IDA Innovation Review Ireland, Summer 2022

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SUMMER 2022

FE AT URING

future ready R&D AND TRAINING GRANTS FOR YOUR INDUSTRY

BE MORE HUMAN Better ways of working and understanding

IRELAND’S GREEN INITIATIVE

Positive trends that are helping Ireland deliver on sustainability goals

Shifting the talent pool

“Manufacturing technology is in the process of transforming from being predominantly mechanical to being predominantly mechatronic,software and data based.”

skin in the game

MAXIMISING THE POTENTIAL OF THE SKIN AS A GATEWAY FOR THERAPEUTIC AND DIAGNOSTIC APPLICATIONS 000_IDA_Summer 2022_Cover Mock Up_V4.indd 1

IN A S SOCIAT ION WI T H

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This is a land committed to new ideas and new ways of thinking. Where strong and productive links are forged between cutting-edge companies, state agencies and third-level institutions. Here, like-minded enterprises flourish together in world-leading life sciences, technology, and financial services hubs. Supported by our highly educated English-speaking workforce and attracting talent and expertise from across the globe. This is Ireland. This is where we make it happen. See how we can help your business grow. Visit idaireland.com or email idaireland@ida.ie

I N N O VAT I O N G R O W S H E R E

We make it happen 170719 IDA INNOVATION Mag Press ads IFC+OBC_IDA_Spring_2021_ads.indd 2 210x265.indd 1

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CONTENTS Summer 2022

Meet the team IDA Ireland Head of Marketing Communications Kevin Sammon Marketing Executive Martina Naughton

Ashville Media Group Editor Jane Matthews Art Director Áine Duffy Contributors Denise Maguire Jennifer McShane Deanna O’Connor Aisling O’ Toole Meg Walker

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S um m e r 2 0 2 2

P r e p a r i n g f o r t h e f u t ur e Through its range of R&D and training grants, IDA Ireland is working with partner companies to secure job creation and company sustainability

8 Autonomous vehicles A vision for a safer future

1 4 Ireland’s green initiative

Positive trends that are helping Ireland deliver on sustainability goals

1 6 Smart buildings

Joe Walsh at Siemens on why intelligent buildings are a smar t idea

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T h e Tr a n s f o r m e r Trevor Vaugh says we need new and better ways of working and understanding, to be more human

2 0 Keeping track

Ireland’s tech and spor ts talent knocks it out of the park

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Regional impact Cavan calling

Published by Ashville Media Group www.ashville.com ISSN: 0332-4400 All rights reserved. Every care has been taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine is accurate. The publishers cannot, however, accept responsibility for errors or omissions. Reproduction by any means in whole or in part without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. © Ashville Media Group 2022

4 0 Advance

24 Ti n y S p a r k We speak to Dr Karen Doyle, President of Neuroscience Ireland

2 9 Skin in the game

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The Educator Alma Jordan, Founder of AgriKids

Maximising the potential of skin as a gateway for therapeutic and diagnostic application

3 2 We can rebuild you

Fergal O’Brien discusses breakthrough research in nerve repair

manufacturing

Shifting the talent pool

4 2 The digital bridge

A new subsea telecoms cable connecting Ireland with Iceland will land at Galway this year

4 8 Committed

relationships

We profile some of the companies reinforcing their commitment to Ireland

5 4 Innovating though history

Irelands epic women

The Social Entrepreneur Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland, about Philanthropy in Ireland, the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic and plans for future growth IDAIREL AND.COM

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NEWS Summer 2022

and

A first look at new job announcements, research projects, global rankings and ongoing innovation in Ireland.

Want to know more? Visit the newsroom at idaireland.com for expansions, announcements and investments.

FI N N ISH UN ICOR N

LEFT TO RIGHT: Michael Lohan, Global Head of Life Sciences, IDA Ireland; Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton; Todd McFarland, President, Texas Facility, Biomerics; Jhovanny Ortega, Director, Balloon Centre of Excellence, Galway; Rachel Shelly, Head of Medical Technologies, IDA Ireland. Photo: Murtography

Biomerics, the leading vertically integrated medical device contract manufacturer serving the interventional device market, has announced the opening of a 2,000 square foot. Balloons and Balloon Catheters Centre of Excellence in Galway and the creation of approximately 40 jobs over the next five years. This is Biomerics’ first facility in Europe and the second facility outside the United States after Costa Rica. It will become home to a growing team dedicated to the development and manufacturing of balloons and balloon catheters and act as an extension to the operations in Athens, TX. Jhovanny Ortega, Commercial Director, Interventional Balloons, will lead the new balloons and balloon catheters research and development facility. It will be a dedicated space for designing and developing complex balloon components used in future medical devices and applications, using various materials including polyurethanes, nylons, PET, and more. Biomerics chose to locate in Galway due to the region’s significant cluster of medical device companies, a skilled labour pool, an international reputation, and access to suppliers and vendors. The office will be equipped with multiple balloon-forming machines, state-of-the-art test equipment, and a cleanroom that is ISO 13485:2016 certified.

@IDAIRELAND Global specialty-material and sustainable-solutions provider @Trinseo officially opens GBS Hub in Dublin https://hubs.li/ Q01fcwjd0

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Supermetrics, a Helsinki SaaS data integration tool that automates resource-consuming data delivery recently announced the creation of up to 100 new jobs over the next two years alongside its investment in a dedicated Dublin office. “Ireland has established itself as one of the world’s leading tech hubs. In addition to some of the biggest names in technology, many of whom are Supermetrics clients, it is renowned for its highly skilled workforce and strong ties with the US, all of which were critical factors in our decision to expand our Dublin operations,” says Mikael Thuneberg, CEO and Founder of Supermetrics, stating, “We are constantly recruiting new talent in response to growing demand and Ireland is the perfect market to help us achieve this. By the end of this year, we project to double the size of the company and grow our revenues by at least 50%, as we place greater emphasis on the US market.” Supermetrics has more than 17,000 customers including a number of well-known companies and organisations, such as HubSpot, Nestlé, Dow Jones, CDC, Ogilvy, Federal Government of Canada, Fox, and Volvo. The company’s partner list also includes lots of household names, such as Spotify and LinkedIn.

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NEWS Summer 2022

2,000,000

€ Want to know more? Visit the newsroom at idaireland.com for expansions, announcements and investments.

Ir i s h r e s e a r c h e r s l e a d E U p r o j e c t t o b o o s t b i o e c o n o my The EU is funding a €2m international project to develop an education programme for young people focusing on sustainability and the bioeconomy. BioBeo, funded through the Horizon Europe programme for research and innovation in the EU, is coordinated and led by associate professor Tom Curran of the University College Dublin (UCD) School of Biosystems and Food Engineering. The project aims to develop and deploy an education programme that will enhance societal understanding and engagement on circularity and the bioeconomy, centring around five themes: interconnectedness, outdoor learning, forestry, life below water, and the food loop.

Ireland’s National Development Plan includes its largest ever capital investment programme

Software company Sitenna, who recently launched its platform in the US, has announced a new office presence in Atlanta, Georgia to support its growth in the market. Sitenna, headquartered in Limerick, provides software that helps telecom companies find and acquire new locations to install towers and antennae, particularly as telecom companies roll out 5G and IoT infrastructure. Fintech company Trustap, based in Cork, will announce a new sales and distribution partnership in the US with Claz. Trustap is a digital transaction platform that protects you from being scammed when you’re transacting with someone you don’t know by securing the buyer’s money in a safe hold account until all the transaction milestones are met and the complaints period elapses. Intouch.com, the Dublin based retail technology company, is experiencing significant traction in the Mexican market. Its solution, which enables retailers to offer personalised product recommendations to shoppers inside physical retail stores, is now being used by a number of leading convenience store retailers throughout Mexico. Intouch.com expects Mexico to be its number one export market by the end of 2022 as it is currently closing a number of multi-million euro deals in the country and plans to open a Mexican office within the next 12 months.

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For more expansions and investments

Did you know ...

Ireland’s International Share of Workforce is the

First of many meetings @wef this week. Great to discuss investment in Ireland with Iskra Reic EVP Europe & Canada @AstraZeneca

MOV I NG U P

I R I S H AM E RICA

Did you know ...

@IDAIRELAND

highest in the EU

Apple recently announced plans to construct a new office building on its Cork campus capable of accommodating up to 1,300 staff, complete with employee transport services and green communal spaces. Apple first established operations in Cork in 1980, investing and reinvesting for the past 41 years. They presently employ some 6,000 people. The new building will be run on 100% renewable energy, with solar panels to be built on all new structures, including pedestrian walkways that link buildings. Taoiseach Micheál Martin welcomed the announcement, saying it was further evidence of Apple’s strong commitment to Cork, and a strong endorsement of Ireland as a prime location for leading global technology companies to establish and successfully grow their operations: “Apple was a trailblazer in technology at the time they established operations in Cork and their presence here gave, and continues to give, confidence to many more global tech companies to locate in Ireland. It is most encouraging to see them continue to invest in their Cork site.”

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NEWS Summer 2022

Want to know more? Visit the newsroom at idaireland.com for expansions, announcements and investments.

Did you know ... Ireland has the youngest population in the EU

@IDAIRELAND Thanks to @Google for its continued confidence in Ireland. Watch the Special Recognition Award event including an address from @sundarpichai, @LeoVaradkar and @MartinDShanahan in conversation and performances from @ToluMakay. #InvestinIreland #WhyIreland https://youtube.com/watch?v=WG2TugIsszM

Legato Health Technologies Ireland Ltd (Legato) has announced the creation of a further 80 jobs at its R&D Hub in the National Technology Park, Limerick, bringing total numbers to 200. The company’s investment in Limerick is supported by the Irish Government through IDA Ireland. The company is currently recruiting software engineers while the additional posts announced will be across software engineering and data science. John Patrick Shaw, Country Head, Legato Health Technologies Ireland, said, “We’ve had a really good start to life in Limerick and that’s down to two specific reasons. One is the exciting opportunity we are giving to people to join us and apply their skills with a company whose purpose is all about making a difference to human health and healthcare. We are extending that invitation today with this announcement of additional jobs. We have exciting growth plans here and, from a standing start of last September, we are now heading to 200 associates next year following today’s commitment. That’s a trajectory we intend to continue.” Global Head of International Financial Services at IDA Ireland, Kieran Donoghue said: “Today’s announcement by Legato Health Technologies is wonderful news for Limerick and the Mid-West region where the company will avail of a rich pool of highly skilled and talented people. Winning jobs and investments in regional locations is central to IDA Ireland’s strategy. I wish Legato continued success.”

58.1

%

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Did you know ... Third level attainment rate among Irish 30–34-year-olds is significantly above the EU average (58.1% vs 41%).

Femal e Retu r ner s The future of work is flexible and is seeing a fundamental shift in perspective. This provides a unique opportunity for female career returners. Companies embracing this shift in perspective can only benefit in diverse talent acquisition. @GemmaAllenIDA speaks to @Nasdaq about how companies embracing female returners can benefit in diverse talent acquisition https://bit.ly/381CgIV

@IDAIRELAND Ireland ranks number 12 in the MIT Technology Review 2022 Green Future Index. Here are three trends helping Ireland deliver on #sustainability goals, by @Je_Benson https://triplepundit.com/story/2022/ companies-learn-ireland-sustainability/743951 #WhyIreland #InvestinIreland

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NEWS Summer 2022

STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITY LOCATED AT GRANGE CASTLE THE FIRST OF ITS KIND IN IRELAND

Did you know ... Ireland has the highest level of STEM graduates per capita in the EU

Want to know more? Visit the newsroom at idaireland.com for expansions, announcements and investments.

Takeda Ireland, a subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd, recently celebrated the opening of a cell therapy production facility at its Grange Castle site. The commercial scale cell therapy production facility is the first of its kind in Ireland and will play an important role in supplying European, US and Canadian markets with a cell therapy treatment option for patients. There are over 100 people currently working at the cell therapy facility with another 100 new jobs to be filled over the next three years. Thomas Wozniewski, Takeda Global Manufacturing and Supply Officer, commented: “The opening of this state-of-the-art cell therapy facility at Grange Castle illustrates Takeda’s innovation capabilities and also underlines the importance of Ireland to the global Takeda manufacturing network. Cell therapy facilities require a specialised set of skills and the talent base in Ireland is as important as other frame conditions like proximity to partners and an international airport.” The facility will host drug product, drug substance and master cell stock. The facility has automated its supply chain and manufacturing processes to create efficiencies and get the treatment to patients in need. The facility uses a number of rapid microbial test methods to ensure the release of product to patients in a timely manner. It is the first facility in Ireland that is approved to release a cellular therapy product commercially using rapid test methods.

@IDAIRELAND As part of the IDA and @Entirl trade mission to the US and Mexico, Minister @RobertTroyTD met with @ClickDimensions in Atlanta. ClickDimensions opened their European Customer Operations Centre of Excellence in Cork in 2019. #WhyIreland

Global Expansion: The Next Phase of Transact ’s Growth Journey Transact, the leading integrated payments and credential software solution company for campus environments, opened its new, expanded R&D centre at the Gardens International Building in Limerick City. This marks the next phase of Transact’s global expansion plan for the company’s innovative tech solutions for a connected experience.

Poly s ign s lease at new Crown S quare Campu s, Galway

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Poly, the global audio and video technology powerhouse that created the headset used by Neil Armstrong in 1969 to communicate one of the world’s most famous phrases to the world, has officially landed in Ireland and is on the search for new talent! The first to sign a lease at the new Crown Square development in Galway, Poly’s investment is strategically located there to draw on the local market talent and expertise, while meeting the growing demand for its audio and video technology as businesses adjust to managing highly distributed workforces.

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SUPPORT Training

THROUGH ITS RANGE OF R&D AND TRAINING GRANTS, IDA IREL AND IS W O R K I N G W I T H PA R T N E R C O M PA N I E S TO S E C U R E J O B C R E AT I O N A N D C O M PA N Y S US TA I N A B I L I T Y.

