Report on knowledge transfer activity shows how Irish research is being successfully commercialised

Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI), the national office that helps enterprise access and engage with publicly-funded research, has published a report on the outcomes of knowledge transfer activity in Ireland over the period 2013 to 2016.

The report contains in-depth information on:

  • New products and services launched on the market as a result of a licence from Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) in 2016;
  • The status of products and services launched to market during the period 2013 to 2015; and
  • Spin-out companies that were active at the end of 2016.

Key findings include:

  • There are 109 spin-out companies from research institutions that are three or more years post-formation and active.
  • These active spin-out companies currently employ over 980 people.
  • 99 per cent of active spin-outs are based in Ireland and many have a global footprint.
  • 24 new products were brought to market in 2016 by RPO licensees.

Commenting on the report, Alison Campbell, Director of KTI, said: “At KTI, we help drive commercialisation from Ireland’s research base.

“Through our long-term monitoring of system performance, we are able to report on an impressive number of spin-out companies that are active in Ireland many years after their initial formation. In addition, a significant number of products and services made it to the market based on ideas and technology from State funded research.  

With a skilled technology transfer resource in the publicly-funded research sector and an active innovation system, I am confident we can further KTI’s work to make research collaboration and commercialisation simple and accessible.

Company Case Studies

The report contains case studies of companies formed from Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), ranging from a cyber security firm to, medical devices and wastewater treatment. Spin-out companies profiled in the report include:

  • Nova Leah, which created an automated platform for monitoring connected medical devices to protect them from cybersecurity threats. The technology behind the platform, SelectEvidence®, was developed by Dr. Anita Finnegan and was licensed from Dundalk Institute of Technology to the spin-out company. Nova Leah’s first product reached the market in 2016 and the company’s first significant medical device customer was a Fortune 500 company, with two further multinational customers expected to be secured in the coming months.
  • SurgaColl, a spin-out of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, is a medical device company.  HydroxyColl, the company’s first product, reached a significant milestone of CE-approval in Europe in 2015 as a medical implant designed to regenerate a patient’s bone tissue after trauma or cancer damage. HydroxyColl is used in MaxillioFacial reconstruction in Ireland and is going through a series of Clinical Trials in the UK. The product is manufactured in Ireland.
  • NVP Energy, which was established around a core wastewater treatment technology licensed from NUI Galway. The technology is based on the microbial treatment process and is designed to significantly reduce running costs, whilst generating a renewable energy by-product. NVP Energy has seen great success in just a few years with customers in the Food and Drink and Municipal Wastewater treatment industries. This includes commissioning of a full-scale plant with ABP Food Group, at their meat processing plant in Lurgan, Co. Armagh, with Arrabawn Dairies in Galway and a project with a major global brewing brand on one of their UK sites.

“In all of these examples, the technology transfer offices in the HEIs were pivotal in the process of spin-out creation and licensing.” concluded Alison Campbell.

A copy of the KTI report published today is available at: Review of the outcomes reported in the KTI AKTS 2016.