NUI Galway Innovation Expert Secures National Award for Driving Medtech Start-up Supports

Pictured at the KTI Impact Awards Ceremony held on the 21 November 2019 are: Dr Alison Campbell of KTI, award-winner Fiona Neary, and NUI Galway’s David Murphy.
Nov 21 2019 Posted: 15:15 GMT

NUI Galway’s Fiona Neary has been awarded an Achiever of the Year Award as part of Knowledge Transfer Ireland’s Impact Awards.

The annual awards showcased the success in knowledge transfer carried out in Ireland’s Higher Education Institutions and publicly funded research organisation for the wider benefit of the economy and society at large.

Fiona Neary is Innovation Operations Manager with the NUI Galway’s Innovation Office and was lauded for her passion and commitment to supporting entrepreneurs. In particular, she was recognised as co-founder of BioExel, Ireland’s first MedTech Accelerator. Since January 2018, Fiona co-delivered two rounds of the intensive 6-month investor ready accelerator programme, which saw 14 companies achieved €9.7m investment to date.

David Murphy, Director of the Innovation Office at NUI Galway said: “I congratulate Fiona on this well-deserved award.  Fiona drives impact for the university and region by inspiring and progressing the start-up community on campus. She is the interface between these companies and the university, providing practical supports and sharing her expertise as an entrepreneurial mentor.”

Spin-Out Company Impact Award

NUI Galway was also shortlisted for its spin-out Neurent Medical. Neurent Medical is developing a new-to-world, medical device led procedure to treat patients with rhinitis. The founders of Neurent Medical, having identified an unmet clinical need in treating rhinitis, developed new technology with support of the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund which will remove huge unnecessary spend for the healthcare system.

The company’s founders were part of Bioinnovate Ireland at NUI Galway and Neurent Medical spun-out of the university in 2018. The Innovation Office at NUI Galway has supported the project through from idea conception, invention disclosure, funding application, project implementation, IP management and patent protection, and through company formation and licensing the technology from the university.  Neurent Medical continues to work closely with NUI Galway through funded research programmes.

Commenting, KTI Director and Chair of the Judging Panel Dr Alison Campbell said:  “The EU’s Innovation Scoreboard classifies Ireland as a “Strong Innovator” with our performance ranking favourably among our EU peers. Tonight’s awards recognise and pay tribute to the work of those on the ground nationwide in Ireland’s Technology Transfer Offices who actually make this innovation happen, acting as a vital link between industry and academia. They provide the information to companies, support and manage the processes that allow commercialisation and collaboration to flourish, freeing up researchers and businesses to get on with the business of innovating.

Today we recognise their achievements both at the wider project level, but also through the individual KT Achiever of the Year award.”  

The Innovation Office’s role in driving impact

NUI Galway’s Innovation Office plays a crucial role in driving impact for the university, with a focus on the benefits to society and the economy. The team works closely with the university’s research community to take research breakthroughs and knowledge out into society; to support collaborations with industry; to mentor spin-outs and spin-ins; and to deliver programmes that engage staff and students in entrepreneurial projects. Up to 40 start-ups are based on campus at any one time, becoming a key part of the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Galway.


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