PREPARING FOR THE

future 6

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Over the past 70 years, IDA Ireland has partnered with almost 1,700 clients, helping them not only establish but ramp up their Irish operations through a variety of means and supports – including grants available for companies looking to increase their R&D capability or upskill the workforce through training programmes. “Grants are available across digitalisation, innovation, sustainability, and talent development. IDA Ireland’s digital diagnostic tools, which are free to client companies, enables a company to identify the focus for their digital transformation journey and the most appropriate supports they will need to help them along the way,” explains Breda O’Toole, Head of Talent, Transformation & Innovation at IDA Ireland. “IDA Ireland’s job is to promote Ireland as a key destination for multinational companies to locate and be successful. IDA client companies spent €27.9bn in the Irish economy in 2020. This is a significant contribution to our economy, and we need to continue to work with our clients to help them sustain existing jobs and grow the FDI base in Ireland.” This approach has certainly benefitted Ericsson, the tech giant that has been located in Athlone, Co Westmeath since 1979 and has benefitted from several IDA supports along the way – supports which has enabled growth, job creation and continued investment from Ericsson HQ, resulting in greater success for the Irish site. Speaking about the process, Sinéad Pillion, Head of Programs and Operations, PDU OSS, says: “These grants have enabled us to attract, build and maintain

a highly skilled workforce with global responsibility and ownership of core product areas within Ericsson. Investing in leading edge technology and new development opportunities means that we generate new business for Ericsson, which ultimately secures our strategic position. The tax credits also ensure that the Athlone site remains competitive within the organisation.” Ensuring that Irish sites remain competitive within a global market is a priority for IDA Ireland, who credits Ireland’s infrastructure and talent base as part of the reason our small island remains so attractive to foreign investment. While boasting the youngest population in Europe, an education system that ranks in the top 10 globally and a planned €116 billion investment in public infrastructure and capital works certainly helps, it is in fact the exceptional level of collaboration between industry, academia, state agencies and regulatory authorities that drives Ireland’s dynamic R&D and training sector – collaboration that IDA Ireland not only supports but actively encourages through its supports programme. Elaborating further, O’Toole says: “The IDA

is focused on building the infrastructure that supports talent development within our client companies. We consider talent needs of enterprise to be met not only from Ireland but also from across Europe. We work with European colleagues to develop this talent through the provision of microcredentials and encouragement of a culture of lifelong learning so that we can build the future talent base required by enterprise as well as addressing the present needs.” Addressing the present needs is what led to contract research organisation Charles River, a US-based medical services company with two IDA-supported sites in Ireland, experiencing first hand how IDA Ireland training supports can impact a global organisation. The process resulted in expanded growth and capabilities for the Charles River Dublin site, an experience site director Niall Power describes as “transformative for staff and operations in Dublin and for the expansion and future growth of our business in Ireland.” Charles River employs 230 people between its sites in Ballina, Co Mayo and Dublin, with Ballina focusing on biologics testing and Dublin serving as the EMEA

“The IDA is focused on building the infrastructure that supports talent development within our client companies. We consider talent needs of enterprise to be met not only from Ireland but also from across Europe.”

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SUPPORT Training

and APAC headquarters for the company’s Microbial Solutions division. A 2021 announcement from the company of an €8m expansion to its testing capabilities in Ballina, adding an additional 1,500m2 of lab space and creating 90 new skilled roles over a three-year period, resulted in a need for a strategic training plan. Explaining how Charles River found the process, Power said: “In 2021, our site in Ballina was growing. We went to the IDA with a detailed scope of what we wanted to do and with their support were able to dramatically broaden our scope of activities and take on additional activities, which resulted in significant growth for the site across staff numbers. The IDA were amazing through the process. They gave guidance and support through a skills need assessment which helped create a robust training plan. The supports helped us show the decision makers in the US that we had the support of the IDA which helped sway the decision to expand in favour of Ireland.” The opportunity to promote Ireland to the parent companies of IDA partners is an intentional consequence of the IDA Ireland supports and echoes the ethos of the organisation as a whole, according to O’Toole, who says: “IDA Ireland’s role is to position Ireland as a place to do business in the international marketplace. We influence investment by telling the story of what Ireland has to offer but really it’s our existing companies that convince the potential investor;they tell it as it is – what it’s like to actually do business in Ireland. “We partner with companies on their journey here and help them navigate the infrastructure, kickstart investments through the use of our grant aid and supporting programmes and provide additional support in presenting a case for investment to their parent company. The scope and scale of the support required from IDA Ireland is very dependent on the

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size, scale and need of the company, and so IDA Ireland appoints a Project Executive to support the Irish leadership team in addressing any challenges the company may be having in growing their business in Ireland.” It’s this personalised approach to each business partner that ensures grants and supports are awarded in keeping with IDA objectives – such as encouraging business expansion, job creation and the sustainability of jobs in rural Ireland. However, O’Toole is keen to point out that

“IDA Ireland’s role is to position Ireland as a place to do business in the international marketplace. We influence investment by telling the story of what Ireland has to offer but really it’s our existing companies that convince the potential investor.”

Sinead Pillion

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success occurs when true collaboration is achieved between IDA Ireland and its partners’ onsite teams. “Strong leadership across the teams operating on the Irish sites is key”, explains O’Toole. “As these leaders grow the strategy and the vision for their Irish sites, they can use IDA grant support and the broad infrastructure to demonstrate added value to their parent companies as they propose investment opportunities from Ireland. This will often result in job creation for Ireland. “Our job is to encourage companies to grow and transform their Irish sites to create new jobs; for some companies that simply may not be possible and so we offer different supports when needed to ensure the smaller investors sustain their business and transform where they can to remain competitive. Several of our smaller investors are in regional locations where it would be much more challenging today to secure new business so it is in everyone’s best interest to work with these companies to retain the employment. This personalised approach is also one that made all the difference to Charles River, who worked with Project Executive Marko Previšić – a support that Charles River Site Director Niall Power describes as “amazing”. “The IDA were great all the way through. They shared examples from other companies who had done the same and were always at the end of the phone as we were developing the strategy plan. They’ve been there since the inception and all the way through. We worked with Marko Previšić from the IDA and he was amazing. He was always at the end of the phone and supported us all the way.” For Previšić, the sense of achievement that comes from working with partner companies and helping them achieve their potential is one that he never sees disappearing. “Our ultimate goal is to

create jobs and bring investment to Ireland. Every successful programme that is completed is a way to bring money and investment to Ireland. It makes me happy.” Over the past several years, IDA Ireland has awarded millions of euros in grants across R&D and training. However, the road to grants is not an easy one. Every application needs to make a robust case for its needs and each case needs to not only match the agenda of IDA Ireland but also be in line with EU regulations – a process that Ericsson’s Pillion echoes is difficult but essential, saying: “The grant application process can be somewhat complex, but the IDA are always extremely supportive and with their expert knowledge and professional guidance during every step of the process, we have been successful in securing grants for nearly 50 years.”

Explaining the process to accessing grants, O’Toole puts it simply, explaining that IDA Ireland is essentially spending the taxpayer’s money and so has to ensure a return on investment. “When we award financial supports we need to be able to defend our decisions and show that there was an incentive that will benefit Ireland – it is the State’s money and we are working for the people of Ireland,” she says. “There has to be a reason that the IDA is supporting in a financial capacity and that reason might be that the company is at high risk in a rural location and so we help them become more sustainable or it might be that the company has the potential to scale. When we award financial supports, we need to be able to make sure that the investment by the State is defendable and provides value. Grant aid should be incentivising a company investment and demonstrating commitment to the investment.”

“Our job is to encourage companies to grow and transform their Irish sites to create new jobs; for some companies that simply may not be possible and so we offer different supports when needed to ensure the smaller investors sustain their business and transform where they can to remain competitive.”

If you are interested in finding out more about how IDA supports can help you to grow and transform your operation, please contact us at www.idaireland.com, idaireland@ida.ie

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TECHNOLOGY Autonomous vehicles

A VI S ION FOR A

safer FUTURE

T H E W E S T O F I R E L A N D I S P R O V I N G TO B E T H E I D E A L LO C AT I O N TO T E S T P I O N E E R I N G T E C H N O LO G I E S T H AT W I L L M A K E H U M A N D R I V E R S A N D AU TO N O M O US V E H I C L E S S A F E R A N D M O R E R E L I A B L E I N T H E Y E A R S A H E A D – A N D L AT E S T D E V E LO P M E N T S S H O W T H AT PA R T N E R S H I P S A R E K E Y TO S TAY I N G A H E A D O F T H E G A M E I N T H I S S PA C E G LO B A L LY.

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TECHNOLOGY Autonomous vehicles

At the National University of Ireland (NUI) campus in Galway a team of academic researchers and engineers from French company Valeo are working together on a project focused on the development of new and innovative sensor technologies for autonomous vehicles. A manufacturer of vision systems for cars, Valeo recently announced that it had produced its one hundred millionth nearfield camera at its Tuam site in Co Galway, where it employs 850 people and has an extensive research and development centre. The researchers on the project which started in 2018 are from Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre for software, and led by Professor Martin Glavin and Professor Edward Jones at NUI Galway. The project involves testing new

Valeo Test Vehicle

and emerging sensor technologies, mixes of different sensor technologies and signal processing algorithms, including machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). “One of the key issues with autonomous vehicles is that in order for them to become accepted by society, they must be proven safe and reliable in all conditions,” says Glavin. “At the moment, even the most

advanced semi-autonomous vehicles will need support from a human driver if the weather or road conditions deteriorate, or if the situation becomes too complex for the vehicle to proceed safely.” The team has set up a test car on the NUI Galway campus equipped with numerous sensor mixes to determine how well the sensors work in different scenarios and in different weather conditions. “Being located in the west of Ireland means we benefit from the somewhat variable weather conditions that exist here,” notes Jones. “Sensors have been set up on the NUI Galway campus and we hope to bring them online in the coming weeks to facilitate supporting sensors on the vehicle with sensors in the infrastructure. We’re also looking at 5G technology to see how well 5G and 6G technology might support autonomous vehicle operation.”

“One of the key issues with autonomous vehicles is that in order for them to become accepted by society, they must be proven safe and reliable in all conditions.” PROFESSOR MARTIN GLAVIN, NUI GALWAY

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TECHNOLOGY Autonomous vehicles

Down the road in Limerick, Irish start-up Provizio has built a groundbreaking, fivedimensional accident prevention technology platform with a view to radically transforming vehicle safety. The platform combines proprietary vision sensors and machine learning to see further, wider and through obstacles – detecting danger in all-weather conditions and applying predictive analytics in real time to prevent accidents. Currently employing 22 highly-skilled people, Provizio was founded in 2019 by a team of automotive and aerospace industry veterans. In November 2020, the company closed its seed investment round of US$6.2m entirely over Zoom, with venture capital, industry and technology veterans such as Bobby Hambrick, Founder of AutonomouStuff, and the founders of Movidius (the Intel-acquired leader in mobile vision processor chip design) along with the European Innovation Council and ACT Venture Capital.

“Having built radars and vision systems for everything from spacecraft to autonomous vehicles for over 20 years, one of the things we identified was that the sensor stack and back-end software were incapable of solving edge cases – which are the reasons we crash,” explains Provizio Founder and CEO Barry Lunn. “So, we set about building something that would be ten times better than a human and ten times better than that again. Our platform can not only see the car ahead, but detect its exact velocity and range and everything on the 360-degree horizon.” Provizio is one of the first Irish start-ups to test its proof of concept at Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI) in the Shannon Free Zone in Co Clare, which was the brainchild of former Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) employees Russell Vickers and Wassim Derguech. Currently under construction, the FMCI will comprise a 12km road network that is retro-fitted with

interconnected, state-of-the-art sensing and telecommunications technologies as well as control centre building. As one of the numerous supporters of FMCI – which include IDA Ireland – JLR has loaned it two vehicles, a Jaguar I-Pace and Land Road Defender, which industry partners and start-ups can use to test their technologies. “We have been able to show that each of the five layers of our solution adds huge improvements in terms of visualisation and accident prevention – without the need for additional hardware. As far as we’re aware, we’re the first company in the world to do the entire back-end and digital processing all on a graphics processing unit [GPU]. This allows us to ‘plug and play’ so that Tier 1 automotive companies and original equipment manufacturers [OEMs] can easily evaluate our technology,” explains Lunn. “Some of the Tier 1 companies and OEMs we are talking to are very happy to

Provizio Founder and CEO Barry Lunn

“We set about building something that would be ten times better than a human and ten times better than that again. Our platform can not only see the car ahead, but detect its exact velocity and range and everything on the 360-degree horizon.” PROVIZIO FOUNDER AND CEO BARRY LUNN

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TECHNOLOGY Autonomous vehicles

Mercedes-Benz and Nvidia concept car

see our proof of concept at FMCI, which is an independent testing ground they can access data from. I think it is really going to take off as start-ups can spend more engineering time on their own products, and innovations will come to the market faster as a result. Most vehicle testing grounds around the world such as in Arizona or Los Angeles in the US don’t have the weather that Shannon has, with some fog and rain guaranteed – that is huge for us,” notes Lunn. JLR’s software engineering centre in Shannon, which opened in 2018 is the hub of its autonomous and next-generation vehicle projects. In February, the luxury carmaker announced that it had entered into a multi-year strategic partnership with gaming graphics and chip technology company Nvidia. It follows a similar

partnership announced by Mercedes-Benz and Nvidia in 2020. Starting in 2025, all new Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles will be built on the Nvidia Drive software-defined platform – delivering a wide spectrum of active safety, automated driving and parking systems as well as driver assistance systems. Inside the vehicle, the system will deliver AI features, including advanced visualisation of the vehicle’s environment. “I see software-defined perception in autonomous vehicles as the future. With our GPU-based system, that is our sweet spot and we will fit perfectly into that future, which is being created by developments with the likes of Nvidia and Qualcomm Technologies,” notes Lunn. In March, Dublin-based connected software solutions provider Cubic Telecom

announced it was set to strengthen its strategic relationship with Qualcomm, which is a leading systems solutions provider for the automotive industry. Cubic’s connected software solutions will enable global connectivity and related analytics and insights for Qualcomm’s carto-cloud services. Powering more than 8 million vehicles across 100 countries, Cubic’s software is used by global leaders in the automotive and technology sectors, including Audi, Bentley, Volkswagen Group, Microsoft and Kymeta.

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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y Lighthouse Initiative

IRELAND’S GREEN Jessica Benson shares three positive trends that are helping Ireland deliver on sustainability goals – strategies organisations should consider taking on board.

Ireland is experiencing true green momentum. The Climate Action Plan 2021, Ireland’s all-of-government plan to tackle climate breakdown and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, is just one example of an initiative that is helping Ireland achieve its sustainability and green economy goals. In fact, Ireland ranks number 12 in the MIT Technology Review 2022 Green Future Index, a ranking of 76 leading countries and territories on their progress and commitment toward building a low carbon future. Here are three positive trends that are helping Ireland deliver on sustainability goals, all strategies that are worthwhile for organisations to consider employing.

1

Make your business models circular Achieving a circular economy requires many things that are new; new ways of designing products, new manufacturing methods, new materials and new business models. Every company produces waste – it’s unavoidable – but if you can repurpose it, you help the environment and often achieve significant cost savings. Given that the future depends on improving the planet’s climate, you also may find yourself ahead of the curve when you go circular. 14

For instance, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, located in Cork, this year gained recognition from the World Economic Forum (WEF) as one of only six sustainability lighthouses globally, a designation given to manufacturers considered to be factories of the future that have also achieved sustainabilit y and productivit y breakthroughs. For good reason: In recent years, the company has expanded the site’s footprint by 34 per cent to meet

growing business needs – but lowered carbon emission per kg of product by 56 per cent. The site recently announced an additional $158 million investment to expand the facility. There are ample examples of companies creating a circular economy in Ireland. Rent the Runway, located in Galway, has been working to minimise the environmental impacts of fast fashion, by allowing consumers to rent high-fashion, trendy clothes instead of buying them, which helps minimise wasteful consumption practices. By making better use of the resources we already have, companies in Ireland can significantly reduce the cost of doing business. It is estimated that annual savings of $2.4 billion are achievable by boosting Ireland’s circularity. By embracing a circular approach to business, we can achieve growth without degrading the environment.

