Successful collaborations and ground-breaking innovation were celebrated last night at the annual Knowledge Transfer Impact Awards at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin. The awards recognise and showcase successful knowledge transfer carried out in publicly funded research organisations for the wider benefit of the economy and society.

Speaking about the finalists Director of Knowledge Transfer Ireland Dr Alison Campbell said, “Tonight is a fantastic opportunity to recognise and celebrate the research and innovation undertaken in research performing organisations around the country. Tonight’s winners combine industry support and the hard work of technology transfer offices to produce some ground-breaking results of real commercial value. We are building momentum, last year, there was a 27% increase in the new products launched on the market as a result of a licence from an Irish research performing organisation”.

The awards recognised top performance across seven categories in industry engagement and commercialisation of research and pay tribute to the businesses and research performing organisations involved in this knowledge transfer.   Awards were presented by Mary Mitchell-O’Connor TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

The winners in each category are;

1.      Consultancy Finalists 2016:

Trinity College and Monford Ag Systems

While filming “Farmers – A Year on the Land”, filmmaker Stephen Lock recognised the opportunity to develop an accurate, inexpensive and easy to use grass measurement tool for farmers. He met with Trinity’s Technology Transfer team to understand how he could engage with Trinity to validate his concept and develop a prototype.  In 2011 Monford AG Systems used ultrasound to measure grass height as the farmer walks around a field with a device mounted to his/her boot, measurements are sent to the farmer’s smartphone using Bluetooth where an app will carry out the calculations. GrassOmeter is a complete mapping, measurement and management system for the grassland farm, cutting farming costs and giving animals the best quality feedstuff more of the time.  Monford AG Systems launched GrassOmeter onto the market in 2015. The company has secured €1.4 million in funding, registered two patents including Trinity researchers as named inventors and hired an ex-Apple hardware designer as Head of Design.

2.      Mature Spin-Out Company Award:

Logentries -UCD Spin-out company sold for €68million

In October 2015 Rapid7 Inc. a leading provider of security data and analytics solutions, acquired Logentries, a UCD spin-out company, for an aggregate purchase price of $68 million.  Logentries emerged from UCD’s Performance Engineering Lab. In 2012, the company secured $1 million in seed funding which was followed by a further $10 million funding round in 2013.  The investment facilitated the deployment of an innovative cloud-based solution that was more efficient and lower in cost. The company rapidly grew to 70 employees serving more than 3,000 customers in over 65 countries and analysing billions of discrete events per day.

3.      Licence2Market Finalists 2016:

Trinity College Dublin-Graphene Licences to Thomas Swan

A number of licence agreements were executed between TCD and Thomas Swan in 2014 and 2015 which relate to graphene and transition metal production. Thomas Swan, a UK-based fine chemical manufacturing company, has since launched both Graphene and Boron Nitride products on the market. These products are now recognised globally as the best in class materials and featured as the cover story of Chemical and Engineering News under the head line of “Graphene Global Race to Market

4.      Spin-out Company Finalists 2016:

CIT and Avantamed-Medical treatment to improve the procedure of inserting grommets in children.

AventaMed is an award-winning spin-out from the MEDIC, Medical Engineering Design and Innovation Centre within the Cork Institute of Technology.   It is an emerging medical device company focused on simplifying surgical procedures to reduce healthcare costs and improve patient safety. The company is focused on the ENT (ear, nose and throat) market and its first product is a medical device used to place grommets in children’s’ ears in a clinical rather than an operating room setting. AvantaMed has raised funding of €1.3 million to develop its sales and distribution channels and it is expected the device will be ready to launch in Europe in early 2017 followed by a US launch in 2018.

5.      Research2Market Collaborative Impact Award:

Statistical Solutions in Cork -UCC

Statistical Solutions, a Cork based SME specialising in the development and sale of statistical analysist software used principally for statistical calculations in medical trials.  Since 2010 the company has been engaged in a multi-project collaboration with Dr. Brian O’Flaherty and his team at the Department of Business Information Systems at UCC.  The research collaboration resulted in the development of an innovative new software product, PX that was licensed to Statistical Solutions in early 2015 and on the basis of the IP created, Statistical Solutions created a new company, PX Analytics, to commercialise the product.

6.      Knowledge Transfer Initiative of the Year Finalists 2016:

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland – Building a Knowledge Transfer Culture

In 2014 RCSI launched its new Office of Research and Innovation (ORI) incorporating commercialisation and industry engagement functions with the Research Office.  A new team was recruited with the goal of “Building a Culture of Knowledge Transfer at RCSI” and have exceeded the 2015 targets that it set for knowledge transfer by between two and three-fold.  Industry income has increased more than four-fold from 2014 levels to €1.2M (cash and in-kind), LOAs (licence, option and assignment agreements) increased over four-fold and industry agreements increased seven-fold in the same period.

7.      KTI Achiever of the Year:

Derek John, University Cellege Cork

Derek joined UCC’s Technology Transfer Office in 2014, as a Commercialisation Case Manager in the area of Life Sciences & Food. He is responsible for management of IP and its commercialisation in 3 of UCC’s biggest research centres, viz. APC Microbiome Institute, INFANT Centre, and Food for Health Ireland. To date at UCC, he has negotiated industry contracts worth a combined value of €20M. Highlights include a €7.5M collaboration with AbbVie to investigate treatments for Crohn’s disease and a multi-million Euro deal with Janssen Pharma for IBD therapeutics

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