‘Commercialisation of research can lead to significant job creation’

 The commercialisation of research in Ireland has the potential to create a significant number of jobs, increase exports and create revenue, according to Dr John Scanlan, Director of Commercialisation at NUI Maynooth. Dr Scanlan was speaking in advance of ‘Connect 2013’, an event which will link businesses with research teams in order to facilitate collaborative R&D partnerships.

“The commercialisation of research and the collaboration between business and academia has never been stronger in Ireland and these partnerships have the potential to create significant employment. The economic downturn has led to an increase in people setting up their own companies with a renewed focus on innovation. We are now witnessing the real impact of research on industry, through the formation of more spin-out companies from universities and the direct transfer of expertise and knowledge from educational institutions to established companies,” said Dr Scanlan.

 “Research teams often want a practical way to apply their work through the industry setting, and businesses want to focus more on research and development but don’t have the finances or resources. Therefore the link between research and business is a natural fit and Ireland can reap the rewards in terms of job creation, exports and innovation.”

Discussing one of NUI Maynooth’s partnerships with industry, Professor John Ringwood, Department of Electronic Engineering said: “We work in collaboration with a company called Servusnet, initially developing a model for predictive maintenance for wind turbines and now on wind energy forecasting. This is an example of an Irish company, supported by our researchers, bringing real innovation to a multi-billion euro sector. Our engineers are delighted to work on cutting-edge research such as this and to be contributing to a company with incredible talent and potential.”

Connect 2013 takes place at Carton House on Wednesday 10th April, with over 200 companies attending to explore research and development opportunities with NUI Maynooth research teams and Technology Transfer Officers from NUI Maynooth,  Athlone IT, IT Carlow and Waterford IT. Businesses can also apply for Enterprise Ireland funding, ranging from €5,000 to €250,000 through schemes such as the Innovation Voucher scheme and the Innovation Partnership Initiative. The schemes offer financial support to companies who engage in collaborative research projects with Irish universities and institutes of technology and provide grants of up to 80% towards the eligible costs of the research project.

NUI Maynooth currently has over 50 ongoing industry collaborations across multiple disciplines with companies such as:

  • Blue Box Sensors - high-tech spin-out company from NUI Maynooth, developing very small implantable brain sensors that can record, in real time, changes in brain chemistry.  It is particularly useful in the quest to develop drugs to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Schizophrenia. The sensors are used by pharmaceutical companies early in the new product development phase, to understand how new drugs are working and eliminate those that are not successful.
  • ServusNet - software company developing Operations & Maintenance and Operational Intelligence Solutions for the renewable energy industry. The company, which is breaking into the US market, received an initial €5,000 Innovation Voucher through Enterprise Ireland to work with Professor John Ringwood and the Department of Electronic Engineering at NUI Maynooth to develop a model for predictive maintenance for wind turbines. The collaboration has now evolved to look at wind energy forecasting, funded by a €150,000 grant through Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Partnership Programme.
  • Enfer Scientific - veterinary diagnostic company based in Naas developing new tests for diseases in cattle and other large animals. The only lab in Europe developing multiplex testing where it is possible to test for many diseases using one blood sample.  The company used a €5,000 Innovation Voucher from Enterprise Ireland to work with Professor Sean Doyle, Dept of Biology NUI Maynooth, accessing scientific expertise and equipment to produce proteins for different diseases that they will now go on and develop tests for.

Speaking about Connect 2013, Dr Scanlan said: “Connect 2013 is a great opportunity for business and academic researchers to meet and explore how they can work together. The University has created over 150 successful partnerships over the years. Attendees will hear from a range of successful companies such as Bluebox Sensors, a spin-out of NUI Maynooth, which is bringing significant innovation to the high-tech pharma sector. I would encourage industry representatives and entrepreneurs to register for the event and see how our research teams can further develop their business.”

CONNECT is a networking forum to connect companies with research expertise at NUI Maynooth and technology transfer consortium partners at Athlone IT, IT Carlow and Waterford IT and to create networking opportunities for SME's and large corporations.

For further information on NUI Maynooth Connect, see www.commercialisation.nuim.ie/connect2013