Science


2
May 14

Irish Government Promises 60 “high end” Jobs in Donegal

The Irish Government today promised 60 “high end” jobs in Donegal -  – “high end” is added to a lexicon for research jobs that includes “quality jobs” and “high value jobs.”

This area continues to be one where public spending gets priority even though there is little credible performance data published.

Richard Bruton TD, enterprise minister, announced that preparatory work has commenced for the construction of a new 20,000 sq ft Science Park building, at Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT), representing an investment of €4.5m.

He said the new facility will enhance the development of Science, Research and Innovation in the North West region. The initiative, in tandem with a similar facility in Derry City, is a cross border project, co-funded by the EU’s Regional Development Fund through the Interreg IVA Programme, by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and by the Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel.

It is intended that the new facility in Letterkenny will provide 13 new business Units and significant research space. “The target is that it will support over 60 high-end jobs. It is also hoped to develop 3 cross border clusters (involving Enterprise Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland) and that the facility will help secure one additional FDI project into the North West each year.”

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10
Jan 14

Brilliance of Ireland’s Youth Shines at Young Scientist Exhibition

John Monahan, first ever winner of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in 1964 (right); Colm O'Neill, CEO of BT Ireland; students (L to R) Sophie Ni Leathobhair (15), Fiona Nic Gemhna (15) and Sinead Daltuin (15).Robot wars, chemical testing and social media were among some of the must-see experiments at this year’s young scientist exhibition.

 

Almost 4,500 students showcased their science knowledge with insightful and unusual projects at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition today.

With 2,000 colourful projects on display, the judges circled the RDS in search of the country’s next budding young scientist.

Students Georgia Dellow (16) and Naoise Gallagher (15) from Dominican College in Wicklow presented the judges with an experiment on how spiders create different shaped cobwebs depending on the type of music they hear.

‘‘We played three genres of music – pop, alternative and classical – for five hours with six different spiders.

‘‘The pop and alternative music had a rectangular effect on the webs and the classical had all different shapes,’’ Georgia said.

She was inspired to carry out the experiment after learning about it from her sister studying zoology.

How social networking could change a person’s life was the hot topic for Abigail Woods (16) and Siobhan Woodcock (16) from Loreto High School, Dublin.

‘‘Our project was about social networking and the positive effects and to see if these effects could help to change someone’s life,’’ Abigail said.

The pair decided to conduct the experiment because they felt the media projected a negative view of social media.

To discover whether there are positive effects to social media, the students used the survey research method to gather their data.

Almost 60pc of respondents said they would feel lonely without social media.

They concluded that social media can change a person’s life in a positive way through making new friends, better self-confidence and staying in touch with family and friends abroad.

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14
Oct 13

€100k in Investment on offer for Science Start-ups as NDRC VentureLab opens First Full Programme

€100k in investment on offer for science start-ups as NDRC VentureLab opens first full programme

NDRC has announced that Ireland’s first science venture accelerator, NDRC VentureLab, is open for applications for its first full programme, which will begin in the New Year.

NDRC VentureLab is targeted at supporting ventures where the nature of the proposition requires a greater depth of science, tech or intellectual property.

It is a deeply experiential programme that takes place over six months and provides investment of up to €100,000.

Interested individuals and teams are invited to visit NDRC on Crane St tomorrow between 10am and 1pm where they can find out more at the NDRC VentureLab Open Day. Ventures that participated in the pilot NDRC VentureLab programme will be on hand to discuss their experiences and the benefits they have gained over six months.

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12
Jul 13

Maritime Research, Reach New Heights at UCC Beaufort Centre.

Taoiseach turn sod, Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. pictured in Cork turning the sod at the site of the new Beaufort Building in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork Led by University College Cork, which is acknowledged as Ireland’s leading maritime science and engineering Institute, the Beaufort building will be a flagship development in the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster (IMERC).

Led by University College Cork, which is acknowledged as Ireland’s leading maritime science and engineering Institute, the Beaufort building will be a flagship development in the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster (IMERC). Work will begin immediately on this unique building, which includes the National Ocean Test facility. Over €15 million has been invested in this world-class development.
An Taoiseach welcomed the investment stating that, “I am delighted to be here to turn the sod for the UCC Beaufort Building which will employ 135 people when complete and provide 200 jobs in the construction stage. Ireland needs to be able to compete globally where new research in fields like sustainable energy and maritime science are concerned. The Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2013 recognises this and the UCC Beaufort building will play an important role in the marine energy sector and help to drive Ireland’s economic recovery”.
“The President of UCC, Dr. Michael Murphy commended the work of the Beaufort Research team led by Beaufort Director and Professor of Energy Engineering at UCC, Prof. Tony Lewis.
“The positioning of Beaufort Research as an international leader in the area of maritime and energy research is evidenced by the success of Beaufort in securing funding in excess of €50 million[1] <#_ftn1> from European programmes and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in recent years.

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4
Jun 13

Inflection aims to raise €8m in financial backing.

