Highlights from 2023

Innovation Office Newsletter
Dec 22 2023 Posted: 11:15 GMT

Where did the year go? That’s what we often ask ourselves this time of year. So after another powerhouse of activity across our innovation system, which included 3 new spin-outs and almost 60 collaborations with industry, here is a quick recap of some – not all - of the highlights from the year!

In 2023, three companies officially spun out from the university joining over 30 companies on our spin-out list.


  • NUA SURGICALis dedicated to innovating in women's health and developing a device to improve access and visualisation during Caesarean delivery.
  • Lifelet Medicalis developing a novel biomimetic leaflet material for heart valve replacements, transcending the durability and manufacturing limitations associated with current technology offerings.
  • Amara Therapeuticsis a digital therapeutics company determined to change the way pelvic healthcare is delivered globally.


We work closely with Enterprise Ireland and Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) to support the creation of these companies, as well as our incredible founders, principal investigators, research community and programmes such as our own university's BioInnovate Ireland.

A the heart of our innovation system is our Business Innovation Centre which this year supported its 128th company.

In December, we were awarded funding under the KT Boost Programme co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the Northern and Western Regional Programme 2021-2027. The funding will support the Innovation Office as it enables collaboration, knowledge transfer, spin-outs, and research commercialisation while supporting the region's start-up and innovation ecosystem.

December also saw FeelTect a university spin-out secure €1.5 million funding to support the commercialisation of its wound treatment monitoring system.

Also, scooping two Irish Medtech Awards at Medtech Rising, were SymPhysis Medical for the “Collaboration in Medtech Award” and NUA SURGICAL for the “Emerging Medtech Company of the Year Award”, which also saw XTremedy Medical nominated in the same category.

In November, University of Galway and its start-ups were extremely well-represented across 8 of the 12 Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF)projects announced with a total value of €58.8 million.

Of the total 49 project partners awarded funding in DTIF Call 6, 33 (67%) are based outside of Dublin. We look forward to the projects pioneered by the likes of ÉireComposites Teo Galenband FotoNation Endowave Selio Medical and many more.

Also in November, two trailblazing companies who are part of our vibrant campus community saw their exceptional efforts recognised at theIrish Times Innovation Awards.

ORRECO was the overall The Irish TimesInnovation Award Winner on the night, as well as winner of the IT & Fintech category for their innovations using sports science and data-led tools to enhance elite athlete performance. Genicity secured the Life Science & Healthcare category award sponsored by  Science Foundation Ireland for their innovative efforts to expand the potential therapeutic options for cancer patients.

From a field of 15 companies, our two companies came home with three out of six awards on the night, including top prize.

November was a great month for Galenband who was announced as Best Early Stage Winner at Intertrade Ireland Seedcorn, walking away with a cash prize of €50,000 to invest in their business, as well as receiving the DTIF recent grant award. The University start-up company is developing a groundbreaking heart telemetry system, replacing invasive and expensive surgically implanted heart monitors that are currently the only options for long-term heart monitoring.

October saw the third AIMday of 2023 in partnership with Construct Innovateand hosted by TCD, following on from a similar event in Galway in May. We also worked with the ENLIGHT network of universities to host a Digital Health Innovations AIMday in May. These AIMdays brought together over 30 organisations and 150 researchers to help solve business challenges and foster knowledge exchange. The University of Galway, through the Innovation Office, became the first university in Ireland to adopt AIMday (developed at Uppsala University) as a strategic tool for collaboration with business and society.

In September,Fada Medical a university commercial research project working on their product development was nominated in the Top 3 Diabetes Devices 2023.Robert Wylie took to the stage in the final pitches during DCB Start-Up Night which marks the finale of the Diabetes Center Berne (DCB) Open Innovation Challenge.

In July, SymPhysis Medical was awarded “Innovation of the Year” award at the Life Sciences Industry Awards, with Tim Jones and Michelle Tierney accepting the award at the ceremony.

