2nd October 2020
Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) has released the 9 shortlisted entries for this year’s Impact Awards with the winners to be announced at a virtual ceremony on Thursday 26th November 2020. The Annual Impact Awards recognise significant achievements in knowledge transfer and the commercialisation of research carried out in Irish higher education institutions and research performing organisations (RPOs) nationwide. In particular, they pay tribute to the work of those within Ireland’s Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) around the country who provide a vital link between industry and the academic research.
The awards will be presented across three categories. Two are focused on the successes coming from the commercialisation of academic research through collaboration, consultancy, licensing and spin-out company formation. The third category has been introduced in recognition of the significant activities undertaken by higher education institutions and publicly funded research organisations in the face of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Response Award will recognise knowledge transfer activity that has provided a meaningful impact in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and in particular calls out the instrumental role the technology transfer offices have played in bringing these into being.
Shortlisted entries for 2019 are:
Commericalisation Impact Award category:
- Cork Institute of Technology & AudiosourceRE: spin-out company AudiosourceRE has developed cutting-edge audio software, with the capability to reverse engineer audio to isolate and remove vocals, instruments and backing tracks. AudioSourceRE recently secured second round seed investment valued at over €1 million for entry into the Asian market.
- University College Cork & Precision Biotics: spin-out company Precision Biotics that formed almost 2 decades ago from UCC to develop probiotics for human and animal health. Precision Biotics was recently acquired by Danish biotech multinational Novozymes in a deal worth more than €80 million.
- University College Dublin & Sirius XT: spin-out company Sirius XT is developing the world’s first soft x-ray microscope for application in disease and drug research. Normally built in football stadium-sized facilities, the company’s technology will allow for soft x-ray microscope applications in a laboratory setting.
Industry Engagement Award category
Trinity College Dublin & Intel Ireland: Intel Ireland has an enduring research relationship with TCD partly formalised in a highly successful collaborative research agreement between the university and SFI centre AMBER from 2013-2019. Building on this success, Trinity and Intel have successfully put in place a new collaborative research agreement to ensure the relationship will continue for the next five years.
- Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland & Integra: RCSI’s collaboration with Integra, which included TCD, has resulted in two new technologies that have proven highly effective in repairing damaged nerves in pre-clinical trials. This development is expected to underpin the next two decades of clinical therapies for peripheral nerve repair. Integra is a world leader in medical technology, with over 4,400 employees worldwide including nearly 91 in Tullamore.
- Waterford Institute of Technology & Keltech: WIT experts in computational fluid dynamics worked with company partner Keltech to identify large cost saving potential in tank design for a significant client project that the company was engaged in with German manufacturer Atlas GmbH. Keltech is a Waterford-based supplier of components and assemblies.
Covid-19 Response Award category:
- NUI Galway: for the development of Familylink, a project that connects patients with their loved ones, against a backdrop of COVID-19 with restrictions on visits to healthcare settings. NUIG worked with industry partners Cisco and IBM to deliver a state-of-the-art video call system specifically for the ICU setting.
- Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland: for the development a web based clinical support tool that incorporates a risk-assessment score for COVID-19 patients which allows healthcare professionals to treat and monitor the progression of their condition. Developed jointly with S3 Connected Health and with University College Dublin, the tool has been used in six hospitals by 300 doctors.
- Waterford IT: for the development of CoronVRus a virtual reality (VR) application aimed at children that can be used as an educational tool to showcase, educate and demonstrate COVID-19 safety guidelines in an intuitive manner. The application is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) friendly and offers a fun method of education to build awareness in a safe and interactive environment.
Submissions comprised a written application accompanied by a short 60 second elevator pitch to camera. Entries were judged according to criteria such as the impact delivered; and the value contributed by the TTO in realising the success. The judging panel were:
- Rich Chylla, Executive Director of MSU Technologies, Michigan State University, USA and immediate Past-Chair AUTM, the global technology transfer association, based in the USA.
- Brendan Hogan, Senior Vice President of Engineering & Operations at Aerogen Ltd. Ireland
- Laura McDonald, CEO at the pan-European association of knowledge transfer professionals, ASTP, Netherlands.
- Richie Paul, VP & Head of Intellectual Property at Alkermes Pharma Ireland Limited.
- Santiago Romo Urroz, International Relations Advisor, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain and ASTP Board member.
- Jennie Shorley, Head of Engaged Scholarship, Faculty of Business & Law, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK and Board member of Praxis Auril, the UK’s national knowledge transfer association.
Speaking of the awards, Alison Campbell, Director of KTI, said “The KTI Impact Awards is an opportunity to showcase some of the terrific outcomes from knowledge transfer and the people who help make this happen. Now in its fifth year, this year proved to be one of the most competitive yet with some great entries from Universities and Institutes of Technology demonstrating value to the economy and society. The addition of a category that recognises the RPO contribution to the challenges presented by Covid-19, illustrated the response of the research base and the agility of the Technology Transfer Offices in many different areas and it was a pleasure to read the diverse submissions. The calibre of entries this year is a testament to the continued strength of the Irish knowledge transfer sector with several of our judging panel calling out the impressive impacts that we are seeing come through the system.”