Five NUI Galway Projects Awarded Funding for Research Commercialization

Feb 11 2019 Posted: 09:34 GMT

Funding will support exploring commercial opportunities in ovarian and breast cancer, an autonomous lifeguard and search system, macroalgae health benefits and high blood pressure

Five research projects from NUI Galway have received almost €600,000 from Science Foundation Ireland’s Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme. The programme provides project development funding and training in entrepreneurship skills to third-level researchers.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, this week announced €4.5 million in funding for 38 research projects to support the commercialisation of government-funded research.

The researchers will demonstrate if their applied research project is technically feasible, and has the potential for further commercial development.

NUI Galway Research Projects:

  • Dr Eimear Dolan, Biomedical Engineer, College of Engineering and Informatics – Awarded €129,995 for the ‘ImmunoCell’ project, an implantable device to help immune cells fight ovarian cancer tumours.
  • Professor Michael Madden and Dr Enda Barrett, Information Technology – Awarded €124,367 for the ‘ALIVE (Autonomous LIfeguard and Vision Environment)’ project, an autonomous lifeguard and search system using computer vision and machine learning techniques to accurately detect people in noisy aquatic environments.
  • Dr Adrienne Gorman, Apoptosis Research Centre, School of Natural Sciences – Awarded €128,440 for the ‘RIPK2 inhibitor’ project, validating promising protein inhibitors, as a new therapeutic option in triple negative breast cancer.
  • Professor Mark Johnson, Ryan Institute and School of Natural Sciences – Awarded €123,956 for the ‘Blooms2Feeds+2’ project to develop processed seaweeds for blending into fish feeds in salmon aquaculture. The aim is to generate health benefits in both fish (welfare) and humans (nutrition, through higher salmon quality).
  • Dr Haroon Zafar, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – Awarded €91,205 for the ‘Smart Renal Denervation’ project to develop the feasibility of a novel device to provide real-time feedback to clinicians to verify the successful operation of Renal denervation to treat high blood pressure not controlled by medication.

Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President of Research at NUI Galway, said: “Our university has a great track record in knowledge transfer and research commercialisation. Our five new projects demonstrate this drive to maximize the impact of ideas and technology generated by our research. The depth and breadth of innovative technologies reflect the strengths of our region such as ICT, MedTech and marine.”

Speaking of the awards, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “I am delighted to announce the recipients of the SFI TIDA Awards and commercialisation support for 38 research projects. The programme is aligned with a number of key Government strategies including Innovation 2020, the National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship in Ireland and Project Ireland 2040. It will develop important entrepreneurship skills and commercialisation capabilities, ensuring Ireland maintains its position as a leader in cutting-edge research.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said: “Science Foundation Ireland is committed to investing in the translation of world-class research from the laboratory to market. A key objective is to increase the number and quality of discoveries that have strong economic impact potential, that can secure follow-on public or private investment. The TIDA programme plays a key role in this process by providing funding to develop technologies, as well as fostering entrepreneurship skills among our research community.”

Researchers funded through the TIDA programme will also participate in the new SFI Spark Pre-Accelerator, which is an intensive five-day programme delivered by the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurs. This will support STEM researchers to develop skills in areas such as evidence-based entrepreneurship, innovation and design thinking and facilitates mentoring and networking.


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