Regional Development Centre & Research Office
Ionad Forbartha RĂŠigiĂşnach & Oifig Taighde
Issue Eleven winter 2012
Water is Life Kings of New Frontiers ACE still in Top Gear Inspiring the Inner Entrepreneur Where Research & Innovation Meets Enterprise
Réamhrá / Foreword Ag druidim dúinn ar dheireadh bliana eile, is tráthúil athbhreathnú a dhéanamh ar ár raison d’être agus ar an méid atá bainte amach againn le 12 mí anuas. Ó d’oscail an RDC i 1989 tá béim a chur againn ar an gá atá le nuálaíocht, aistriú teicneolaíochta agus fiontraíocht sa réigiún agus na deiseanna a bhaineann leo.
As we approach the end of another year it is natural to take stock of our raison d’être and our achievements over the past 12 months. Since the RDC opened for business in 1989 we have worked to highlight the need for innovation, technology transfer and enterprise in the region and the opportunities they present.
D’fhás gníomhaíocht taighde na hInstitiúide go leibhéal níos airde ná riamh agus tá éileamh ard fós ar ár gcláir nuathionscanta, goir agus nuálaíochta.
2012 has seen research activity in the Institute grow to an alltime high while our startup, incubation and innovation support programmes continues to be in high demand.
Ach níl tionchar na gníomhaíochtaí seo teoranta ag an réigiún oirthuaisceartach. San eagrán seo léifear faoi “Water is Life” (lch10), tionscadal go bhfuil mar aidhm aige glún nua scoláirí Afracach a fhorbairt agus dul chun tairbhe saol na milliún ar an ilcríoch sin. Tá an tionscadal dírithe ar uisce, mar is léir ón teideal, agus eascraíonn sé ón gá le inmharthanacht fadaimseartha seirbhísí uisce don daonra áitiúil. Tá gníomhaireachtaí idirnáisiúnta páirteach sa tionscadal atá á stiúrú ag DkIT, rud a léiríonn ról lárnach na hInstitiúide in ardán a chur ar fáil don sórt tionscadal óna leanann torthaí praiticiúla a chabhraíonn le saol daoine a fheabhsú.
The impact, however, of these activities is not just limited to the north east region, in this edition you will read about “water is life” (pg 10) a project that hopes to develop the next generation of African academics and benefit the lives of millions on that continent. The project is, as its title suggests, water focused and is driven by the need for long term sustainability of water services for the local population. The project involves international agencies and is DkIT-led highlighting the institute’s integral role in providing a platform for the sort of projects that have not only real world results but will help make people’s lives better.
Is sampla maith é tionscadal Astride (lch15) de dhaoine bheith i gceartlár tionscadail á chur i bhfeidhm. Tá sé mar aidhm ag Astride cabhrú le daoine agus grúpaí ar fud na hEorpa trí iad a thabhairt le chéile chun tionscadail a fhorbairt um a ngeilleagair áitiúla a spreagadh.
The Astride project (pg 15) is a good representation of people being at the core of how a project is rolled out. Astride aims to help people and groups throughout Europe by getting them to come together to develop projects to boost their local economies.
San eagrán seo cuirtear síos freisin ar roinnt taighdeoirí nua DkIT agus ar a réimsí saineolais agus spéise. Buailfear freisin le roinnt den iliomad fiontraithe atá ag dul i bheidhm ar a saol féin, ar an réigiún, agus i gcásanna fócas easportála, ar ár náisiún. Tá roinnt díobh ag an gcéim nuathionscanta, roinnt eile ag céim an ghoir, roinnt eile fós níos bunaithe agus dírithe ar a gcumas iomaíochta a fheabhsú trí comhoibriú leis an RDC.
In this edition we also profile some of DkIT’s new researchers and their areas of expertise and interest. You will also meet some of the many entrepreneurs that are making a difference in their lives, their region and, for some with export focus, a difference to our nation. Some are at start-up stage, others in incubation, while some are much more established and are focusing on improving their competitiveness through working with the RDC.
