UL scoops two clinical innovation awards

2 Nov 2011

Frank Ryan, CEO, Enterprise Ireland; Prof Calvin Coffey, GEMS, consultant general and colorectal surgeon, LUH; Minister Richard Bruton, TD; Dr Niall Davis, CABER, Dept of Urology, Mid-Western Regional Hospital; Dr Mary Shire, vice-president, research, UL

University of Limerick (UL) shone brightly in the Enterprise Ireland Med in Ireland Awards, held in Dublin City last week, winning first and third place.

Med in Ireland was a medical technologies and healthcare conference and exhibition where more than 200 International visitors got the chance to meet with Ireland’s leading indigenous life science firms and research groups.

Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, presented the awards at the Dublin Convention Centre last Thursday.

On the day, more than 930 commercial meetings were scheduled between 80 Irish medical technology companies and potential business partners from the US, Japan, China, Europe, the Middle East and South America. 

First place in the Med in Ireland Awards has been given to the cross-disciplinary team of clinicians and biomedical engineers based at The Centre for Applied Biomedical Engineering Research (CABER). Meanwhile, third place has been awarded to the Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS), which collaborated with Tyndall National Institute at University College Cork (UCC) for its project: cost-effective senor-integrated nasogastic tubes to enhance patient safety and clinical outcomes.


CABER is based at UL’s Materials and Surface Science Institute (MSSI).

The CABER team developed an innovative safety device for improved deployment of transurethral catheters.

The CABER team members were Dr Niall Davis, CABER and Department of Urology, Mid-Western Regional Hospital (RH); Dr Michael Walsh, Rory Mooney, Eoghan Cunnane and Prof Tim McGloughlin.

The team at UL has developed a close working relationship with the Department of Surgery at Limerick University Hospital (LUH). The collaboration aims to bring engineering solutions for improved patient care,” said McGloughlin.


GEMS’ team members included Prof Calvin Coffey, chair of surgery, (GEMS) and consultant general and colorectal surgeon, LUH; Prof Colum Dunne, director of research, GEMS, of the Graduate Entry Medical School, UL; and Frank Stam, Tyndall National Institute.

Clinical Innovation Award

Bruton also presented the inaugural Clinical Innovation Award on behalf of Enterprise Ireland and Cleveland Clinic, USA, to Dr Niall Davis, a surgeon working in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick.

The Clinical Innovation Award is a joint award by the Cleveland Clinic and Enterprise Ireland to recognise the importance of clinical innovation in Ireland. The winner of the award received a grant of €15,000 and the opportunity to work with Cleveland Clinic and Enterprise Ireland to develop the commercial feasibility of their idea.

In response to UL’s success, Dr Mary Shire, vice-president, research, UL, said today that to have two UL innovations taking first and third in the final of the Cleveland Clinic and EI Clinical Innovation Award is testament to UL’s focus on linking clinical and engineering expertise in the development of novel products that benefit patients.

“The most important part of the process is actually getting engineers into clinical settings where they can engage with clinicians at a practical level and actually observe the challenges facing clinicians,” said Shire.

Medical-tech research at UL

Dunne said today that medical research at UL aims to be relevant to real-life challenges.  

“Clinicians are at the coal face of innovation pipelines. In this case, UL clinical researchers identified areas where improvements in technology enhance patient safety and clinical outcomes.

“We have ensured through patent and literature searches that UL teams have the freedom to operate in developing technology solutions. It is possible that someday, having completed all of the necessary regulatory and commercial steps, these innovations may contribute to Ireland’s GNP as successful export products.”

The transurethral catheter deployment invention has been patented by the UL Technology Transfer Office (TTO) and partners to assist in its commercialisation and opportunities are currently being sought.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic