ireland-funded and industry-led technology centres, one in data analytics (CeADAR), one in connected health (ARCH) and one in food for health (FHI), are now based at UCD.

In addition, the university officially opened NexusUCD, the Industry Partnership Centre, last year. NexusUCD offers office space, with short, medium or long-term occupancy arrangements and associated services to established innovation-led companies that are collaborating, or wish to collaborate, with UCD’s research base and wish to be in close proximity to this research base.

NexusUCD complements UCD’s support for early-stage companies through NovaUCD, which has been the university’s hub for new ventures and entrepreneurs at since 2003.

In the last 10 years, more than 125 companies that have raised more than €90m in equity funding and have a current annual turnover of just over €70m, have been based at this state-of-the-art incubation facility. These supported companies, which employ some 600 staff, expect to create more than 850 new jobs in the next three years.

Collaboration is king

An example of how research and entrepreneurship combined can lead to a successful outcome is local start-up Shimmer.

Shimmer, which provides clinical grade wearable wireless sensing technology, has been working in partnership with UCD since 2008.

In March, the company announced it had secured a US$10m contract over three years with US-based Emerge Diagnostics. Under this deal, Shimmer will provide the core platform on which Emerge Diagnostics has developed a Class II portable and wireless medical device to provide a new, cost-effective standard in the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injuries, particularly in relation to occupational injuries.

This deal was secured following collaboration with UCD’s Prof Brian Caulfield and his team, which resulted in the successful validation of the Shimmer platform for clinical use.

“Our recently announced US$10m deal with Emerge Diagnostics uses our Shimmer EMG and motion-sensing platforms,” Shimmer’s chief marketing officer William Lyons said.

“The platform was originally validated for clinical use through our collaboration with the TRIL Centre at UCD, and has been key in presenting our technology to our enterprise partners, and the subsequent development of commercial solutions in the areas connected health and clinical assessment.”

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