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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y Lighthouse Initiative

initiatives 2

Deploy sustainability goals that align with your country There is an urgent need for companies to invest in a more sustainable future. And advancing a country’s green economy starts with a plan. For example, in January 2021, Ireland announced the National Recovery and Resilience Plan as a result of Covid-19. Within this plan was the goal to cut greenhouse gases by 51 per cent by the year 2030. Because wind energy is one of Ireland’s largest energy sources, the country deployed the National Energy & Climate Plan, which aims to develop 5 GW of additional offshore wind energy by 2030 and 30 GW of wind energy in the next 20 years. The Codling Wind Farm, which started in the early 2000s, and Moneypoint’s Offshore Wind Farms, which started in 2021, will help make this goal a reality; together they will bring nearly 3 GW of offshore wind capacity to

Ireland. However, not every country will be able to deploy an offshore wind farm, which is why it’s important to create sustainability goals that align with each country’s ability and climate action plans, along with knowing what resources are available. In 2018, Ireland announced its Climate Action Fund (CAF), which was established to provide assistance and financial support to projects that will help Ireland achieve its climate and energy targets. Ireland’s Climate Action Fund offers about $530 million in Government funding. Depending on your location, you may not have as many resources to draw upon, but those opportunities to make money from improving the planet are out there.

3

Go big Big problems need big solutions. The aforementioned ESB and the

energy storage technology company Fluence, a Siemens and AES Company, headquartered in Washington DC, had announced two new battery projects in Dublin, one of which will be the European Union’s largest battery energy storage system project by energy capacity. Financial projections haven’t been released yet, but one of the battery projects, on an artificial peninsula called Poolbeg, will power about 321,000 homes and businesses in Ireland during peak demand. One thing is certain. The demand for energy isn’t going to wane and the need for less energy utilised and to make better use of resources is going to become more important than ever. As supply chains get more complicated and geopolitics encourages the world to speed up its mission to rely less on oil, carbon-friendly initiatives will only become more important for all global firms.

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IOT Smart Buildings

get SMARTER S M A R T B U I L D I N G S D O N ’ T J US T C R E AT E M O R E C O M F O R TA B L E , S A F E A N D P R O D U C T I V E

E N V I R O N M E N T S , T H E Y A L S O S AV E M O N E Y. I N N O VAT I O N I R E L A N D R E V I E W TA L K S TO J O E WA L S H AT S I E M E N S TO F I N D O U T W H Y I N T E L L I G E N T B U I L D I N G S A R E A S M A R T I D E A .

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IOT Smart Buildings

It seems that everything is ‘smart’ these days. We wear smartwatches to monitor our exercise levels, we watch our favourite shows on a smart TV and we do almost everything on our smartphone. But what do we mean when we talk about smart buildings? It’s a question without a simple answer, says Joe Walsh, General Manager at Siemens Limited. Technology in buildings is continuously evolving and innovating and the pace of that innovation has ramped up in recent years. Advancements like IoT, digital twins, smart centres and energy efficient products are all terms associated with smart buildings, but they can have different meanings for different building types. “It’s difficult to define what a smart building is, as they differ quite dramatically depending on the application. In a general sense, a smart building uses the most recent technology

to ensure a building is fit for purpose throughout its lifecycle. That technology will depend on the type of building it is and what it’s being used for.” Building owners in Ireland are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing products and systems that help make a building truly smart. The Smart Buildings team at EY provide solutions that allow owners and operators better understand occupant needs and behaviours, with the goal of enhancing wellbeing and productivity while saving operational costs and increasing building efficiency. EU initiatives to smarten up our buildings are also transforming our built environment; Cork’s participation in GrowSmarter, an EU initiative to transform cities across Europe, is making the city smarter and more sustainable. Siemens is at the forefront of this kind

of technology across the globe, providing systems that create safe, secure and efficient buildings. Whether it’s fire safety, digital services, security, building or energy automation, Siemens has the capability to create bespoke systems that address the customer’s every requirement. Those requirements are diverse and so the solutions that Siemens provides are similarly broad-ranging. “We encourage our customers to view our portfolio like an à la carte menu and to pick and choose the solutions that best suit them. To give an example, we provide a range of extensive smart lighting systems, including our Enlighted IoT solution which adds to our core portfolio with intelligent lighting sensors. These systems save energy, but also collect data to give the user lots of information about the building – the number of people within it and where

Joe Walsh, General Manager, Siemens Limited.

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IOT Smart Buildings

exactly those people are in the building at any given time. So, a customer can opt for some features while discarding others.” The recent acquisition of EcoDomus’ digital twin software will, says Joe, advance the company’s smart building offering. Ecodomus software creates, maintains and visualises Building Information Modelling (BIM)-based digital building twins, making design and construction data available for building operations and maintenance. Cloud services from Siemens allows an owner or operator to interact with the building systems remotely. “Ten years ago, I would send somebody to a building to fix a fault. Maybe he’d arrive

without the right spare part. Today, he can investigate the fault within that building from his house or from his office and if the issue can’t be resolved remotely, then at least he can arrive at the building with the spare part he needs. With cloud services from Siemens, we’re moving away from reactive maintenance to predictive maintenance.” Cybersecurity is something businesses can’t afford to neglect, particularly in a post-Covid environment where remote working and digital technology play such a major role. It’s a service that Siemens also provides. “To limit the threat to security, smart building technologies have

“To limit the threat to security, smart building technologies have to address both physical and cybersecurity risks. It’s essential that digital networks are safeguarded with firewalls and data encryption.”

The Edge in Amsterdam Hailed as one of the smartest buildings by Bloomberg and RCR Wireless News, the building is equipped with some 28,000 sensors. Its main tenant, Deloitte, uses the data to adapt how the building functions based on how the employees within it work, shutting down sections of the building that are not in use to conserve energy. The building also keeps a schedule for employees, giving them instructions of where to go to ensure they are at the right place at the right time. Workers can use smartphones to interact with the building, using an app to locate colleagues, adjust the temperature or schedule when they can work out in the building’s gym. Also worth noting is the fact that the structure produces more energy than it uses. The Building Research Establishment determined the structure to be the world’s most sustainable.

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Tottenham partnered with LG to equip the stadium with advanced TVs and signs and HPE to outfit the building with networking. The stadium boasts more than 1,600 WiFi access points to support free wireless access to the 62,062 fans who can fit in the stadium when it is full. 700 Bluetooth beacons work with a smartphone app to help fans navigate their way to restaurants, stores, bars and other locations in the stadium. The same beacon technology measures fan occupancy data to help redirect fans waiting in a long line for a restroom to a shorter one. The stadium’s core wired network infrastructure supports services such as building management systems, audio-visual data and closedcircuit TV feeds. The stadium also features a retractable pitch developed by the Sheffield-based engineering firm SCX, making it possible to switch in roughly 25 minutes from a grass-based field for Tottenham Spurs games to artificial turf for NFL American football matches and other types of events.

Allianz Arena Nicknamed Schlauchboot (inflatable boat in German), the arena’s exterior can change colour like a chameleon, turning green for St Patrick’s Day, for instance. A digital control system can modify more than 300,000 lights. But the most impressive technology lives within. The facility uses an array of sensors and cloud-based analytics on Siemens’ MindSphere platform to keep track of the health of the grass on the field and to make recommendations. For instance, if the temperature is too cold, the system kicks on a heater. If the turf is too dry, it will irrigate at the most optimal moment. Also related to the stadium, Siemens hooked up with the Economist Group to use acoustic cameras with sound mapping software to study how fans respond to key moments of games. The software can create 3-D models to help quantify fans’ reactions to the game.

SOURCE: IOTWORLDTODAY

the smartest buildings in the world

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IOT Smart Buildings

to address both physical and cybersecurity risks. It’s essential that digital networks are safeguarded with firewalls and data encryption. We offer cybersecurity systems through our consultancy service, along with an energy consulting service, primarily for commercial businesses.” Energy consulting involves carrying out an energy audit of a building and specifying products that will, for example, turn on and off by themselves depending on occupancy. “We also supply products that can break down the energy of a building per floor, allowing for collection of data. That information can then be used to take the energy efficiency of that building to the next level. Quite

often, it’s marginal changes that really make a difference to the long-term sustainability of a building. As I mentioned, we really do offer an à la carte menu to customers; our job is to figure out what best suits their application.” Buildings aren’t smart if they’re not sustainable, but sustainability must be factored in from the planning stage, says Joe. “We provide transparency and control over energy and sustainability, with improved performance predictability and demonstrable results, so it’s easy to attain the necessary improvement to meet sustainability targets.” Siemens’ ability to innovate is, says Joe,

Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel From the outside, this brand-new 288-room hotel may look conventional, but it is home to a number of robots that are part of a package of innovative amenities. There are even robots to guide you around the lobby. If you want to go, for instance, to the hotel’s steakhouse, the robot can not only show you the way but also trigger the steakhouse doors to open. There are robots to carry your luggage to your room as well as robots for room service. The robots are equipped with sensors to prevent them from crashing into unsuspecting guests. The hotel is the first in the United States to host such robots.

The Salesforce Tower The Salesforce Tower isn’t just the tallest building in the San Francisco skyline. It also uses a variety of smart building technologies including digital twins that help understand the use of space, modelling, for instance, how conference rooms are used. Targeting LEED Platinum status, the building also makes use of a smart HVAC system and water recycling. The building makes leverages sunshades and a glazed façade to cut heat from the sun. The building has a converged network with VOIP, WAN, LAN and high-density WiFi.

in the company’s DNA. Developing innovative products that make a building ‘smart’ for customers, who are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to sustainability, is where the company excels. “Smart buildings provide customers with a fantastic opportunity, but I think it’s important to remember that they’re complicated. If you really want to be smart about it, you’ve got to ask yourself some key questions. What am I trying to achieve? Who’s going to help me on that journey? Once you start asking yourself those questions, you’re a step closer to realising your ambition of running a building that’s truly smart.”

Apple Park Apple Park’s circular $5 billion building may not have received universal acclaim from architects, but the building is one of the most energy-efficient structures internationally. Powered entirely by renewable energy, the solar panels on the roof of the structure produce 17 megawatts of energy — one of the biggest totals of any solar roof. The natural ventilation uses flaps and sensors to circulate air and measure where from and how much the wind is blowing. Furthermore, tubes of water have been placed within the concrete floors and ceilings to help keep the temperature in a comfortable middle ground. All of this is done to prevent the central heating and cooling system from kicking in, which are only reserved for the most extreme temperatures.

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SPORTS TECH Keeping Track

IREL AND HAS COME TO T H E F O R E A S T H E P R E M I E R LO C AT I O N FOR SPORTSTECH IN EUROPE , WITH BOTH OUR TECH AND S P O R T S TA L E N T KNOCKING IT OUT O F T H E PA R K .

KEEPING

track 20

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SPORTS TECH Keeping Track

“Having staff members in a country like Ireland where football and rugby are extremely popular is advantageous.” BLAIR HAMMOND, CATAPULT

training plans are teams that will sink to the bottom of their leagues. AI is also widely-used in stadiums with drone cameras and smart ticketing, but potential expansions to this in the future include automated video highlights and virtual umpires. Croke Park Smart Stadium, developed in a collaboration between the GAA, Dublin City University, Intel, and Microsoft, uses IoT in a number of innovative ways, including monitoring sunlight on the pitch to ensure heat lamps are used efficiently; monitoring crowd noise during concerts and match days to ensure there is minimal disruption to neighbours; and monitoring wind speed to ensure its rooftop tours are safe to proceed. Blair Hammond, VP of Marketing, Catapult Ireland

We are entering a new era in sport. Simply keeping track of the goals scored by each team is but a practice from a simpler time. Artificial intelligence is bringing new layers of rich data to post-match analysis and revolutionising athletes’ training. The Irish rugby team wear GPS trackers which gather incredibly rich stores of data on their movements during each match. Even the humble sliotar is to be microchipped,

as the GAA roll out the new standardised ball, each tagged with an RFID to ensure it is fully traceable. The sports industry has fully embraced the data revolution and globally all of the highest level sporting teams are harnessing enormous volumes of data to analyse performance and gain competitive advantage. Teams that are not incorporating sophisticated sports technology into their IDAIREL AND.COM

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SPORTS TECH Keeping Track

One of the big trends Gráinne Barry sees in the sector is convergence of sports with a number of other sectors including media, sustainability, HealthTech, and mobility.

Gráinne Barry, SVP Global Operations at Stats Perform and Co-founder of SportsTech Ireland

World Class Ireland has come to the fore as the premier location for SportsTech talent in Europe, providing an eco-system and community to facilitate collaboration between SportsTech start-ups and major international sports and technology brands and companies, and a landing zone for international companies with deep access and connectivity to European markets – not to mention some world-class sporting talent with which to collaborate. Blair Hammond, VP of Marketing with Catapult, an Australian wearables and video tech company with an outpost in Ireland, says, “Recently, we released a game-changing new innovation integrating performance data derived from our wearable devices with our video analysis solution, which is primarily being used by football and rugby teams across Europe. Having staff members in a country like Ireland where football and rugby are extremely popular is advantageous.” According to the latest research by SportsTech Ireland, there are now more than 100 SportsTech companies operating in Ireland, selling to international markets including the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Spain and France. 22

Industry Trends SportsTech Ireland is a not-for-profit organisation creating community and collaboration and driving innovation in the sector in Ireland, and will be releasing its first report on SportsTech in Ireland this September. Gráinne Barry, SVP Global Operations at Stats Perform and Cofounder of SportsTech Ireland says the report will look at, “where the industry is going here, and what the key trends, insights and thought leaders in the industry in Ireland are”. With the data currently being validated by EY, the report promises rigour around its information on investment, location and type of SportsTech companies in Ireland. One of the big trends Barry sees in the sector is convergence of sports with a number of other sectors including media, sustainability, HealthTech, and mobility. The other hot topic, as in most industries, is talent. However, in a country with a big passion for sport, Barry notes that, prior to now, opportunities for employment within sports were limited. “There’s an opportunity to expose people who are doing sports courses at third level to data analytics and technology and combine these. The volumes of data produced by

sport is significant, and when you’re working on something that you have a passion for, it can be really interesting.” New Arrivals Among the latest SportsTech companies to land on these shores are leading Sports and WellTech companies Thrive Global and WHOOP, which both opened international hubs in Ireland in 2021. Thrive Global is a behaviour change technology company founded by Arianna Huffington (founder of The Huffington Post and named as one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine, and 20 most powerful women in business by Forbes). Her latest venture, Thrive Global, created 40 Dublin-based roles with the opening of an engineering office last August. Meanwhile, last September, WHOOP announced it would open its first international hub in Dublin with more than 50 employees due to be in situ by the end of 2022. WHOOP market a personalised digital fitness and health coach system which monitors a person’s key metrics to deliver performance-optimising insights. “Dublin is the ideal location for WHOOP to grow our global team,” said Will Ahmed, WHOOP Founder and CEO. “The city has a highly-skilled workforce which will allow us to further expand our international reach – not just in Ireland and Europe, but around the world.”

