UCD tech transfer centre spins out 15 companies

4 Nov 2008

Some 44 knowledge-intensive companies have occupied incubation space at NovaUCD, including 15 University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out companies commercialising research undertaken in the university.

NovaUCD today celebrated its first five years of successful commercialisation activities.

Since its official opening in October 2003, 44 high-tech and knowledge-intensive companies have occupied incubation space at NovaUCD and availed of NovaUCD’s related innovation services. This includes 15 UCD spin-out companies, which are commercialising research undertaken in the university.

Future Human

In addition, 30 new ventures have utilised NovaUCD’s desk-space facilities to undertake feasibility studies. Successful NovaUCD client companies include BiancaMed, Celtic Catalysts, ChangingWorlds, Duolog Technologies and Visor.

Since 2004, 70 individuals and 46 projects have also completed NovaUCD’s Campus Company Development Programme (CCDP). The aim of this NovaUCD enterprise support programme is to assist entrepreneurs in the establishment and development of knowledge-intensive enterprises.

Eleven new projects and 20 individuals are currently participating on this year’s programme, which ends later this month. Former participants on the NovaUCD CCDP, which has run annually since 1996, now collectively employ 700 people.

Since the establishment of NovaUCD, UCD researchers have submitted 170 invention disclosures, and a total of 122 patent applications have been filed by UCD for intellectual property arising from research in life sciences, engineering and information and communication technology.

Patent applications include 69 priority patent applications, 29 PCT (patent co-operation treaty) applications and 24 national/regional patent applications. In the past three years, 24 licence agreements have also been signed with a range of indigenous and international companies. 

“International experience shows that there is a long lead-time involved in commercialising the results of university research,” explained Dr Pat Frain, director of NovaUCD.

“NovaUCD’s growing success over the past five years clearly demonstrates that the public investment in UCD R&D is likely to yield a significant return to the Irish economy and society,” Frain said.

Twenty-four innovative new ventures with 200 employees are currently based at NovaUCD and occupy 90pc of the available incubation space. An additional 10 early stage companies are also currently based in NovaUCD’s desk space.

“The ongoing growth in R&D funding and the strengthening of support for technology transfer is clearly having a positive impact on the commercialisation of UCD’s research output,” Frain said.

“The number of invention disclosures has already reached one per week, and this augurs well for our future efforts to commercialise the innovative ideas arising from our research programmes, including the generation of high-tech spin-out companies, which are so essential for highly skilled employment creation,” Frain added.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: NovaUCD, which has proved a solid base for many knowledge-intensive companies

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