Enterprise Ireland (EI) approved a total of €1.14m joint funding to drive collaborative projects, or ‘Challenges’, between innovative companies and the public sector. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme encourages businesses to explore and co-design unique solutions with public sector teams, through competitive Challenges. 23 applications from public sector bodies to participate in the SBIR programme were shortlisted to five Challenges. Enterprise Ireland’s approved SBIR Challenges for 2020 are:
- Climate Action - Environmental Protection Agency - Innovating a circular economy for soft plastic waste in Ireland.
This Challenge is seeking solutions to counter the problem of plastic waste and look at opportunities for closed-loop reuse systems, with an initial focus on reducing plastic waste from school lunches. The goal for this Challenge is to reduce the carbon footprint of schools by cutting plastic waste generation. Total fund €240K
- Health - Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and National Orthopaedic Hospital Cappagh as part of Ireland East Hospital Group - Reducing the incidence and impact of inpatient falls within the hospital.
This Challenge aims to address the prediction, detection and prevention of falls in the Mater Hospital initially, with potential to extend a solution nationally. Total fund €200K
- Health - Tallaght University Hospital - Improving the care of, and empowering, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients in the community.
Tallaght University Hospital is seeking solutions to improve COPD patient self-management and incentivise affected patients to take control of their health. Total fund €200K
- Biodiversity - Marine Institute - Innovative solutions to map coastal seaweed resources in Ireland.
Seaweed is an underutilised natural resource and a technology-based solution is needed to enable future determination of its distribution in inter-tidal areas across Ireland. Total fund €300K
- Transport - National Transport Authority - Vehicle Capacity Information for bus and coach passengers with a focus on improved accessibility.
The Challenge is seeking innovative solutions to encourage and support mobility impaired passengers when using public transport in Ireland. Total fund €200K
The new Challenges are expected to be live on e-tenders no later than May 1st 2020. More information on SBIR Ireland and the Challenges will be available soon on www.sbirireland.ie
Enterprise Ireland’s Executive Director Stephen Creaner said, “Innovation is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland. We know that effective innovation is essential to the future growth and sustainability of every business. The SBIR Challenges present excellent opportunities, particularly for small and medium sized businesses, to extend their innovation ambition and capability, while accelerating their route to commercialisation, and enabling improved efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of public services. The five Challenges, identified by the public sector bodies, are sectorally diverse and will ultimately benefit citizens’ needs both in Ireland and internationally. Enterprise Ireland encourages entrepreneurs, developers and researchers who have solutions in these spaces to take up the Challenge. We look forward to the exciting new concepts and innovative ideas that will emerge as a result of these Challenges.”