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PROFILE The Educator

The Educator

AT A GL ANCE

Alma Jordan FOUNDER OF AGRIKIDS

A g r i Ki d s, through engagement and e d u c a t i o n , empowers children to b e f a r m s afety ambas s adors . To m o v e t h i s topic from one of j us t a w a r e n e s s to actual habit change a n d i n st i n ctive behaviours requires d e d i c a t e d s ocial entrepreneurs hip. Tell us a bit about Agri Kids? In 2014, news of the deaths of two young children within days of each other had a profound impact on me. This was a year when Ireland saw its highest level of farm accidents on record, with 30 dead, five of which were children. AgriKids was formed from a personal perspective; while I was devastated for the families and the communities impacted by the tragedies, I was very aware that this could also happen to us. Therefore, leaning on my professional career in marketing and communications, I cultivated a multistrand platform with child-friendly resources – books, workshops, online games – that could be used by families, schools, companies and communities. How did the Covid-19 pandemic impact your projects and plans? April 2020 saw a major spike in farm accidents and fatalities, just as schools had closed. What was frustrating during the pandemic was that the work and impact of social enterprises was never more in demand yet access to funding

or supports was tight. My organisation relied on school visits and shows for 80% of its revenue. I was coming to the end of a threeyear partnership with a corporate partner. I was looking at a burn rate of about five months, August 2020 was to be the end of AgriKids. In October 2019, I had won a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award which came with a fund worth €40k, half of which was cash and the other was a nine-month support programme. Through this award, my work came to the attention of another sponsor whose support from March 2020 enabled me to pivot to an online world. Parents and teachers homeschooling now had webinars and resources and my sales in books saw an increase. Programmes such as Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers and CSF are helpful but scaling up requires consistent and reliable funding. Everyone in Ireland benefits from the success of the farming industry and we all have a responsibility to ensuring the safety of those engaging in maintaining our food supply chain. Support from companies such as Zurich Insurance and Flogas are vital to keeping AgriKids on the road. How important is high quality broadband in the rural communities? For AgriKids, schools need to be able to access webinars and use my whiteboard games. This allows me to grow my impact by taking me off the road doing physical visits and afford me a more sustainable work practice. Access to broadband is a modern day necessity. If you live in a rural part of Ireland, you should have the same access to job prospects as someone living in a large town or city. What are your plans for the next three years? I need AgriKids to continue on the path it is on, with resources that are readily available to primary schools, communities and to rural families. There is no handbook for what I have started, so I am very much writing each chapter

6%

... OF WORKPLACES IN IRELAND ARE FARMS AND YET ...

50% ... OF ALL WORKPLACE FATALITIES OCCUR ON A FARM

20 ... FARMERS LOSE THEIR LIVES EACH YEAR IN WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS

as it happens. AgriKids was created to be used by the sector and those organisations already with a farm safety agenda. I want them to tap in and collaborate with a known, trusted and recognised brand in child centric farm safety education; that brand is AgriKids. The Farm Safety Foundation (Yellow Wellies) in the UK is where I would like to get to. A small team but housed in a larger organisation whose resources enable it to run and achieve its objectives. I really admire the work they do and am proud that I have worked with them on their programmes such as Farm Safety Week which runs every July. What does a successful outcome for AgriKids look like? That AgriKids is no longer needed – that would be success to me. When a farm is no longer the most dangerous workplace – that would be a good outcome. I would happily retire should that day ever come.

BELOW: Alma Jordan, Founder of AgriKids presented with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award 2019 with Darren Ryan, Former CEO, SEI and Donal Murphy, CEO, DCC plc.

Website: www.agrikids.ie Email: alma@agrikids.ie IDAIREL AND.COM

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RESEARCH Neuroscience

genius

A SPARK OF

M E G WA L K E R S P E A K S TO D R K A R E N D O Y L E , P R E S I D E N T O F N E U R O S C I E N C E I R E L A N D A N D P R I N C I PA L I N V E S T I G ATO R AT C Ú R A M , T H E S C I E N C E F O U N D AT I O N I R E L A N D R E S E A R C H C E N T R E F O R M E D I C A L D E V I C E S AT N U I G A LWAY, A B O U T H E R WORK IN STROKE RESEARCH AND THE POWER OF S TO R Y T E L L I N G I N H E L P I N G TO B R I N G S C I E N C E TO T H E P U B L I C . How did you first get into the field of neuroscience? After Leaving Cert, I went to University College Dublin to study science. I had an interest in understanding the human body, so naturally fell into subjects like physiology and pharmacology. During the degree, we studied the brain, which is the organ we know the least about – there’s still so much to learn about it. I was fascinated, and from then on, I wanted to study the brain, look into the diseases of the brain, and figure out mechanisms to protect the brain. I studied pharmacology and how drugs 24

can interact with the brain – at the moment, we don’t have any neuroprotective drug therapy. I just had this drive for discovery, some sort of mechanism to actually help in brain disorders, of which there are many – neurodegenerative diseases, psychiatric illnesses, neurological acute illnesses… If we could find something that could help, that could reduce the disability associated with those diseases, and the number of people’s lives we could touch, that would be huge. It triggered this desire to know more and see what potential there was for neuroprotective methods.

Tell me about your research and its implications. My current research is in the area of stroke. When somebody has a stroke, it tends to be a very rapid onset of neurological problems and symptoms. Over 15 million people across the world have a stroke each year. In Ireland, it’s at least 8,000 to 10,000 people every year. The vast majority of those strokes are actually caused by a blockage in a blood vessel. What I’m doing at the moment is studying the material that blocks the arteries supplying blood to the brain – blood clots that have been removed from the brains of people who’ve had a stroke. I’ve been trying to use what I find about the clot to improve or optimise the design of medical devices to try and remove the clot as quickly as possible – because every single minute the blockage is within the brain, we’re losing about 2 million brain cells. So the quicker we can

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RESEARCH Neuroscience

remove these clots, the better. And not all clots are the same, so we need to figure out how best to remove all different types of clots. I’m collaborating with industry to see if we can distinguish the characteristics of the clot before a thrombectomy procedure (where a clot is removed) is carried out – if [the surgical team] can tell what kind of clot [a patient has], they can choose the right device and the right treatment approach in advance. We’re also doing some discovery work within the clots, looking to see if we can see biomarkers that might lead us to develop new drugs or new therapeutic approaches to prevent strokes in the first place. You were featured in a documentary, A Tiny Spark, about stroke research. How did that come about? CÚRAM developed a collaboration with Galway Film Centre called Science on Screen. It’s a partnership to promote science, technology, engineering and maths in film as a mechanism for outreach to bring science to the public. I was invited to do a pitch to a room full of directors and producers, describing my research, and I was lucky enough to be chosen by the team at Swan Song Films – director Niamh Heery and producer Caroline Kealy, who developed this wonderful film. They found stroke survivors who were willing to tell their stories and incorporated beautiful

animations by Eric Dolan. Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways of getting a message across. I think we need to be imaginative about how we actually portray information about science to the public, and film is a magical way of doing it. Outreach is a really important issue for Science Foundation Ireland, and certainly in CÚRAM, linking art and science has been strongly championed.

continuing to promote neuroscience education within Ireland. The third thing is to reach out to the Irish people, and to the children who are going to be the neuroscientists of the future. It’s also about collaboration within the society because we’re a group of over 200 scientists and clinicians, all working in diverse areas of neuroscience, and making sure everyone feels like a link in a chain is important.

As President of Neuroscience Ireland, what are your plans or goals for the next two years, and are there specific areas you’re focusing on? The aim of the society is to advance research and education in neuroscience in Ireland. Two years is a relatively short period, but it’s a critical point in terms of the research funding landscape. One of the things I’m focusing on is to advocate for research funding within Ireland and also Europe, because Neuroscience Ireland is a member of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, and we all collaborate together to enhance neuroscience at a European level. It’s really important that we advocate to ensure that funding is available for neuroscientists so that we have a chance to work on the diseases that are such a burden to people who suffer with them. Another thing that’s very close to my heart is to nurture the next generation of neuroscientists,

Are there many women in Ireland working in the field of neuroscience? Yes, we’re probably around 50/50 women to men in this particular area. Things are moving in the right direction with regard to women in science in general, but we still tend not to be reaching the top, not as readily as men do. It’s a slow shift. As women, we tend to take on all the nurturing roles and spread ourselves across the whole array of jobs that need to be done, not just the ones that will get you promoted. And I don’t think the breadth of roles that women carry out are necessarily recognised. There’s still work to be done, but in general, I think women are very well represented in neuroscience. We just need to make sure that women make it to the top of their field, every bit as much as men do. When you have diversity in a group, you get a wider range of ideas, people bring different strengths, and it only adds to any given project and the area overall.

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PROFILE The Transformer

Trev or Vaug h , f o u n d e r a n d d ir e c t o r of t h e r en ow n ed Mayn oot h U n i v er si t y I nnov at i on L a b ( M i: L a b ) s a y s w e n e e d n ew an d b ett er w ays of w orki ng a n d u n d e r s t a n d in g . I n o t h er w or d s w e n eed t o . . . . .

BE MORE HUMAN

Tr e v o r Va u g h F O U N D E R & D I R E C T O R , M I:L A B

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PROFILE The Transformer

AT A GL ANCE

Trevor Va u g h Trevor Vaugh is Assistant Professor of Strategic Design at Maynooth University and the Founder and Director of the Maynooth University Innovation Lab (Mi:Lab). Recently Trevor appeared as an expert on the critically acclaimed RTÉ series Big Life Fix and presented Science Foundation Ireland’s‘ Science to the Rescue documentary. His coauthored book, ARRIVE: A Design Innovation Framework to Deliver Breakthrough Services, Products and Experiences, was published by Routledge. Through his consultancy practice Actionable, Trevor regularly works with and advises public and private organisations on the critical role strategic design now plays as an agent of discovery and a mediator between humanity and technology. Prior to entering academia, Trevor developed a number of disruptive healthcare innovations, including the Triport system for Olympus. Trevor has accumulated a portfolio of over 50 patents and won numerous innovation awards, including a place in the prestigious Cleveland Clinic’s top 10 innovations of 2009. Trevor sits on Ireland’s Public Service Innovation Advisory Board.

Your expertise is in human-centred innovation, strategy and design thinking. What does this entail? For me it’s all about progress. If you think about it, every organisation, every department and every manager, client, user, customer and citizen is simply trying to make some sort of progress. Sometimes they know what it is, but more often they don’t. When you understand this and take time to study what progress your customers are trying to make for example, and what might be getting in the way of them achieving it, it unlocks enormous opportunities for meaningful change, improvement and innovation. This sounds simple, but it’s not intuitive. The speed and scale at which we operate today, the structure and make-up of our organisations and the types of data and intelligence we gather, make it difficult to operate, think and focus at this human level. To work at this level, organisations need to prioritise skills like empathy, creativity and experimentation, but these skills, for many reasons, are missing, have been suppressed or are just not nurtured. In the past, we could get away with operating at a distance from customers and employees – we could rely on our

SOPs, our policies, our reputations, we could segment markets, gather hundreds of survey responses, run focus groups and just hire smart people to make the right decisions. Today, though, hyper-competition, demanding human needs, complex challenges and fast moving technology mean that we need new and better ways of working, understanding and innovating – we need to be faster, more creative and more human. We need to make better decisions and to do that we need the right type of understanding. Human-centred innovation, I believe, offers that new and better way of doing things. The approach starts with understanding and interrogating the context of the challenge to be tackled and moves quickly to getting out of the office to be close to people, observing, conversing with and listening to them in

order to identify and define goals, motivations, unmet needs and uncover real insight. It’s about mapping complex systems and processes, questioning the many orthodoxies that exist and it’s about empowering and enabling people to creatively explore new ways to use technology (in its broadest sense) to meet those needs. Ultimately, it’s about bridging humanity and technology. It’s an extremely powerful approach, it’s teachable and it’s now well proven to be an effective means of delivering value, creating meaningful innovation, empowering individuals and humanising organisations. Tell us about your latest research into voice banking and how it benefits those with motor neurone disease? In 2018, I was asked to participate as an expert on a television documentary series called Big Life Fix. As part of this series, I worked with Roisin, a young mother suffering from motor neurone disease. During the design process we discovered that Roisin was very reluctant to “bank” her voice, something that would allow her to keep communicating after she lost hers. It turns out she is not alone; fewer than 20% of sufferers choose that option. There are many reasons for this, but we posited that it was because the process of banking was long (9+ hours), expensive and the results were poor, leaving them with communication, yes, but little in the way of personality and humanity – something that was uniquely them. Roisin and many others did not want to leave behind that legacy or spend their final years with a robotic voice. Together with a brilliant Irish software company called Marino Software, we conceived and developed a system that would capture more authentic recordings, we packaged them in a beautifully designed and very smart app and we used location beacons to allow the app to

“Today, hyper-competition, demanding human needs, complex challenges and fast moving technology mean that we need new and better ways of working, understanding and innovating – we need to be faster, more creative and more human.”

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PROFILE The Transformer

know what room it was in, who was nearby and then update the interface to reflect that. It worked. Fast forward three years and after hearing veteran Irish journalist Charlie Bird on the radio talking about losing his voice to MND, I reached out to see how our technology might help. Unfortunately, Charlie’s voice had deteriorated too much, so we updated the application and used artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a virtually identical clone of his voice – a new voice he went on to use to inspire the nation and raise nearly €3.5 million for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta. We think we can do this with less than an hour’s worth of good recordings and we are working to develop the technology so that it can be offered to anybody at risk of losing their voice. ­ ow important is it for educational H institutes to think outside the box when forming their curriculum? I tell all of my incoming students that there is actually no box – it’s a constraint we humans put on ourselves. Education institutions, in all their wisdom, tend to operate like there is a box and it’s called norms and traditions. The first university emerged in 1088 in Bologna, and perhaps it is a little unfair, but I believe most institutions today fundamentally look, operate and think in a very similar way and this is holding us back. Today’s context is very different, and our staff, students and partners have very different needs, pressures and requirements. More than any other sector, higher education institutions need to be questioning why they exist, what they do and how they do it in order to stay relevant in today’s world. Why are academic departments divided and siloed the way they are? Does semesterisation actually lead to better knowledge acquisition? Does every young person need to go to HE? Are we actually preparing students for a very different world? Essentially, 250k of our young people go through HE every year, so I believe it is our best opportunity and our moral obligation to ensure that they are ready and equipped with the best and the right knowledge, ethics and ways of thinking and working to allow them to have a positive impact on our communities, our country and on the world. I don’t know if we do, but I know we can. 28

How are we doing in Ireland? Ireland’s HE landscape is changing rapidly, so we are at a very exciting time. We have seen the emergence of new technological universities, a new Minister for the sector and four of our key universities, for the first time have female presidents. All of this combined with the positive pedagogical changes brought on by Covid-19 and the new urgency around environmental and societal issues, I think, creates a strong momentum for positive change like we have never seen before. We are, I think also beginning to ask some of those important questions, so I think the next decade will be one of the most exciting, productive and important. There is a developing trend towards micro-creds. How do you see this impacting your area? Through the Maynooth University Innovation Lab (Mi:Lab), which I lead, my team and I are currently supporting the national Recognition of Prior Learning project through design research. This is closely related and running in parallel to the national MicroCredentials project. Both projects are extremely important as they will allow our institutions and programmes to be more flexible and responsive to student needs, they will enable people who may never have had the opportunity to bring their valuable expertise and experience into the system, and both will lead to more diversity, more collaboration and I believe more exciting opportunities. How open is Ireland to research and development? As a country we have always been quite strong in R&D, but in the traditional “best practice” sense. Our state bodies do a fantastic job showing us what to do, how to do it and funding and supporting us to actually do it. However, the challenges we face today in healthcare, education, the environment and society in general leave us no choice but to step it up another level. I believe we need to rethink what we focus on, how we organise to have a meaningful impact and how we motivate, reward and even inspire teams to go further. I guess it’s about building on the strong foundations and moving to the next level, where we have the creative confidence to play with new ideas, with new approaches and with new urgency. For me confidence and specifically creative confidence is an important key to this.

Where do you think we excel? We as a nation have created a fantastic country to do business in, an excellent base for international organisations and a thriving, world-class technology, med-tech, bio pharma, food and financial services reputation. However, as a designer, someone focused on the future and how it can be improved, I find it difficult to reflect on and celebrate these successes when there are just so many national and global challenges, inequalities, inefficiencies and indeed opportunities yet to be explored. Where do I think we could excel? The greatest opportunity for Ireland is, in my mind, taking advantage of our small scale and developing better ways and means of having our best people networked in ways that break down siloes and allow them to share knowledge and expertise seamlessly across organisations and challenges for the betterment of everybody. We have very smart people here, but sometimes I feel that they lack the confidence, time, space and openness to explore bigger ideas and experiment creatively with possibilities. There is a line I use sometimes: “the greatest challenge facing the world is not X, Y or Z, it’s human thinking” – if we could support new, better ways of thinking and working, possibly through our education system, I think we could reap the benefits for decades to come. What’s next for you and your team? Thankfully many organisations are beginning to see how the human-centred design approach can help them rethink and design better, more meaningful products, services and experiences. We are currently busy working across the HE system and Maynooth University to embed this way of working in HE and currently supporting the development of the new university strategy. Outside of education, I am working with a number of private and public service organisations and we are developing some really interesting and exciting projects with the HSE. As a member of the Public Service Innovation Advisory Board, I have witnessed first hand the passion and vision the reform team have for evolving our public sector and I’m looking forward to supporting this important work. Finally, we have just started filming the second season of RTE’s Big life Fix series, so that is going to keep me very busy for the next nine months!

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RESEARCH Microneedles

IN THE

game T H E O U T E R L AY E R O F H U M A N S K I N ( T H E S T R AT U M C O R N E U M ) I S J US T 0 . 0 2 M M T H I C K , B U T P R E S E N T S A M A J O R B A R R I E R TO T H E PA S S A G E O F S U B S TA N C E S B O T H I N TO A N D O U T O F T H E B O D Y. C O L L A B O R AT I V E R E S E A R C H L E D F R O M I R E L A N D I S TA C K L I N G T H I S C H A L L E N G E H E A D O N , I N O R D E R TO M A X I M I S E T H E E X T R A O R D I N A R Y P O T E N T I A L O F T H E S K I N A S A G AT E WAY F O R T H E R A P E U T I C A N D D I A G N O S T I C A P P L I C AT I O N S . B Y S O R C H A C O R C O R A N

Imagine a world where the hypodermic needle was no longer the go-to form of skin penetration for everything from vaccines to managing diabetes – and on top of this that there were pain-free methods of delivering drugs and sampling biomarkers through the skin that resulted in increased patient adherence and treatment efficacy. →

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Scientists at Tyndall National Institute in Cork are striving to make this type of world a reality, backed up by a 20-year track record in microneedle research and development (R&D). Led by Principal Researcher Dr Conor O’Mahony, the team there is focused on the development of micro transdermal interface platforms (MicroTIPs). These wearable systems combine elements of transdermal delivery, diagnostics and communications capabilities. They are essentially ‘smart patches’ incorporating microneedles that interact with the outermost skin layers in a minimally-invasive manner. Generally around 0.5mm in length, the microneedles developed by Tyndall are sharp-tipped, micron-scale structures made using advanced microfabrication technologies. They are available in a variety of solid or hollow formats. Made from silicon or polymer, the solid microneedles create transient perforations in the stratum corneum, thereby increasing the permeability of the barrier layer to large molecules by several orders of magnitude. Hollow silicon microneedles include a narrow bore through which therapeutic agents can be infused directly into the upper skin layers. Because of their tiny length, microneedles don’t strike the nerve endings or blood vessels that lie deeper in the skin, and therefore their application is perceived as

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“The wearable patch technology will allow a controlled and programmable delivery, detect that the dose has been delivered, and communicate this back to the doctor, helping to determine if the treatment is efficacious and being adhered to properly by the patient.”

painless by the user. In addition to deliveryfocused technologies, some of the latest cutting-edge research at Tyndall is using microneedles to test for biomarkers that exist in the skin’s interstitial fluid in order to detect and understand how the body behaves in response to certain drug formulations or stimuli. Tyndall works with R&D teams worldwide to develop new transdermal interface technologies based around microneedles. “Tyndall is one of the top centres in the world for microneedle research. Many of the other academic groups working in this field as well as numerous global industry partners have accessed microneedles developed by Tyndall at some stage for use in their own research,” says Carlo Webster, Senior Strategic Business Executive at Tyndall. “The development of MicroTIPs is worldleading in terms of transdermal drug delivery, diagnostics and systems integration. It is focused on building a whole

ecosystem around microneedles, including highly miniaturised sensors, control electronics, wireless communications and artificial intelligence. Work so far has experimentally confirmed the feasibility of combining micropumps with microneedle arrays for applications in transdermal drug delivery. “The wearable patch technology will allow a controlled and programmable delivery, detect that the dose has been delivered, and communicate this back to the doctor, helping to determine if the treatment is efficacious and being adhered to properly by the patient.” Following in the same vein, Tyndall is working with electronics manufacturing services provider Sanmina Corporation on ELSAH, a four-year collaborative project in the area of electronic smart systems. Coordinated by the Austrian Institute of Technology and including a total of ten European partners, the objective of this

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project is to develop and demonstrate an integrated wearable sensor system (the ‘ELSAH patch’) for microneedle-based, continuous monitoring of lactate and glucose levels. The ultimate aim of ELSAH and similar research programmes is, for the first time, to create wearables that provide truly evidence-based support to healthy living. This is expected to cause a reduction in the prevalence of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. When it comes to drug delivery, a limitation with microneedles up until now has been their ability to deliver the large volumes possible with the hypodermic needle, according to O’Mahony. However, this is changing: “An R&D partnership with West Pharmaceutical Services has led to Tyndall showing how hollow microneedles can achieve highly controllable infusion rates, delivering 1-4 millilitres over a period of tens of minutes,” he notes. Employing over 1,000 people across two different manufacturing sites in Dublin and Waterford, West Pharmaceutical Services has been collaborating with Tyndall on developments of drug delivery systems for injectable medicines since 2016. “West Pharmaceutical Services is a global leader of containment and delivery systems for injectable drugs. We recognise Tyndall as one of Europe’s leading ICT

research centres and have been pleased to partner with them,” says Dr Alex Lyness, Senior Manager, Research & Technology at West Pharmaceutical Services. “We have had great success engaging with Dr Conor O’Mahony and his impressive research team focused on applying cuttingedge sensing technologies to future needs in drug delivery. We have learnt a lot through our collaborative project.” Tyndall is one of the key partners involved in Moore4Medical, a multimillion euro EUfunded project led by Philips Research in the Netherlands. Leveraging the wideranging expertise of 66 partners from 12 countries, Moore4Medical is developing open technology platforms that will accelerate innovation and applications for emerging medical science. Tyndall is leading one strand of the project, which is focused on developing a wearable autoinjector platform for intelligent drug delivery, intended to improve patient adherence and reduce the cost of medication programmes. Based out of Sligo, a team of ten people led by Jeff Redmond, Combination Products Director, Science & Technology at AbbVie, is also part of the Moore4Medical project and is working closely with Tyndall. AbbVie employs around 5,000 people in Ireland and makes many of its pharmaceutical products here, including drugs for treating hepatitis, eye diseases and arthritis.

“The use of multiple microneedles in a patch to allow drugs to absorb into the skin would be a much more acceptable approach, especially for people who don’t like injections.”

“As a Moore4Medical partner, we are researching new ways to simplify autoinjector pens and make them more intelligent using temperature sensors. We also want to establish whether we can extend the shelf life of a prescribed drug by reconverting it into liquid and freezedrying it so that it is in powder form. This is very novel,” says Redmond. “AbbVie is exploring several new methods for delivering medicines that are more precise and impactful, as well as being simpler and easier to use for the patient. The use of multiple microneedles in a patch to allow drugs to absorb into the skin would be a much more acceptable approach, especially for people who don’t like injections. “The original technology problem of getting microneedles manufacturable and scalable has been nearly solved and the next stage is to look at specific applications for them. Not every drug can be delivered this way, but we are interested in how it might open up a pathway for some products.”

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I N N O VAT I O N Nerve Regeneration

WE CAN

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I N N O VAT I O N Nerve Regeneration

JENNIFER McSHANE speaks to Professor of Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine, Fergal O’Brien about the breakthrough. A study by scientists at RCSI and the SFI AMBER Centre was looking to improve nerve repair treatments and relieve the current reliance on grafted nerves. And there’s been a breakthrough; researchers in Ireland have announced just this – potential nerve repair treatments designed to mimic the body’s own healing process are a possibility. Fergal O’Brien is Professor of Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation, and heads the Tissue Engineering Research Group in RCSI, one of the largest advanced biomaterials and tissue engineering/ regenerative medicine research groups in Ireland, and is Principal Investigator leading the team on the study. In a nutshell, this study has developed a new approach to repairing peripheral nerve defects by developing a biomaterial composed of specific extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, which play an important role in nerve formation. “The general concept behind my group and what we do in the RCSI is to use our knowledge of human tissues to see can we design materials that mimic those tissues,” he explains. “And our experience is that if you’ve got good bioengineering capability, the best template when designing a biomaterial to repair damaged tissue is to mimic the native tissue itself. Our tissues and organs have remarkable

S T U D Y B Y S C I E N T I S T S AT R C S I A N D A M B E R W O R K I N G I N PA R T N E R S H I P W I T H I N T E G R A L I F E S C I E N C E S H A S F O C US E D O N I M P R O V I N G N E R V E R E PA I R T R E AT M E N T S T O R E L I E V E T H E CURRENT RELIANCE ON GRAF TED NERVES. RESEARCHERS I N I R E L A N D H AV E N O W A N N O U N C E D A N E R V E R E PA I R T R E AT M E N T D E S I G N E D TO M I M I C T H E B O D Y ’ S O W N HEALING PROCESS.

capacity to repair but when this capacity is reduced through injury or trauma, by using tissue matrix components engineered with a suitable architecture to support native tissue cells, we can help the body to overcome that problem”. Essentially, this is what the study showcased: the use of ECM proteins to regenerate nerves without the ‘traditional’ need for stem cells or nerve grafting. The new biomaterial showed an excellent capacity to repair large defects eight weeks post implantation. According to the study, published in the journal Matrix Biology, the research team also said there was increased pro-repair inflammation, blood vessel density and regenerating nerve density compared to the current standard of care. “So, the typical treatment, if you are unfortunate enough to be in a car accident, or suffer nerve trauma such as a serious burn, is to take a nerve graft from your foot

and if you can get that in place, it works reasonably well for small defects. The problem is, there is limited spare nerve tissue to utilise if you’ve got a traumatic lesion like that. The next logical step is to take somebody else’s. An allograft, a nerve graft transported from a tissue bank. And that doesn’t work anywhere nearly as effectively as the nerve from yourself, because it’s not yours, and it can get rejected if it doesn’t match up perfectly.” “So, here, we take ECM proteins from the nerve tissue, we reconstitute them, we restructure them with a controlled microarchitecture in a very controlled manufacturing process, and we develop a synthetic nerve graft based on the proteins within the body so that when it goes into the body, the body doesn’t reject it, the cells within the body see it as a normal environment to grow on.” “What we’re trying to do is to target the body’s own cells,” he continues. “Typically

“The best template when designing a biomaterial to repair damaged tissue is to mimic the native tissue itself.”

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Professor Fergal O’Brien

the body’s own stem cells, so it’s a much quicker, more simpler process if the material itself can work effectively. Many groups around the world are trying to develop synthetic materials for tissue repair, but normally they don’t work very effectively. And I guess our approach is successful because we mimic the native tissue but also have the pedigree in advanced materials manufacturing to produce a successful product.” Over the past number of years, he explains researchers from the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and

BioEngineering Research along with global medical technology company Integra LifeSciences have been trying to develop this material for peripheral nerve defects. “There are a number of iterations of this development,” he continues. “This study and the next generation of it, the fourth generation project, is us basically asking can you evolve it to treat bigger nerve injuries than would be possible with currently available technology? We have recently started another study with Integra which will help us answer this question. We are confident it will allow us to succeed where others have failed. “We’ve had success in the past targeting

“Our success with peripheral nerves has also allowed us to start focusing on even more complex situations including spinal cord injury where we have partnered with the IRFU Charitable Trust.”

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“This study and the next generation of it, the fourth generation project, is us basically asking can you evolve it to treat bigger nerve injuries than would be possible with currently available technology?” bone and cartilage, where again, we’re taking material components from the tissues, like collagen, for example, and mixing them together with other matrix components, manufacturing them in a really controlled system resulting in products suitable for implantation. Two of these technologies for bone and cartilage repair have already made their way to human patients where they have performed very well. “Our success with peripheral nerves has also allowed us to start focusing on even more complex situations including spinal cord injury where we have partnered with the IRFU Charitable Trust. “To address this complex scenario, we are making the material electroactive. So the material is biologically functional like before but it’s also electroactive as well, because that’s what our nerves do – carrying electrical stimuli to and from the brain. This material also incorporates stem cells and gene therapeutic,s though it will likely be a few years down the line before we understand its full capability.”

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R E G I O N A L I M PA C T Cavan

cavan calling AISLING O’ TOOLE on why Cavan could be the place for your next expansion. A C C E S S TO G R E AT I N F R A S T R U C T U R E , A G R O W I N G TA L E N T P O O L O F S K I L L E D W O R K E R S A N D S TAT E O F T H E A R T W O R K S PA C E S A R E J US T S O M E O F T H E R E A S O N S C AVA N I S E X P E R I E N C I N G INVESTMENT GROW TH

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A highly skilled workforce, strong infrastructure between two major cities, access to over nine second level facilities and a Digital Hub powered by superstrength broadband are just some of the reasons global companies are looking to Cavan and the North East region as the ideal location for future investment. All before you add a bustling social calendar, busy festival line-up and an established foodie scene to the mix. The North-East region, located betweeen Belfast and Dublin, two of the largest cities on the Island of Ireland, has become a very attractive business location for companies looking to take advantage of its proximity to both cities, growing graduate population and workforce. In fact, Cavan and surrounding areas are well served for access to skills, with a student cohort of over 170,000 and access to over 50,000 graduates from seven universities and two Institutes of Technology within a 90-minute drive. It is this access to skills and the excellent infrastructure, connecting the county with international airports in under 90 minutes, which supports IDA’s continued commitment to the area, and to rural Ireland as a whole. This access to talent was one of the factors that led leading US-based media monitoring and analytics firm Public Relay to the county. Speaking about the company’s decision to establish its second Irish base in Cavan, Director of Irish Operations Karl Finn is clear that access to talent along with continued IDA support was an influencing factor. He says: “Cavan is first class for talent and when we opened we found a lot of talent working in the tech industry who were commuting up and down to Dublin and suffering from the grind of that. When we offered jobs closer to home with good 36

Karl Finn

prospects, we were welcomed with open arms. Dublin is full of tech companies, the Facebooks and the Googles of the world and so opening in Cavan gave us that competitive edge. “Now, as hybrid working is becoming

more the norm, we’re focused on maintaining that competitive advantage through good packages for employees, maintaining a good culture and providing development opportunities for graduates. “From the very start of bringing Public Relay to Ireland the IDA have been brilliant in terms of supporting us. They’re always on hand to answer questions, provide background information and to introduce us to companies that can help us. They’re always trying to find the win-win situations and to combine the successes of foreign companies with opportunities for Irish businesses.” However, it’s not just foreign investment and the arrival of global companies contributing to Cavan’s continued growth. The commitment from IDA alongside Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Office Cavan for home-grown expansion

Cabra Estate & Dún a Rí Forest Park Located in the grounds of Cabra estate, Dún a Rí Forest Park is said to have been the hiding place of Cuchulain, who along with his army, took rest among the trees during his legendary battle with Queen Maeve. For less ambitious visitors, there’s walks and gardens simply made for exploring while sculptures are scattered throughout the grounds making for a walk that’s never short of surprises. After working up an appetite, stop into nearby Cabra Castle for a bite to eat or to rest a weary head. Afternoon Tea is available daily while The Derby Bar offers traditional pub food, with a five star twist. The Castle itself is located within 100 acres of parkland with stunning views of the forest, and as well as being a luxurious bolthole, it’s also a building of intrinsically significant, historical and architectural interest and is open to the public every day. Insider Tip: Overnight guests at Cabra Castle should request a Castle Room for unique features and an opportunity to step in life of years gone by.