Mar fhocal scoir, ba mhaith linn Nollaig shona, shíochánta agus ath-bhliain faoi shéan agus faoi mhaise a ghuí oraibh go léir. Tá súil againn go mbainfidh tú taitneamh as eagrán seo The Link. Má tá tuairimí nó moltaí agat maidir le hábhar, nó más mian leat bheith ar an liosta póstála, cuir rphost led thoil chuig firstname.lastname@example.org Irene McCausland, Bainisteoir Seirbhísí Seachtracha,IFR Dr Tim McCormac, Ceannasaí Taighde, ITDD
Finally, we’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very merry, peaceful Christmas and a happy, prosperous new year. We hope you enjoy this edition of The Link. If you have any comment or suggestions regarding content, or would like to be included on the mailing list, please e-mail email@example.com Irene McCausland, External Service Manager, RDC Dr Tim McCormac, Head of Research, DkIT
Cover Photo Paschal Maguire - Director of Entrepreneurship at Enterprise Ireland NE/NW leads the way on launch day of the New Frontiers programme.
The Regional Development Centre (RDC) is a centre to promote innovation, technology transfer and enterprise in the wider region and is based on the DkIT Campus.
Great care has been taken to ensure that this information is accurate, but the Regional Development Centre, including its subsidiaries does not accept responsibility or liability for errors or information which is found to be misleading. Regional Development Centre Dublin Road Dundalk Co Louth T +353 42 9370400 F +353 42 9370499 W www.rdc.ie E firstname.lastname@example.org
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Written & edited by Eamon McGrane T + 353 86 8343053
The Regional Development Centre (RDC) has announced two new appointments:
Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship still in top gear ACE initiative aims to create the ‘entrepreneurial graduate’. The Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship (ACE) Initiative was originally a joint collaboration of Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB), Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), Institute of Technology Sligo (ITS) and National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and led by Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) and funded through the HEA’s Strategic Innovation Fund Cycle two. The ACE partnership has now extended to include Dublin City University, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) and Dublin Institute of Technology. The initiative seeks to explore how the higher education institutions in Ireland can develop and deliver a framework for embedding enterprise and entrepreneurship education across all disciplines to fulfil the aim of “Creating the Entrepreneurial Graduate”. Under the expansion of the ACE consortium, the network seeks to address the aims and objectives of the recently published National Strategy for Irish Higher Education in 2030 in terms of its collaborative approach, wider engagement with industry and development of the student experience to encompass wider generic skills as well as disciplinespecific skills. The work of the expanded network will encompass broadening the participation to other HEIs and strategic partners in
the local community, wider society, the public service and commercial enterprises to ensure the long-term sustainability to the core defining achievements of the ACE Initiative. Over the coming months we hope to: • Develop an accredited National Enterprise Educators programme. • Generate awareness of and disseminate enterprise/ entrepreneurship education programmes developed/delivered by ACE through national/ international online repositories. • To promote rewards and recognition for entrepreneurship/ enterprise educators, champions, students and graduates through an engaged stakeholder approach. For further information Irene McCausland e email@example.com t +353 42 9370413
Aidan Browne has been appointed to the position of incubation support programme manager. Browne previously worked in the RDC as research and project manager on the EU INTERREG funded Success through Succession Project. Browne’s career includes extensive industrial and commercial experience; previous roles have included working for both indigenous and multinational firms in a diverse range of engineering sectors, and has recently extended to roles in technology transfer and managing enterprise support programmes. Coupled with an extensive array of training courses undertaken he also holds postgraduate qualifications with the Open University in both project management and manufacturing: management and technology, while also holding a Master of Business Studies from Dundalk Institute of Technology. Neil McLoughlin joins the team as the new technology transfer manager. McLoughlin has an MBA from University of Ulster and a BSc Eng from Trinity college. He has held engineering positions from process engineering, quality engineering and applications engineering in electronic component manufacturing environment. He has held management positions in new product development and research and development in component manufacturing and in product manufacturing for the hospitality markets. McLoughlin has been involved in partnership development programmes with the University of Limerick, Penn State University, ERA (UK) and various other institutions. He is an inventor on eight patents and has been a team leader in technology roadmap planning for previous companies. The RDC wishes both of them every success in their new roles.
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New appointments at the Regional Development CentreIt
programme launch June 2012.
Lining out for Phase 2, New Frontiers Participants at the
Kings of the New Frontiers
Fergus Wheatley Smart Power
Aubrey Dunne Jaliko
Highlights • Product developed • First customers on board • Seeking investment
Highlights • Product developed • Product launch Q4 2012
SmartPower has developed a web service to supply wholesale electricity tariff information to a compatible controller configured to switch automatically based on the half hourly electricity price. Savings of €35,000 per megawatt are available by using the SmartPower web-service to switch off load during the most expensive 30 minutes every day. Combined heat & power (CHP) operators can achieve additional annual profits of €40,000 (one megawatt generator) by using the SmartPower service to match run times with market conditions.