 Pictured at the announcement were: Darren Cunningham, Co-Founder and CEO of Inflection Biosciences and Dr Michael O’Neill (with glasses), Co-Founder and Director of Research and Development at Inflection Biosciences.   Pic. Keith Arkins Photography No Repro Fee   Further information: Martha Kavanagh - Drury M:  + 353 87 6462006 Martha.Kavanagh@drury.ieCancer breakthough on the cards for Inflection Biosciences….3-6-13   Dublin based life sciences company Inflection Biosciences Ltd, has announced that it has entered into a license agreement with the world renowned Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) for the exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialise a series of innovative new cancer therapeutics.   The company has closed an initial financing round of €450,000 including participation from Enterprise Ireland. Inflection Biosciences and is seeking to raise further investment of up to €8 million over the next three years to help progress an exciting pipeline of potentially ground breaking cancer treatments.   n a deal with the world-leading Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, Inflection will develop drug molecules that could be used to target diseases such as leukaemia, lymphoma and a number of other tumours, such as pancreatic, colorectal and oesophageal cancers.  So-called kinase inhibitors, which regulate proteins associated with those diseases, have demonstrated good activity in early research, according to Inflection, and the treatments can also be taken orally.

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6
Jul 12

Rosenthal appointed as life sciences start-up ambassador

Rosenthal appointed as life sciences start-up ambassador

Rosenthal appointed as life sciences start-up ambassador

Eddie Goodwin, Enterprise Ireland manager Boston Office, Dr Arthur Rosenthal and Gerry Murphy, Enterprise Ireland executive director, North America

Serial entrepreneur and medical devices expert Dr Arthur Rosenthal has been appointed as Enterprise Ireland’s life sciences start-up ambassador for the US.

Having spent more than 38 years developing medial device technologies Rosenthal is recognised internationally as a leading expert in the field of medical technology.

He will now bring this experience to working closely with Enterprise Ireland to highlight Ireland and what it has to offer for medical and related technology start-ups.

“With its easy access to critical infrastructure, well trained engineers, scientists, universities, and productive labour market, Ireland represents an ideal location for establishing and nurturing medical technology commercialisation,” said Rosenthal.

Eddie Goodwin, VP for life science in the US market for Enterprise Ireland commented:  “Art has direct experience of successfully starting up in Ireland having recently established his third Enterprise Ireland-supported high potential start-up medical devices company in Galway [gEyeCue Medical Systems]. It is a big plus for us to have someone with this track record, based locally in the US who is able to share their experience with other US entrepreneurs.”

Rosenthal’s appointment follows on from earlier appointments of start-up ambassadors for key markets in the UK, China and Middle East.

Late last year, Enterprise Ireland launcheda dedicated €10m International Start-Up Fund to target investor ready overseas entrepreneurs to start their business in Ireland.

The fund is open to company promoters anywhere in the world, but is targeted particularly at the Irish Diaspora, international expatriates, the ‘New Diaspora’ (people from overseas who have previously worked or studied in Ireland), as well as serial and mobile entrepreneurs.

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18
Apr 12

Irish software start-up gleans European innovation award

Irish software start-up gleans European innovation award

Prof Richard Kenway, chairman of the PRACE scientific steering committee, presents the award for most innovative HPC application in Europe to Hicham Lahlou, CEO of Xcelerit, in Bologna, Italy, today

Xcelerit, a new software spin-out from the Science Foundation Ireland CTVR telecommunications research centre at Trinity College Dublin, has today won the PRACE innovation competition in Bologna, Italy.

The start-up, which specialises in cross platform acceleration tools for financial services, engineering and scientific research, is a campus company at Trinity College Dublin (TCD).

It was spawned in 2010 from research carried out within the CTVR centre that’s headquartered at the university.

Today, Prof Richard Kenway, chairman of the PRACE scientific steering committee, presented the award for most innovative HPC application in Europe to Hicham Lahlou, CEO of Xcelerit, at a seminar in Bologna, Italy.

PRACE itself stands for Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe. Based in Brussels, it was set up to create a pan-European, high-performance computing (HPC) service for research purposes.

PRACE said it launched the competition to find the “boldest industrial HPC application”.

“I hope this prize will be something that not only persists, but becomes very much associated with leading-edge, innovative breakthroughs in the use of HPC by industry – something that we in Europe can take a lead on,” said Kenway, as he presented the award to the TCD start-up.

The Xcelerit platform itself has been designed to enable users to take existing software written sequentially and to adapt it quickly to take advantage of the compute power that is now available using multi-core technology, as well as harnessing the power of graphics processing units.

So far, Xcelerit has been targeting the financial services area.

“There are many different application areas out there where huge compute power is needed but the domain specialists don’t have the time to learn about the technicalities of hardware accelerators. Our system lets them focus on the problem, while we take care of the performance,” said Lahlou today.

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17
Apr 12

Taking the technologists to the marketplace

Commercial focus: The university technologist must appreciate that once a potential investor understands the technical offering, it becomes secondary and the primary concern shifts to the large growing market size, capabilities of the team and viability of business models.Photograph: Thinkstock

IS THE SCIENCE or engineering student wired differently to the business student? Tarring folk with the same brush is never smart, but there are some general differences between the person who voluntarily chooses the path of science over business.