In June, Luminate Medical, a campus-based university spin-out, was one of four Irish medtech start-ups to win a total of €18m in prize funding following their participation in the European Innovation Centre accelerator programme. The team of 20 and growing at Luminate received grant funding and started their human trials, while they continue to develop technologies to help millions of people with cancer to control or reduce treatment side effects like hair loss, neuropathy, and infertility.

June also saw one of the university’s many industry collaborations take to the skies. At a demonstration in Clare island off the west coast of Ireland, Madra the robot delivered emergency medicines whilst a drone delivered an epipen from the island’s medical centre to an emergency anaphylaxis situation. Led by the university’s Prof Derek O'Keeffe, the HIVE project is funded through a public-private partnership led by global technology company Cisco and CÚRAM, SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at University of Galway, in partnership with the Health Service Executive.

In May, we were so proud to have three incredible innovators from our university start-up community nominated as MIT Innovators Under 35 Europe #MITIU35Europe. Leading early-stage companies based in our Business Innovation Centre on campus, and flying the flag for Ireland, were Elle Sander, Co-Founder and CEO of Lifelet MedicalBarbara Oliveira Co-Founder and Clinical Lead of Luminate Medical, and Brendan Staunton CEO and Co-founder of Amara Therapeutics.

May also saw us partner once again withitag & itag SkillnetAtlantec Festival, which took place 8-18 May 2023. Three flagship events with hundreds of experts from across the sector were held on campus, the AI Summit, Cloud Native Summit and Tech Leaders Summit.

In April we were delighted to see Galway-based medtech company and a university start-up Bluedrop Medicalraise  €10.5 million in a funding round that will help further the development of its remote patient monitoring system for the early detection of diabetic foot ulcers. The company will also create 25 jobs as a result of the funding - more than doubling its current staff numbers - and increase its production capacity.

In March,Lua Health announced a partnership with IntouchCX, a global leader in contact center and technology solutions, to working closely together on a collaborative research and innovation project to address mental health and well-being issues in the workplace. The partnership will see Lua Health technology integrated into Superpunch Care,IntouchCX’s latest employee engagement app.

In February, as well as conducting international life science market research we invited healthcare companies to take part in the Western Innovation Life Science Hub Industry Survey as part of the Regional Enterprise Innovation Scoping Scheme 2022.   The results have proven that this region is well positioned and there is a strong need to develop a Life Science support structure that is scalable to help shape future supports and infrastructure for Biomedical and Life Sciences in the West region and beyond.

The aim is to build a Life Science cluster that offers noteworthy opportunities for both direct and indirect high-quality job creation in the wider local economy and can stimulate community prosperity, local economic growth, urban regeneration and sustainability.

In the spring, over 300 budding innovators from Ireland, Italy and Latvia took part in the Impact Series innovation training programme where over six weeks they learned about many diverse aspects of innovation from collaborations to funding to intellectual property.

The Innovation Office provides extensive innovation and entrepreneurship training across the campus. A further 35 participants are currently taking part in the nine-week advanced Impact Accelerator. The Impact Accelerator is a practical programme consisting of workshop-based activities, 1-2-1 mentoring and coaching. Participants are working in teams and learning to use the cutting-edge tools and strategies they need to follow their impact pathway, whether that means creating a company, starting a social enterprise or something else. This work was part-funded by the Horizon Europe INNOV8-2-CREATE award.

Since January, three projects across the areas of migration, social isolation and pain management were successfully completed via the Illuminate Programme. Now in its third year, the Illuminate Programme is an initiative of the Innovation Office which funds projects from researchers in the University of Galway College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies who are engaged in innovative work with the potential to facilitate change by solving a societal problem.

.......So where did the year go? As we look back we see it went incredibly well! We extend a warm thank you to the many individuals and organisations to make up our innovation community, and our many colleagues and collaborators who travel this road with us. Looking forward to working with you all in 2024.

Innovation Office

Innovation Office

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