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R E G I O N A L I M PA C T Cavan

saw the creation of a state of the art Digital Hub which provides local entrepreneurs and multinational companies with access to modern workspaces and networking facilities powered by high speed broadband. The opening of the Digital Hub coincided, to an extent, with the postCovid-19 growth in hybrid working as inhouse surveys show that 86% of Irish companies are open to implementing a remote hybrid working strategy, and so Cavan’s Digital Hub opened its doors at just the right time. Opened in 2019 as part of Cavan County Council’s Digital Strategy, Cavan Digital Hub encourages the digital potential across the county, and encompasses a range of supports to nurture developing and existing technology-based start-ups and digital entrepreneurs. Members can take advantage of networking and upskilling opportunities while day passes for visitors are available - making it a helpful resource for Cavan-based companies in need of an overspill option, such as Public Relay. When it announced Cavan as the location for its second Irish office, Public Relay explained that Cavan was selected as the location on the strong pool of educated talent available in the region, its location to Dublin and the innovative nature of the Digital Hub where the company is based. Speaking about Public Relay ’s experience with the Hub, Finn says: “We’ve been located in the Digital Hub from day one and have found them to be a great support. It’s not a case of Public Relay just renting an office, it’s been a real partnership with all the hub staff supporting us to succeed. Leanne Connell, the Hub’s manager, is a great source of local knowledge and has helped us across everything from recruitment to networking.” Speaking about the partnership between

Farnham Estate Spa & Golf Farnham Estate Spa & Golf is a playground for the senses – Set in 1,300 acres of ancient forests, green meadows and pristine lakelands, the resort offers wonderful accommodation, healthy and delicious cuisine in Botanica restaurant, an 18-hole Jeff Howes designed golf course and a superb Health Spa Insider Tip: Farnham Estate has 7 kms of the most beautifully natural walking trails in the land. Walks range from the more relaxed, shorter routes through to the more challenging, depending on the individual requirements. Along the treks, you can enjoy an incredible range of trees including ancient redwood, cedar, copper beech and Scots pine, as well as wonderful views of Farnham Lake. The walk routes vary from about 45 minutes to 2.5 hours.

“Cavan Digital Hub are happy to offer soft landing space to IDA clients, and offer support where possible. Working collaboratively the IDA, Cavan Digital Hub and Cavan County Council can continue to create jobs in the region.” Leanne Connell

Public Relay and the Digital Hub, Manager Leanne Connell says: Cavan Digital Hub opened its doors in June 2019. Since then, we have been steadily growing our community of tech entrepreneurs and digitally focused companies, and we continue to offer support to companies looking to scale and grow in Cavan. We began our journey with three companies employing 25 people and now house 11 companies with approximately 75 people in employment out of Cavan Digital Hub. Our community is a mix of scaling startups, HPSUs, SMEs and corporates. “In November 2019 IDA client

PublicRelay joined Cavan Digital Hub with just 2 employees in a small office space. Since then they have grown in numbers to over 20 and now occupy our large top floor suite. Cavan Digital Hub are happy to offer soft landing space to IDA clients, and offer support where possible. We provide a turn-key solution, along with a positive work culture which means companies such as PublicRelay can focus on their goals. Working collaboratively the IDA, Cavan Digital Hub and Cavan County Council can continue to create jobs in the region. Cavan Digital Hub will continue to IDAIREL AND.COM

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“Working with IDA Ireland, UCT chose Cavan not only for its strategic location but also for its rich talent pool and wide array of education, health and social amenities.”

support our Members and community, and build on the foundations that have been established in creating jobs in the region, retaining local talent.” Looking to the future, it remains bright for Cavan. Planning permission has been granted for a new Advanced Building Solution, which will consist of a two-storey serviced factory unit with administration and staff facility areas alongside a singlestore manufacturing/assembly/storage area in the Business & Technology Park in Killgarry. The park has direct access to the N3, the primary route to Dublin, enabling investors to take advantage of talent in the capital. Speaking about the plans, IDA Ireland said: “IDA Ireland now plans to develop this Advanced Building Solution over the lifetime of IDA’s Strategy Driving Recovery and Sustainable Growth 2021 – 2024, with the aim of creating opportunities for employment, the expansion of existing business and enhancing County Cavan’s offering for inward investment.” This latest expansion shows that when it comes to foreign investment Cavan is showing no signs of slowing down. Throughout 2021, the amount of Irish professionals directly employed in 38

multinational sector reached 275,384 – the highest level ever which saw more than half of investments won (133 of the 249) - going to regional locations such as Cavan and the entire North-East area. Indeed just earlier this year, US headquartered Ultra Clean Technology announced plans to establish an Advanced Technology Cleaning Centre (ATCC) in Cavan with the creation of 100 jobs, speaking about the its plans, UTC said: “ This investment represents a key milestone in UCT’s global expansion plans supporting surging demand in the

semiconductor industry and is supported through its partnership with IDA Ireland. “UCT’s global footprint is a benefit for its major customers. Its new Irish facility will primarily serve Intel in County Kildare but also will help UCT serve its other EU partners more efficiently. Working with IDA Ireland, UCT chose Cavan not only for its strategic location but also for its rich talent pool and wide array of education, health and social amenities. Construction in Cavan is underway at UCT ’s 57,000 sq. ft manufacturing facility located in the IDA

Cavan Burren Park Do you know what a Geopark is? Let us tell you! A geopark is an area recognised by UNESCO as having exceptional geological heritage and, believe it or not, refers to Cavan’s Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark, home to Cavan Burren Park. Cavan Burren Park brings together 5,000 years of history including megalithic structures, glacial erratics and limestone embedded fossils. It also allows visitors to learn the amusing folklore that gave the stunning scenery its local names, our favourite is the tale of two giant brothers Lugh and Lag who suffered a misfortune that lead to their death - which is said to have given Giant’s Leap chasm its name. Overall, a trip to the park provides visitors with a chance to enjoy the scenery, learn more about Ireland’s ancient heartlands and to peel back layers of history to reveal a breathtaking wealth of natural and manmade features, all fused together into an exceptional prehistoric landscape. Insider Tip: For younger visitors be sure to check the events timetable, as the monthly Undergrowth Safari and Build Your Own Bug Hotel mornings can’t be missed!

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Ireland Business & Technology Park and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2022. The project will create approximately 100 jobs once fully operational in a broad range of roles including engineering, facilities and customer service.” The centre will support the semiconductor industry which will provide ultra-high purity tool chamber parts cleaning and coating, as well as micro-contamination analytical services to chip makers and equipment providers. The skills required include engineering, manufacturing, facilities, onsite shipping and receiving, quality control, sales and customer service positions making Cavan and its access to 7,000 STEM graduates yearly, the perfect location for the expansion. “As a worldwide leader in ultra-clean parts cleaning and analytics, we are proud to partner with IDA Ireland to expand our global footprint and advance our leadingedge technology,” said Bill Bentinck, President UCT Services. “This state-ofthe-art facility will enable us to better serve and deliver value to our European customer base and capitalize on longer-term growth opportunities.” IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan added: “This is a most welcome investment

Clough Oughter Castle A fairytale castle located on a crannog - a man made island - in the middle of a lake is made to be explored. And thankfully there’s plenty of ways to experience Clough Oughter Castle, including kayaking and walking tours. Nearby Killykeen Forest Park provides an excellent base from which to explore, which itself is a mere 20 minutes from Cavan Town and its host of pubs, hotels and restaurants to sample, including the famous Oak Room Restaurant. Insider Tip: For waterbabies who want to explore the Castle, contact Cavan Adventure Centre for the best service and options.

for Ireland, for Cavan and the North East region. UCT’s manufacturing and analytical capabilities will add to the level of expertise within the semiconductor sector here and

positions the region to capture further such investment. IDA Ireland’s strong focus and commitment to winning investments for regional locations continues.

MacNean House & Restaurant There’s a reason Neven Maguire is a national treasure, and for those lucky enough to sample his menus and hospitality at MacNean House & Restaurant it becomes blatantly clear. Since Neven and his wife Amelda took over in 2001, the Michelin-listed MacNean House & Restaurant has been consistently winning awards for its food, service, wine offer and overall dining experience boasting waiting lists for tables. And it’s easy to see why. The menu changes constantly based on the produce available to Neven, with MacNeans showcasing the best in local food. Insider Tip: Opt for the The Prestige Tasting Menu, a true treat which can be enjoyed with wines chosen either by Neven or by the guests themselves.

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TA L E N T Advan ced M an ufa cturi ng

S H I F T I NG

talent POOL the

W I T H A D VA N C E D M A N U FA C T U R I N G A C C O U N T I N G F O R 3 6 . 7 % O F

G D P I N I R E L A N D, A N D E M P LO Y I N G 2 3 1 , 0 0 0 D I R E C T E M P LO Y E E S , T E C H N O LO G Y I S D R I V I N G M A N U FA C T U R I N G B R E A K T H R O U G H S

A C R O S S A L L M A N U FA C T U R I N G S E C TO R S . J E N N I F E R M c S H A N E S P E A K S TO D O M H N A L L C A R R O L L , S I T E D I R E C TO R AT T H E N AT I O N A L A D VA N C E D M A N U FA C T U R I N G C E N T R E A B O U T W H Y

I R E L A N D I S T H E B E S T P L A C E TO AT T R A C T T H E S T E M TA L E N T N E E D E D TO K E E P U P W I T H T H I S A D VA N C I N G I N D US T R Y. With technology advances in the advance manufacturing sector enabling companies to reduce inventories, create more efficient supply chains, customise products, and reduce R&D costs and time to market, naturally this requires a skilled workforce with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) skills. However, this talent pool is in demand in many other industries as well, and manufacturing may not be top-of-mind 40

for young people starting to build their careers. Ireland, however, is an excellent choice for those wanting to enter the sector. However, as Domhnall explains, advanced marketing is not really settled into a distinct sector. ”It sits across multiple sectors, such as pharma devices, food, and so on. And there are some of each of those companies that will consider themselves to be an advancement factory company. So, advanced manufacturing is

more or less an approach that companies take to decide to invest more heavily in things from technology onwards.” “Manufacturing is ultimately about designing and making real things for people: medicines, washing machines, cars and so on. It’s a great way to see the impact of your own expertise in the real world. In advanced manufacturing, you get to do this in a way that brings better products to the market, products with

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higher quality, reduced environmental footprint and that are available economically for more people.” He agrees that Ireland’s manufacturing sector has a lot to offer those wanting to enter to begin their careers. “I think there has been continued success in growing the manufacturing base in Ireland because of the very positive experience of companies that have set up here,” Domhnall says. “It’s not unusual for repeat investments and expansions to be made within a short time of the Irish base being established. This positive experience and fast growth is mainly driven by the talent pool for direct employees and also by a very innovative and responsive supply chain, both for the initial build and for the support of ongoing operations.” And, what, in particular, does advanced manufacturing have that will appeal to prospective STEM graduates in the technology field? “Manufacturing technology is in the process of transforming from being predominantly mechanical to being predominantly mechatronic, software and data based. This makes manufacturing the ideal environment for those with a STEM background to excel – as an individual contributor, as a team member and as someone that can shape the future of many industries such as life sciences, transportation and clean energy,” he explains. Of course, retaining this talent comes with its own challenges in a post-pandemic world, and the way around this, he says, is to make positions as attractive as possible for potential employees. “I think that talented employees like to be challenged with meaningful work, a role with a purpose and one that provides opportunities for advancement of the skills and knowledge that they have developed through their education and early career.” “Covid certainly got in the way because,

for a number of years, it changed everybody’s focus from the plans and trajectory they were on, which meant that we had to begin develop agile and resilient set-ups, just to get through Covid. There’s definitely been a slowing down, I would say in some of the innovation projects that companies would have planned to do, because they had to just react to Covid. On the other hand, what we’re seeing now is an acceleration in those projects, because people are starting to understand or realising that those projects implemented earlier tend to make the industry more agile, with redefining and an acceleration of the adoption of some of the newer manufacturing technologies.” There’s a lot of awareness of more opportunity now in life science in terms of what scientists can actually do for manufacturing, he agrees, saying that one positive of the pandemic has been that this was highlighted, particularly when it came to the manufacturing of vaccines. “When it comes to the development of vaccines and all of those things, I think that the particular atttention that Ireland’s biopharma industry got because of Covid, probably highlighted some of the really good scientific opportunities for people to work in that space.” “ There are some sectors within manufacturing that are really making great strides in those areas. And biopharma has always been a good example, because it’s quite a new industry, yet has always relied on things like data, control systems and a high degree of automation – and some of

the more traditional businesses haven’t seen that yet,” he continued. Naturally, some companies will be better at attracting and retaining those in the STEM industries than others, but even if some feel they have work to do in this regard, they can still take certain steps so that potential employees see the potential that can be developed within that company. “Assuming that salary and benefits are set at a fair level, I think it’s then important that a company can explain and demonstrate how prospective and current employees can continue to learn and develop over the course of a career with that company,” Domhnall adds. “In addition to this, its important for employees to feel that an employer will move with the times – for example being open to progressive work practices, addressing sustainability in a meaningful way, and so on.” Going forward, he says, there are things that can be done to improve the industry, but that it has shown resilience in the aftermath of the pandemic. “As an industry, the response to Covid showed an agility and resilience that had not surfaced before,” he added. “Companies have adapted well to the post-Covid world, maintaining that agility for current challenges. There’s still some way to go in terms of consistency of performance across every manufacturing sector and this is something that Ireland’s manufacturing base could accelerate towards – which would bring advantages relative to international baselines.”

“Manufacturing technology is in the process of transforming from being predominantly mechanical to being predominantly mechatronic, software and data based.”

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the

DIGITAL

bridge A NEW SUBSE A TELECOMS CABLE

CONNECTING IREL AND WITH ICEL AND WILL L A N D AT G A LWAY T H I S Y E A R . B A L LY LO U G H A N E STRAND WILL SERVE AS THE L ANDING SITE F O R T H I S H I G H C A PA C I T Y F I B R E O P T I C TELECOMS CABLE WHICH WILL SERVE AS A “ D I G I TA L B R I D G E ” B E T W E E N I R E L A N D A N D ICEL AND.

