Nominations open for Innovation Founders Award in Northern Ireland

4 Jul 2012

(From left) Judith Scott, senior business manager, Bank of Ireland UK, last year's Innovation Founder Hugh Cormican; and Peter Edgar, NISP Connect programme manager, in the Titanic Quarter in Belfast, where NISP is based

Nominations are now open for entrepreneurs to enter the Innovation Founders Award as part of Northern Ireland Science Park’s (NISP) Connect £25K Awards.

According to NISP, the award process aims to recognise and celebrate the contributions made by local entrepreneurs who have acted on their innovative ideas to establish science or technology companies that have made a big impact in Northern Ireland.  

The NISP Connect 25K Awards have been set up to seek out the most innovative scientific talent in Northern Ireland’s research community and to help such researchers commercialise their ideas. The awards are sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK, while category sponsors include Aepona, DOW, IBM and Warner Chilcott.

Queen’s University Belfast, University of Ulster, AFBI (Agri Food and Biosciences Institute) and HSC also give additional support to the awards.

NISP Connect itself is a non-profit organisation that aims to foster entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland by accelerating the growth of promising technologies and early stage companies.

This year, whoever is deemed to be ‘Innovation Founder’ will be guest of honour at the stg£25K Awards and will deliver a keynote address before an audience of more than 300 executives, entrepreneurs, investors, service providers and research scientists in Belfast.

The award, according to NISP, will strive to recognise community leaders who have achieved distinction in founding, leading or building a Northern Irish life sciences or technology-based business organisation and has contributed to the region to build and shape the local economy.

Peter Edgar, NISP Connect programme manager, said the Innovation Founders Award is about identifying and celebrating those who have successfully engaged in the commercialisation process to transform ideas into profitable science and technology businesses.

“By recognising their contribution to our knowledge economy we hope to inspire others to begin their own entrepreneurial journey,” he said.

Edgar went on to encourage the public to come forward and nominate individuals who they feel deserve to be recognised as one of Northern Ireland’s innovative science or technology entrepreneurs.

Last year’s Innovation Founder was Hugh Cormican. He said the award was a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on Northern Ireland’s talent in the science and technology sector.

“The work of entrepreneurs who are helping to transform Northern Ireland’s knowledge economy hasn’t been well recognised to date. We need to change that and thereby encourage more innovators to act on their talents and engage in the process of commercialisation,” added Cormican.

The closing date for nominations 31 July 2012.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic