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€2 million, 3 Gateways, 6 Companies

Three research groups at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) have been recently awarded almost €2 million by Enterprise Ireland to deliver technology solutions for 6 companies.

The funding will enable researchers in all three of the Institute’s Enterprise Ireland supported Technology Gateways to work with the companies in the areas of agri-food, ICT and biomedical devices.

James O’Sullivan, Technology Transfer Manager at WIT said, “These are very large scale projects in key sectors of the Irish economy and the projected outcomes of these research projects will have a hugely positive impact on the sustainability of these industries in Ireland and, most importantly, their sustainability and expansion internationally. This type of multi-party innovation partnership should result in a faster exchange of ideas and most likely a more diverse range of research outcomes for the companies involved”.

According to Declan Lyons, Enterprise Ireland, “These three projects are exciting because they show how the Technology Gateway Programme helps industry engage with the relevant expertise in the Institutes of Technology. The innovation partnership programme is an effective mechanism to give companies the funding to collaborate with the expert research groups in Technology Gateways, and I would encourage more companies to consider this route to engage in R&D”.

The South Eastern Applied Materials (SEAM) Research Centre, in the Institute’s School of Engineering, received funding of €1.1 million to research Metal Laser Sintering Technologies (3D printing), working together with a medical technology multinational, an aerospace SME, and a tool manufacturing company. Dr Ramesh Raghavendra, Centre Manager of SEAM and Principal Investigator (PI) for this multi-party IPP said, “The new technology we are developing as part of this challenging project offer enormous potential for manufacturing industries in Ireland. We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with three diverse companies and develop complex components that do not lend themselves to conventional manufacturing processes.

Two researchers from the Pharmaceutical & Molecular Biotechnology Research Group (PMBRC), Dr Laurence Fitzhenry and Dr Mike Kinsella, have recently been awarded €210,633 funding through the programme to extract high value materials from previously discarded components in conjunction with a local industry partner. The outcome of the research will be increased commercial value for materials which previously were going to waste. The project should provide significant revenue and environmental benefit to the company as well as direct potential to create new employment.

Eric Robson from the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG), working with Dairygold, Glanbia, Teagasc and CIT, was awarded €445,000 to work on a project known as ‘SMART APPI’. SMART APPI is about the intelligent use of regression modelling techniques to minimise uncertainty around expected milk production, with the cessation of the milk quota system in 2015. Using new models developed by CIT and Teagasc, a software platform will be developed by TSSG utilising a state of the art software architecture to data mine multiple data sources and predict fluctuations in the milk supply chain so as to provide milk processors Glanbia and Dairygold with a competitive advantage in the altered Irish 2015 dairy sector.

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