Tom McMahon, Director of Irish company McMahon Design & Management Limited

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“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…” So begins the famous poem by John Donne. The English poet, born in the 16th century, could not possibly have envisaged that less than 500 years later, with the magic of global connectivity, humankind has progressed to a place where one might now even say that ‘no island is an island’. Take for example Iceland and Ireland; with work progressing on a subsea cable to link them, the gap between the two island nations will soon be closed by a digital bridge. The IRIS Subsea Telecoms

Cable System will originate in Iceland and land at Ballyloughane in Galway, before taking a terrestrial route to link with Dublin. “There have been very few cables landing on the west coast of Ireland before because traditionally it has been very difficult to get the connectivity back towards Dublin where the bulk of the data centres and community are,” explains Tom McMahon, Director of Irish company McMahon Design & Management Limited, which worked on the subsea survey that was carried out in order to select a route linking Galway to Iceland, and is responsible for project managing the venture.

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“We’re looking at bringing transatlantic cables into the west coast, and we’re also promoting another route down to France, Spain and Portugal to get a direct connectivity from Ireland into Europe, without passing through the UK, which would be the first such cable. TOM McMAHON, DIRECTOR OF IRISH COMPANY McMAHON DESIGN & MANAGEMENT LIMITED

Nordic Network Farice, the Icelandic state-owned company behind the project, already owns and operates two other high capacity fibre optic telecoms cable systems connecting Iceland with northern Europe – FARICE-1 which lands in Scotland and DANICE which lands in Denmark – which IRIS will link into creating a high speed network reaching towards Denmark and the Nordics. Commenting on the project, which preparations began for in 2019, Thorvardur Sveinsson, CEO of Farice, called Ireland a “nexus” for transatlantic communications.

Thorvardur Sveinsson, CEO of Farice

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“Ireland has done very well in the past, and recently, in attracting subsea cables into the country and it’s very important that continues.” TOM McMAHON

He said, “The system will also provide a new low latency connection between Iceland and Dublin that will bring Iceland closer to one of the key network hubs in Europe.” The addition of the third cable will improve the diversity of connections to support Iceland’s international business and is expected to advance the use of green energy in Iceland for international digital processing needs. It also brings advantages to these shores, delivering additional high speed, high capacity connectivity for Galway businesses through the open access fibre network. Designed as a six-fibre pair trunk with a total system capacity of 108 Tbps with 44

each fibre pair delivering 18Tbs, IRIS will be approximately 1,700 km in length and connect from the southwest of Iceland to Ballyloughane Strand in Galway. Cable Laying Farice has already finalised the marine survey work on Ireland’s continental shelf, and manufacture of the cable and equipment was completed at the headquarters of SubCom in Newington, NH, USA. SubCom previously worked with Farice on the design, manufacture and installation of their existing cable systems. The main lay installation operations are scheduled to start from Iceland in May 2022. Subject to granting of the foreshore

licence, the cable will then be run out from Galway to the edge of the continental shelf, a process which is expected to take about 15 days, whereupon the two ends of cable will be spliced together, Sveinsson explains. The completed system is expected to be ready for service by the end of this year. The cable plough will bury the cable about a metre deep in the seabed, at a rate of up to 20km of cable each day, until reaching depths of up to 1,500m below sea level, at which point it is too deep to plough and the cable rests on the sea bed. What may surprise the average person on the street, with no prior knowledge of subsea cables, is just how little impact they make on their surrounds. In the great wide ocean, the IRIS cable, which Sveinsson says is about 3cm in diameter, will be a speck. “The environmental impacts of submarine fibre cables are close to nil,” he points out. Quality Communications Tom McMahon credits much of Ireland’s ability to attract international tech companies to these shores to the quality and quantity of our submarine communications network. “Because it’s under the sea, people don’t see it or understand how incredibly important it is. Ireland has done very well in the past, and recently, in attracting subsea cables into the country and it’s very important that continues. This cable is highly beneficial to Galway but also to the rest of the country.” Looking to the future, McMahon reveals that this is only the beginning. “We’re looking at bringing transatlantic cables into the west coast, and we’re also promoting another route down to France, Spain and Portugal to get a direct connectivity from Ireland into Europe, without passing through the UK, which would be the first such cable. That would be a very important selling point for Galway, and indeed the entire west coast of Ireland as well.”

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PROFILE Social Entrepreneur

Deirdre Mortell CEO, RETHINK IREL AND

JANE MAT THEWS speaks to Deirdre Mor tell, CEO of Rethink Ireland, about philanthropy in Ireland, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and plans for future growth.

rethink Tell us a bit about Rethink Ireland?

& REFOCUS

Rethink Ireland brings together philanthropy with Government funds to find and back the best social innovations in Ireland. Our mission is to provide cash grants and business support to charities and social enterprises working in Irish communities across the country. These are the organisations not just thinking differently, but who are putting their ideas into practice and building a more inclusive Ireland. We work with companies, families, individuals and foundations who understand new thinking in Ireland is needed. Funds raised by Rethink Ireland are matched by the Irish Government from the Dormant Accounts Fund. Since our first year of operations in 2016, we have created a €78.6 million social innovation fund. We’ve partnered with companies, trusts, foundations, families and individuals to create funds tackling issues such as inequality and educational disadvantage. We have supported 334 social innovations, which have reached 550,962 people. We’ve created over 667 jobs and helped over 1,500 people into employment. IDAIREL AND.COM

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AT A GL ANCE What type of organisations does Rethink Ireland work with? Rethink Ireland works with many multinational companies such as Google, Medtronic and Bank of America, supporting them to make their philanthropy as strong and impactful as it can be in Ireland. We also work with indigenous Irish companies and some of Ireland’s high net worth individuals and families. At Rethink Ireland we focus on five key issues: equality, health, with a particular focus on mental health, educational disadvantage, backing social enterprise to grow and playing a forceful role in the social economy, and the green transition. To give an example of working on one of these key issues with a multinational donor would be working with Bank of America on our Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund. In 2019, Bank of America supported us with an initial donation of $1 million over three years. Additional Government support amplified that fund. With that, we selected six really innovative projects that were focused on supporting women furthest from the labour force into decent sustainable employment. These projects, which are spread right across Ireland, work with very different groups including refugee women, women living in very marginalised communities and women living in rural Ireland. Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund Awardees

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Deirdre Mortell is CEO of Rethink Ireland, which she has built from the ground up, and CONNECT’s Social Entrepreneur in Residence. She is also a founding board member of Women for Election. She has over 20 years’ experience of changing the world one step at a time, sometimes by leading and sometimes by contributing in a team setting to deliver high growth or a step-change in impact in Ireland’s leading non-profit organisations.

However, in the middle of this three-year programme, Covid-19 broke out. Suddenly, women were losing their jobs in the most female-dominated industries and were forced to take on extra responsibilities such as homeschooling children and caring for older people, parents or others in their community. For some women, domestic violence was rocketing, meaning some women experienced a triple burden. Through our Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund, we were able to provide a set of data, the first of its kind in Ireland,

which reported on the impact that Covid-19 had on women’s employment. We were the only organisation in Ireland able to demonstrate this live data by working in partnership with the National Women’s Council. The data proved that we were looking at a “she -cession”, where women were experiencing unemployment and loss of work at a much higher rate than men. How does your Rethink Ireland mitigate the high risk of failure inherent in a lot of social innovation? Innovation and risk are two sides of the same coin. What makes us distinctive is that we plan to take risks, because, by its nature, we’re trying to back new solutions that haven’t been tried before, or that are at the early stages of testing and trying. Whenever we select a portfolio of organisations to back, we always select a risk-based portfolio in the same way as venture capitalists might do. Of course, we recognise that risk mitigation is really important, so with that, we carry out a full risk evaluation of each initiative before selecting them as a grantee and put a risk mitigation plan in place. How do you measure your impact? Social return on investment (SROI) is an internationally recognised and accredited framework for measuring and accounting the social value of project activities as perceived by key stakeholders. SROI is much more than a number, its purpose is to assess the social value of the outcomes created for participants by these activities, rather than just a monetary value for the activities as in cost–benefittype studies. We applied the SROI framework to our three-year €7.5 million Education Fund, carried out by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. The measurement tool demonstrates that

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funds through the Dormant Accounts Fund so we do not compete with exchequer funding for poverty or equality issues, for example. The Government of Ireland has played a crucial role in supporting Rethink Ireland to get to its current position of a €78.6m fund.

Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Rethink Ireland; Minister Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State for Community Development and Charities; Martin Collins, Co-director of Pavee Point; and Mariaam Bhatti, Co-founder of The Great Care Co-op, at the Equality Fund announcement and mural unveiling.

our Education Fund investment into seven awardees delivered a return on investment ratio of 1:12, meaning that for every one euro we invested in these education projects, a social return on investment of €12 was achieved. How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect the projects that you support? The Covid -19 pandemic had a profound impact on the projects that we support at Rethink Ireland across every social issue. People who experienced the greatest inequalities prior to the pandemic now also experience the greatest health inequalities. People living in congregated settings – for example, a traveller halting site, direct provision, or perhaps a residential centre for people with disabilities – are much more likely to get Covid-19. There’s a greater need than ever to back innovative solutions to these equality issues. Similarly, youth mental health – already a very serious issue before Covid-19 – has been massively amplified across all demographics. For older people, it’s been more in the case of isolation whereas for young people, it’s alienation. We also saw the magnification of educational disadvantage as a result of the pandemic. One of the initiatives we were able to

support , Tech2Students, tackles educational disadvantage and was formed by two of our grantees, Trinity Access Programmes and Kinia. They came together to make a massive appeal for second-hand devices, clean them, add educational software, and get them out to the network of DEIS schools that they already had existing relationships with. They were able to do this as fast as humanly possible. This is just a flavour of the kind of initiatives that emerged during the pandemic, from our grantees who had already been supported for their innovative capacities, and who put those to good use during Covid-19. How much importance do you place on Government support? Rethink Ireland was created by the Government of Ireland to stimulate philanthropy and back social innovation, hence our clear mission. We work closely with all Government departments that impact on social or environmental issues, both with the officials involved with the work on the ground, but also with their Ministers. In particular, we work very closely with the Department of Rural and Community Development, which reaches right across Government in terms of its impact, and its relationships. We secure

What are Rethink Ireland’s plans for the next three years? Over the next number of years, we want to make a really strong impact on a number of key issues. The first is youth mental health. We know that one in three under 13-year-olds, and one in two if you take it up to 24-yearolds experienced mental health challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. We know that there is a huge need for innovation in that space in order to meet all of those extra needs. This doesn’t require huge deep interventions; we’re talking about how we can support preventive solutions at a grassroots level. At present, we are calling on companies to get involved in our Headstart Fund, a three-year fund that will launch in 2023 that aims to become one of the largest philanthropic funds in Ireland dedicated to improving youth mental health. We have one leading donation of €1.5 million and we’re seeking other companies to come in behind that during 2022. We are also seeking to make a significant impact on the equality issues that have been amplified during Covid-19 too. Google.org has made a leading donation of $500,000 to support organisations that are innovatively supporting people living in rural areas to access employment or education opportunities, improve their job readiness and build their resilience as we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a particular focus on minority and underserved communities. Website: www.rethinkireland.ie IDAIREL AND.COM

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RELATIONSHIPS IDAIREL AND.COM

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C L E A R A N D C O N S I S T E N T B US I N E S S A N D P E R S O N A L C O R E VA LU E S H E L P A L I G N A L L S TA K E H O L D E R S , B OT H I N T E R N A L A N D E X T E R N A L . T H E S H A R E D V I S I O N A N D A L I G N E D VA LU E S S E R V E A S T H E B A S I S O F S T R O N G R E L AT I O N S H I P S W I T H I D A C L I E N T C O M PA N I E S A N D T H E C O M M U N I T I E S I N W H I C H T H E Y AR E LOC AT ED. WE PRO FI LE S OM E O F TH E C OM PA N I E S R EI N F ORC I N G TH EI R C OM M I T M EN T TO I R EL AN D.

MERCK, the leading science and technology company, is expanding its membrane and filtration manufacturing capabilities in Ireland. The company will invest approximately €440 million to increase membrane manufacturing capacity in Carrigtwohill and to build a new manufacturing facility at Blarney Business Park, both in Co Cork. The investment, which is the largest in a single site ever for the Life Science business, will create more than 370 permanent jobs by the end of 2027. “Ireland is central to our strategy to drive long-term growth and expand our global leadership position in Life Science,” said Matthias Heinzel, member of the Executive Board of Merck, and CEO, Life Science. “The investment in Cork is the biggest site investment in the history of our Life Science business and will accelerate the delivery of the critical products, technologies and services our customers need to fight the world’s toughest health challenges, including Covid-19.” At Blarney Business Park, Merck is going to build a new filtration manufacturing facility for almost €150 million. Once fully operational, it will increase Merck’s global manufacturing capacity and supply customers producing both traditional and novel treatments and therapeutics. With the more than €290 million expansion in Carrigtwohill, Merck is adding a manufacturing facility for the immersion casting of membranes. These membranes support novel and gene therapies, as well as applications like

virus sterilisation. The membranes also serve the Process Solutions business, which is one of the ‘Big 3’ growth drivers for Merck. Process Solutions markets products and services for the entire pharmaceutical manufacturing value chain. Merck aims to increase its Group sales to approximately €25 billion by 2025. To achieve this growth target, the company increased its total investments between 2021 and 2025 significantly compared with the period from 2016 to 2020. The announcement follows a €36 million investment at the same site in 2021 for a second lateral flow membrane manufacturing product line, a key component in rapid antigen tests, which are used for the detection of Covid-19.

Merck’s Life Science business sector is continuing to invest in products and technologies across its portfolio that are key to manufacturing novel therapies and vaccines, including single-use solutions, high-potency active pharmaceutical ingredients (HP-APIs) and novel modalities, such as antibodydrug conjugates (ADCs) and viral and gene therapies (VGTs). Over the next five years, Merck will implement investment programmes worldwide. All expansion projects include clear targets for energy efficiency, water consumption and waste treatment to support Merck in meeting its goal to be carbon-neutral by 2040, in line with its sustainability strategy.

Merck

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“Our highly talented team at the Letterkenny Centre has seamlessly integrated with our global delivery network, winning assignments from clients all over the world across multiple industry segments and driving our business expansion. We believe this Centre is a great touch point for Irish enterprises to engage with TCS for their growth and transformation journeys.”