The emphasis now placed on the commercialisation of scientific research means that science graduates at all levels need to know how to get their inventions to market, and modules in entrepreneurship are now a staple in schools of science, engineering and technology around the country.

“Entrepreneurship can be taught,” says Martin Lyes, manager of Enterprise Ireland’s (EI) research and Innovation business unit.

“It’s systematic and there is a very specific skill-set needed. How you train a technologist, however, requires a different approach to the traditional business graduate. Aside from giving information on areas such as good laboratory practice, how patenting works, licensing conditions and intellectual property, one must also take into account how technical people think: they’re often devoted to the technology.

“What the technologist must realise is their technology is secondary: the value to the customer is key. The technologist must ask questions like: is my invention part of a large growing market? Do I have a good team to make this happen? Do I have a revenue model? In some cases the last aspect to consider might be the technology itself.”

Successful commercialisation means sometimes you just have to let go, something which might be difficult for a young innovator. “The first hurdle to overcome is their innate mindset, which is technology-centric and focused on what is possible,” says Dr Brian O’Flaherty of UCC.

“This could mean technology advancements that are faster, smaller, more complex. Successful commercial exploitation of technology is customer-centric and must focus on what is needed. The emphasis is more on market analysis, customer value, resource acquisition, pricing and, in many cases, simplified functionality.

“The university technologist must also appreciate that once a potential investor understands the technical offering, it becomes secondary and the primary concern shifts to the large growing market size, capabilities of the team and viability of business models.”

The skills gained from an entrepreneurial education are broad. Yet the term is all too quickly associated with business and finance so many of the wider benefits that training in the area might bestow upon any student in any field are not considered.

“Entrepreneurship as a phrase poses difficulties, and a common misconception is that all students will go on to form their own companies,” says O’Flaherty. “This is not the case, and cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset is a powerful asset irrespective of whether the graduate develops their own business, joins a multinational, or works for an indigenous company.”

An example of how this is being done is at the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), which has embedded entrepreneurship within the pedagogy of their courses. “The ethos at IADT is very much about the convergence of art, technology and entrepreneurship,” says IADT president Dr Annie Doona. “Whether they’re studying, art, business, film, animation or digital media, our students need to have entrepreneurial skills. So we try to encourage them to work across programmes so that various disciplines are informing each other.”

The digital media start-up centre at IADT, known as The Cube, takes on projects directly from students and brings them into real life business situations. Several animation, business and technology success stories have come out of the centre in recent years.

While Dr Doona admits that they are met with a certain amount of defensiveness from students who aren’t interested in business, the notion that all science and technology students don’t understand the market is unfair. One only needs to refer to the late Steve Jobs to know that innovators come in all shapes and sizes.

Dr O’Flaherty also recognises this in his own university UCC. “Science students appreciate the opportunity to study entrepreneurship and engage with the education in a constructive manner and understand why it is of critical importance,” he says. “This is supported by anecdotal evidence within UCC, where the university is actively developing incubation centres and university-wide entrepreneurship programmes and modules.

“For example, this year, all incoming PhD students at the National Tyndall Institute have opted for the embedded postgraduate certificate in innovation, commercialisation and entrepreneurship, a business development qualification being offered by the college of business and law, UCC.”

The recent shift towards more multidisciplinary approaches to education means collaboration is beneficial to all parties. “It’s always been a challenge for us to get technology-minded people to think of the market and think of the final customer,” says Martin Lyes. “So it is good that we’ve moved more towards getting teams of people from a variety of backgrounds together so they can benefit form each other’s complementary skills.

“While you can certainly teach the makings of how to start a business and get it up and running, the energy and commitment needs to be in the individual,” says Lyes. “That said, we’ve had EI entrepreneurship training programmes running for a long time.

“We encourage people at graduate level to think about business, not to be frightened by failure. We have to get to the point that failure is just a learning exercise. Very few people get it right the first time.”

Learning to fail is probably something the science student is better equipped to deal with given the trial-and-error nature of laboratory research. For those without this experience, this important learning curve can and should be formally taught at third level.

“The economic challenges facing Ireland are sizeable, and the role universities can play in cultivating a new and vibrant Irish entrepreneurial culture should not be underestimated,” says O’Flaherty.

“Widespread entrepreneurship education within universities can be a powerful enabler when you consider that a university as a social construction unleashes thousands of graduates into the economy every year.

“There is also a moral obligation of everyone in academia in receipt of exchequer-based research funding, from funding agencies such as Science Foundation Ireland, to seriously consider the commercial outcomes of their research and genuinely endeavour to create a real impact for Irish society. We need to move beyond the cliched ‘can-entrepreneurship-be-taught?’ discussion and embrace current thinking on growth strategies and how to accelerate and scale companies,” adds O’Flaherty.

“Budding entrepreneurs must be inspired to have the vision, ambition and skill-set to create and develop high-performance ventures, by not only focusing on ‘first-mover’ but more importantly on ‘first-scaler’ opportunities.”

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28
Mar 12

Young scientists start business bootcamp at UCD