Excellent Year for Technology Transfer Activities at NUI Galway

Dec 19 2007 Posted: 00:00 GMT
The National University of Ireland, Galway reports an excellent year for technology transfer activities in 2007, as measured by license agreements, spin-out companies, new invention disclosures, patent applications, collaborative projects with industry and support to campus company formation.

Commenting on the success during 2007, Dr Daniel O'Mahony, Director, Technology Transfer office, said, "The achievements of 2007 reflect the dedication, commitment and professionalism of the entire TTO staff in accelerating value creation and technology commercialization, the commitment of the research community at NUI Galway to excellence in applied research programmes and support of collaborative projects with industry, university support to basic and applied research programmes, along with the ability and mandate of the TTO team to capitalise on the R&D outputs arising from funding support from Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, IDA and other funding bodies over the past three to five years".

Licensing In the past year the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) executed twenty-four (24) license and option agreements across a range of technology areas including various molecular diagnostic technologies, waste water treatment technologies, metal oxide coating technology, wave to energy technology, error correction code technology, wind blade and composite technology, enzyme technology to convert biomass to bio-energy, advance person recognition technology, technology for integration of medical equipment and data records in hospital systems, amongst others.

In addition a number of start-up companies were formed following licensing of technologies and intellectual property from NUI Galway including Eirzyme Ltd, Theta Chemicals Ltd, Syncrophi Ltd, with a number of other spin-out companies at late stage negotiation.

License income increased ten (10) fold year-on-year.

Awards A further measure of the commercialization activities at NUI Galway was recognized at the Enterprise Ireland Annual Conference on Industrial Products where researchers from the University secured four (4) of the eight (8) awards given out in recognition of technology development and technology commercialization including awards to: Dr Michael Rodgers, Department of Civil Engineering; Dr Jimmy McManus and Professor Des Cunningham (RIP), Department of Chemistry; and Dr Conchúr O'Bradaigh, Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering.

Each year a special bursary is awarded at this conference to the Principal Investigator who through their research has made a substantial contribution to Irish society and industry and this year Dr Michael Rodgers received this prestigious award for his research on Waste Water Treatment systems.

Invention During 2007 some thirty (30) new invention disclosures were lodged by researchers at NUI Galway with the TTO, many with multiple inventions, contributing to thirty (30) patent applications filed. In total ninety-five (95) confidential disclosure agreements (CDAs) and thirty-five (35) materials transfer agreements (MTAs) were also executed with industry. To support technology commercialization the TTO also invested in the Inteum IP Management System and reconfigured its Incubation facility to provide incubation and bio-incubation space for 24 companies in ICT and engineering and 6 life-sciences / biotech companies.

Partnership During the past year the Technology Transfer Initiative (TTI) team at the TTO, supported by a grant from Enterprise Ireland, secured in excess of 30 Enterprise Ireland funded Innovation Partnership R&D collaborative projects with industry, spread across small-medium enterprises (SMEs) and Multi National companies (MNCs). In addition a number of other major collaborative projects with industry were supported through the TTO including IDA-supported projects between Smith & Nephew with the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and a collaborative project between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), NUI Galway and TCD.

During 2007 the TTO also secured a number of grants to support its activities including a grant from Enterprise Ireland to hire three (3) additional Commercialization Executives funded by Enterprise Ireland, which complement the existing team of three (3) Commercialization Executives and Administrative team funded directly by NUI Galway.

Entrepreneurial Support In 2007 the TTO launched a 'New Entrepreneurial Forum' with programmes being run in two stages. Stage one of the programme is a new eight week Campus Commercialization Programme (CCP) tailored to the needs of the research community on campus. The vision and philosophy of this CCP programme is to provide researchers and emerging entrepreneurs on campus with some of the fundamental knowledge and skill-sets in the pursuit of enterprise development. There is a strong focus on market assessments and the delivery of tailored solutions and technology offerings to the market on time. The team has developed a unique product offering for researchers and look forward to opening up this programme to other campuses across the BMW region. Two CCP's were run in 2007, involving a total of 26 participants across a spectrum of NUI Galway key research sectors, including Web2.0, biomedical, renewable energy, applied optics, marine sciences, and power electronics. Stage two is designed to support the "migration of researchers to entrepreneurs" with kick-off in December 2007. Fourteen Entrepreneurs are being guided though the commercialization process bringing their business concepts to a reality, either in the form of a start-up, progression to HPSU status or licensing out their technology to a 3rd party. This New Entrepreneurial Forum is funded through a combination of grant support from the Western Development Commission (WDC) and Údarás na Gaeltachta along with central support from the TTO.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaboration The TTO also kicked off a new collaborative pilot programme for early stage researchers on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization of Research & Technology Transfer with UCC and TCD. This module is part of a HEA SIF phase 1 funded project, with an objective of developing key transferable generic skills and high level training modules. This project is ongoing for three years and is funded by the HEA. This programme will be utilised by the TTO as a mechanism of developing the entrepreneurial minded graduate at an early stage in the academic lifecycle.

The TTO is also part of the Lionra 'Business Mentoring for Winners' BMW project where funds have been given to support our Campus Innovation Centre companies. The funding secured through the TTO in 2007 was to allow some eligible companies access independent expert advice on ways to increase their commercial potential, covering areas such as product development, funding opportunities, licensing, sales process amongst others.

Professor Nicholas Canny, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said, "These achievements in technology commercialization in 2007 ranks NUI Galway as a leading university in terms of technology commercialization per every €1million invested in research".

Professor Jim Browne, Registrar and Deputy President at NUI Galway, said, "When NUI Galway established the TTO office in late 2005 our vision was that the office would identify, protect and commercialize the intellectual property outputs and assets of the university and put a strategy in place to deliver on this mandate. During 2006 the TTO put the dedicated team, infrastructure, framework, procedures and policies in place to deliver on this vision. During 2007 the TTO executed this vision and strategy with excellent results and we look forward further growing the licensing activities and technology commercialization in the coming year".



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