Tata Consultancy Services TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES, one of the North West’s largest employers, recently discussed plans to further cement their Donegal Centre as a strategic hub to provide digital transformation, IT, and business services to clients in Ireland and across the world. TCS employs close to 1,400 people in Ireland across a range of high-skilled tech-related roles. Deepak Chaudhari, Country Head, TCS Ireland said: “We are delighted to be part of the community at Letterkenny and contribute to its economic development. Our highly talented team at the Letterkenny Centre has seamlessly integrated with our global delivery network, winning assignments from clients all over the world across multiple industry segments and driving our business expansion. We believe this Centre is a great touch point for Irish enterprises to engage with TCS for their growth and transformation journeys.” 50

Earlier this year, TCS teamed up with the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Donegal, Letterkenny to run TCS HackQuest Ireland 2022, an ethical hacking challenge event for students. The Tánaiste heard that this educational partnership to engage with young talent has led to up to 20 graduates in the TCS cybersecurity recruitment selection process, with the first ten starting work in June. With TCS continuing to grow strongly, further career opportunities are expected to open at the Letterkenny Centre, particularly in digital technologies, providing a much-needed boost to local employment and to the local economy. Following his tour, Minister Varadkar spoke to the TCS team and thanked them for their important contribution to both the national and local economy and to the community at large. Speaking on his visit to the TCS facility at Letterkenny, An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and

Employment Leo Varadkar TD said: “It was a real pleasure to visit Tata Consultancy Services and meet with the team who have made a phenomenal contribution to Donegal, growing to be one of the North West’s largest employers. The success of the company is a testament to the incredible talent of the team here and their ability to remain agile and innovative in what is a really competitive global industry. It was great to meet so many of those that have made such success possible and I wish the team all the very best for the future.” Strong business growth has led to an ongoing recruitment drive to find the right talent to fill open positions. According to Andrea McBride, Head of the TCS Letterkenny Global Delivery Centre, “The establishment and growth of TCS’s business in Letterkenny opens huge opportunities for local talent to pursue exciting career opportunities in one of the world’s fastest growing IT businesses and help some of the world’s

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GROWTH Expansion

largest corporations solve their business problems. We are working closely with local education and training partners to prepare tomorrow’s workforce to take advantage of these opportunities.” Denis Curran, Head of Regions, Property and Enterprise Development at IDA Ireland said: “Tata Consultancy Services is a leading employer in the North West region. The company is creating high value employment opportunities across a variety of technology disciplines including digital transformation, cyber security and cloud services. Tata’s future growth plans are a strong vote of confidence in the region’s ability to attract top technology talent. I wish the team here continued success and look forward to the ongoing partnership with IDA Ireland.” TCS established its direct presence in Letterkenny in November 2020, following its acquisition of Pramerica Systems.

WAYSTONE, the leading provider of institutional governance, risk, administration and compliance services to the asset management industry, announced that it is to substantially increase its Irelandbased workforce by creating up to 100 additional new roles in Cashel. The roles will span global operations and support functions. Welcoming Waystone’s announcement, Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD, said: “I am delighted that Waystone plans to create up to 100 new roles at its Cashel site over the next 18 months. The successful growth that Waystone has experienced in recent years is reflective of the wealth of highly-skilled and talented people that the Mid-West region and Ireland more broadly has to offer. I wish the team every continued success in this new chapter.” Nick Wheeler, Global Head of Centralisation at Waystone, comments, “Ireland has a strong and globally-recognised international funds and financial services industry with a wealth of highly-skilled professionals and we are delighted to

be able to continue our expansion in Tipperary with the announcement of up to 100 new roles covering a wide array of financial services disciplines. Waystone’s Cashel-based operation is central to the Group’s international growth strategy and the quality of people we have employed has made our commitment and growth in Tipperary a very easy decision. Our Cashel operation reopened last month following a 4,500 square foot expansion and refurbishment, providing us with significant room for future growth. The facility now provides our growing workforce, with a high-grade, flexible workspace and feedback from staff has been extremely positive.” Waystone also announced that its Dublin headquarters would be moving to a new flagship location in Dublin 4 later this year, where it will occupy four floors and 52,000 square feet of space in the prestigious 35 Shelbourne Road development. Waystone now has a presence in three locations in Irelan: its headquarters in Dublin, a Centre of Excellence in Cashel and more recently, Maynooth, following its agreement to come together with Centaur Fund Services.

Waystone

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Ericsson ERICSSON announced plans to hire 250 people at its Irish Research and Development Centre in Athlone to support the company’s ongoing development of innovative cloud-native products that orchestrate, automate and power its global 5G portfolio. The highly-skilled roles, which include opportunities for software developers, data scientists, architects, cloud and mobile communication engineers at all career stages, will be added over the next three years. This project is supported by the Irish Government through IDA Ireland. One of Ireland’s largest employers within software development, Ericsson has had a Research and Development (R&D) presence in Athlone since 1979.

The Athlone facility, which is the global R&D headquarters of Ericsson Digital Services OSS (Operations Support Systems), currently employs 1,200 people developing its OSS and Cloud RAN (Radio Access Network) portfolio. Ericsson employs an additional 200 at its Dublin base. Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD said: “This is really great news. Ericsson is expanding further, adding 250 new jobs to the 1,400 the company already employs here. These new jobs are in new areas in cloud-native technologies, providing some really exciting opportunities for the Midlands. It truly is a vote of confidence in Athlone and Ireland as a whole that such an

internationally renowned company has chosen to make this investment. Thank you to Ericsson for their continuing commitment to our country and the Irish-based team who I know were crucial in the decision to bring this investment to Ireland.” Denis Dullea, Head of Research and Development at Ericsson Athlone said: “This announcement underscores our global reputation as a world-class R&D software development centre. Our team here already play a critical role in the development of Ericsson products, services and solutions that enable Ericsson to deliver limitless connectivity that makes the unimaginable possible. “We are hiring an additional 250 software developers, engineers and architects with cloud-native skills to enhance our capability to deliver the benefits of cloud-native technologies to our global customer base via our RAN, Management, Automation and Orchestration offerings.” Mr Dullea added: “The investment is also good news for Athlone and the wider Midlands region. With strong ongoing partnerships with the IDA, the Irish Government and the recently established Technological University of the Shannon (TUS), we are excited to continue attracting and nurturing the best and brightest Irish and international talent to the heart of Ireland.”

TRACK RECORD I R E L A N D H A S A P R O V E N T R AC K R E C O R D A S A SU C C E S S F U L LO C AT I O N F O R W O R L D - L E A D I N G E S TA B L I S H E D A N D H I G H G R O W T H M U LT I N AT I O N A L C O M PA N I E S F R O M A R O U N D T H E W O R L D. O N E -T H I R D O F M U LT I N AT I O N A L S I N I R E L A N D H AV E H A D O P E R AT I O N S I N T H E C O U N T R Y F O R O V E R 2 0 Y E A R S , I L LUS T R AT I N G T H E LO N G E V I T Y, R E S I L I E N C E A N D C O M M I T M E N T O F T H E S E C O M PA N I E S TO I R E L A N D. I R E L A N D I S H O M E TO A M A J O R I T Y O F K E Y G LO B A L C O M PA N I E S I N H I G H G R O W T H SE C TO R S

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U S T E C H N O LO G Y

G LO B A L F I N A N C I A L

G LO B A L I N D U S T R I A L

PHARMACEUTICAL

M E D I C A L T E C H N O LO G Y

C O M PA N I E S .

SERVICES

A U TO M AT I O N

C O M PA N I E S

C O M PA N I E S

C O M PA N I E S

C O M PA N I E S

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BAXTER HEALTHCARE, a MedTech leader, celebrates 50 years of manufacturing in Ireland. The company’s Castlebar site, established in 1972 with just nine employees, today celebrates its more than 1,200 employees and 50-year legacy. A special event with An Taoiseach, IDA Ireland senior executives and global Baxter leadership recently commemorated the anniversary and the impact Baxter has had on its employees, the local economy and the healthcare sector in Ireland. “We are very proud of all that we have achieved over the last 50 years in Ireland, with an extremely engaged workforce dedicated to providing products that help save and sustain patient lives across the globe,” said James Morrison, Baxter’s Castlebar Plant Manager. “We have continuously evolved our operations in Castlebar through the introduction of new products and technologies, which has kept us to the fore of Baxter’s global manufacturing operations for five

decades. Over this time, our team’s resiliency and commitment has never wavered; most recently throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our team continued its daily mission of producing life-saving therapies for our chronic and acute patients.” Baxter’s Castlebar manufacturing site has steadily grown to become one of the largest production facilities for Baxter in Europe, producing more than 150 million products annually. It’s responsible for producing a range of medical solutions for renal dialysis therapy and drug administration purposes, which are exported to global markets including Europe, the U.S. and Japan. Since its opening 50 years ago, more than €350 million has been invested in the state-of-the-art facility and its neighbouring site in Swinford. Together, the manufacturing operations are a cornerstone of the employment sector in County Mayo, with more than 1,300 people currently employed across both plants. “For half a century, Baxter

Healthcare has made a substantial impact on the local economy and provided significant employment in Swinford and Castlebar, Mayo and the West Region,” said Mary Buckley, Executive Director of IDA Ireland. “Growing from just nine staff in 1972 to more than 1,200 today, Baxter Healthcare’s Castlebar production facility is among the company’s largest in Europe. IDA Ireland wishes to congratulate Baxter Healthcare on reaching this noteworthy milestone and wish to assure James, his team in Castlebar and the wider Baxter Healthcare operations of IDA Ireland’s continued partnership.” Baxter employs nearly 2,000 people and has five sites across Ireland. The company’s longstanding commitment to Ireland is brought to life through its dedicated employees, who are passionate about meeting patient needs in hospitals, clinics and at home.

Baxter

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H E R I TAG E Epic Irish Women

AV I AT I O N

Lilian Bland Born in Kent in 1878, Lilian Bland moved with her family to her father’s native Carnmoney in Co Antrim in 1900. It was there that she grew an interest in photography and in 1908 she established a career as a sports journalist and press photographer for London newspapers. She frequently photographed birds and seagulls in flight, developing a fascination with flying. After receiving a postcard of Louis Blériot’s monoplane from an uncle in France, her aspirations in aviation were further fuelled and she began researching the field extensively before setting to work designing and building her own plane – she was one of the first women in the world to do so and flew Ireland’s first powered biplane.

SURGERY

IN N O VAT I N G THROUGHOUT HISTORY

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I R E L A N D M AY B E T H E L A N D O F SAINTS AND SCHOL ARS, BUT DID YO U K N O W I T ’ S A L S O S E R V E D A S H O M E TO A G R O W I N G L I S T O F WOMEN WHO’ VE MADE THEIR M A R K O N A G LO B A L S C A L E ? M E G WA L K E R H I G H L I G H T S J US T A FEW INSPIRING IRISH WOMEN O F T H E PA S T T W O C E N T U R I E S S O YO U C A N S H A R E T H E I R S T O R I E S W I T H T H E N E X T G E N E R AT I O N .

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H E R I TAG E Epic Irish Women

ASTRONOMY

Agnes Mary Clerke Born in Skibbereen, Co Cork in 1842, Agnes Clerke was a science writer and astronomer who despite her lack of formal education, had an enquiring mind, a passion for astronomy, and a talent for writing in detail about complex topics. Her father, with the help of his telescope, taught her about astronomy, while her universityeducated brother tutored her in mathematics. Agnes moved with her sister to Italy to study for ten years before settling in London, where she wrote for the Edinburgh Review and contributed scientific biographies for the Encyclopaedia Britannica and Dictionary of National Biography. Agnes went on to study astrophysics, publishing A Popular History of Astronomy During the Nineteenth Century in 1885 – one of seven books on astronomy she would publish in her career. In 1903, Agnes became the fifth woman member of the Royal Astronomical Society. She even has a moon crater named after her.

Dr James Barry A pioneering surgeon who lived as a man in order to have a career in medicine, Cork-born Dr James Barry performed the first successful Caesarean section in the British Empire where both the mother and baby survived. Born Margaret Bulkley in 1789, she decided not to allow the confines of her gender determine her future and disguised herself as a man, deceiving the brightest minds of her time and obtaining a degree in medicine at the age of 22. C R Y S TA L LO G R A P H Y Kathleen Lonsdale Born in 1903 in Newbridge, Co Kildare, Dame Kathleen Lonsdale (née Yardley) was a pacifist, prison reformer and X-ray crystallographer. In 1929, she proved that the benzene ring is flat – a subject scientists had been debating for 60 years – by using X-ray diffraction methods to elucidate the structure of hexamethylbenzene. During her career, Lonsdale achieved many firsts, including being one of the first two women elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1945, the first woman tenured professor at University College London, first woman president of the International Union of Crystallography, and the first woman president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Ahead of her time in many ways, Kathleen worked extensively to encourage young women to consider a career in science, speaking in schools and writing articles on the changes society needed to make to enable women to live both professional and domestic lives successfully. IDAIREL AND.COM

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H E R I TAG E Epic Irish Women

MEDICINE

COMPUTER PROGRAMMING Kay McNulty Born in a small Gaeltacht region of Donegal in 1921, Kathleen “Kay” McNulty Mauchly Antonelli emigrated to America in 1923 with her family, settling in Pennsylvania. There, she excelled in school, particularly in maths, and won a scholarship to Chestnut Hill College, where she made the most of her education and took every maths class she could. She graduated in 1942 as one of only three maths graduates in her class, at a time when America was in the throes of WWII and the government was on the hunt for mathematicians. Kay signed up to be a ‘computer’, stood out in her role and was invited to be part of a secret team of six female computers tasked with programming the new ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), one of the first general-purpose electronic digital computers, making her one of the world’s first ever computer programmers. She went on to marry one of the ENIAC’s co-inventors, John Mauchly, in 1948, stepping down from her position, but continued to help programme the new computers her husband was developing. In 1997, she was inducted into the Women in Technology Hall of Fame and today she is recognised as one of the mothers of modern-day computer programming. 56

Dorothy Stopford Price Ever hear of the BCG vaccine? (You’ve most likely had it yourself, and if you had children prior to 2015, they would have too.) You have Dorothy Stopford Price to thank for that. As a physician, she was key to the elimination of childhood tuberculosis in Ireland after she began using the vaccine (developed by French researchers Leon Calmette and Camille Guerin) on infants in Dublin’s St Ultan’s Hospital in 1937, thus leading to its eventual rollout after the Irish government adopted the vaccine in the late 1940s.

B O TA N Y

Phyllis Clinch Born in 1901, Phyllis Clinch was a botanist most known for her work in the field of plant viruses. Graduating from University College Dublin in 1923 with a first-class honours in botany and chemistry, Phyllis went on to gain her master’s and then PhD in plant physiology. She later made significant contributions to the understanding of plant viruses, especially those that attack the potato crop. Her work proved hugely important to agriculture at a significant time in Ireland’s economic development and she was the first woman to be awarded a Boyle Medal for Scientific Excellence by the RDS in 1961 (the next woman to win this accolade was US-based physicist Margaret Murnane, 50 years later in 2011).

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This is a land where opportunities flourish. A safe and stable environment where sustainable progress is at the heart of everything we do. It’s in our pro-business philosophy. Our highly skilled, English-speaking workforce. Our commitment to the EU. And in our can-do attitude. This is where collaboration grows, fostering lasting and productive business partnerships in world-leading technology, life sciences and financial services hubs. This is Ireland. A natural place to put down roots. See how we can help your business grow. Visit idaireland.com or email idaireland@ida.ie

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This is a land of doers and dreamers. Where visions become reality as ‘what if?’ becomes ‘why not?’. A hub for trail-blazing tech, game-changing financial services, and life-changing medtech and pharma. It’s a natural home for innovative companies who flourish here with the help of our highly educated, young and agile workforce and the hands-on support of IDA Ireland. This is Ireland. A strong and stable European base and an ideal launchpad for the future. See how we can help your business grow. Visit idaireland.com or email idaireland@ida.ie

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