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Jaliko is a DCU spin-out company specialising in solutions for digital image enhancement. Its first product (LensTool) improves digital image quality and fidelity post capture by removing negative optical effects called aberrations, which are introduced by imperfections that exist in every camera lens. By modelling the physical processes that cause these aberrations it is then possible to reverse their effects through software enhanced optics. LensTool enables photographers to precisely remove lens-induced distortion and colour aberration from their images at the touch of a button.
Rowan Windvogel Global Institute of Physical Literacy www.giopl.com Highlights • Feasibility funding secured • First products developed • First customers secured The Global Institute of Physical Literacy is an education service provider to sports educators and sports medicine practitioners specialising in blended learning. Currently deploying our cloud based exercise prescription software solution for physiotherapists and doctors, we have assembled a multidisciplinary team including sports psychologists and Olympic coaches to design, implement and deliver our innovative sports education portfolio.
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The New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development programme launched in March this year and is an Enterprise Ireland scheme to support and develop early stage and startup enterprises. Eight short, yet intensive, months later participants on the programme have raised angel funding, secured their first customers or have won export contracts. For these “Kings of the new frontiers” the journey has been an exciting yet challenging one. Delivered over 12 months in three phases the new frontiers programme provides a comprehensive suite of supports and a structure to enable entrepreneurs: • Determine the business case for their new venture (Phase one) • Develop comprehensive plans to start and grow the business (Phase two) • Execute on these plans by securing their first customers, raise investment or enter international markets (Phase three). Since March DkIT, in collaboration with DCU, has completed two Phase one programmes. These were delivered part time during evenings over a six week period and 28 entrepreneurs took part. During this phase the focus was on building the business case for their idea. Twenty six of the 28 participants completed this phase and applied for Phase two which provides a comprehensive suite of training, mentoring and scholarship supports over a six month period. Delivered in collaboration with DCU 13 participants were offered places on this phase operating in various sectors: medical devices, gaming, e-commerce, energy and sports. Participation on this phase was subject to regular progress reviews and came to a conclusion at the end of November. Phase three of the programme will be delivered in collaboration with Cork Institute of Technology, Dublin City University and DkIT and begins in earnest in January 2013. DkIT and DCU will be running additional New Frontiers Phase one programmes in the new year and those seeking further information or to apply should contact Garrett Duffy, Enterprise Development manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sean Fitzpatrick Working Title Games
Piers Dillon Scott The Sociable
Highlights • First customers secured • First products developed and deployed successfully
Highlights • Product development complete • First customers acquired
Working Title Games provides a complete design and development solution for cutting edge social media and mobile games, using their own custom built HTML5/ WebGl and mobile games engine. As well as creating its own unique games, it also offers services to brands and strong IPs, wishing to create dynamic games to enhance their social media presence, strengthen brand awareness and to generate additional income. Founded by Sean Fitzpatrick an industry veteran who previously worked with Rockstar on their Grand Theft Auto series. Working Title Games has already won international business building games for a UK toy retailer and are close to closing a deal in the Far East.
Sociable Publishing Ltd is a multiple award winning, multi platform content production service that helps advertisers and marketers invest their advertising budgets more efficiently across the booming mobile, tablet, desktop, and app ecosystems. Unlike the domestic and international competition the company is building a platform designed on the economies of scale inherent in the modern fragmented digital content market. Beginning life as a means for two college friends to gain exposure in the technology and media sector The Sociable has grown into one of the most prominent technology sites operating from Ireland. This was recognised in November 2012 when it won the Best Technology Award at the Irish Web Awards.
Mark Hurley iMobilize Highlights • Raised first round investment during Phase two • Product development in progress launching Q1 2013 iMobilise is a digital marketing company providing enterprise level, permission based, text marketing solutions.
Danu Wind celebrates its third birthday Danu Wind at the forefront of Ireland’s green energy market. Danu Wind Energy Solutions was founded in January 2010 by Lisa Connolly to help address Ireland’s growing wind energy market. The company supports its clients by producing site analysis services, technical feasibility studies, planning application support and funding application support. In order to remain independent and impartial Danu Wind Energy does not sell or install any turbines. The core competency of the business is providing feasibility studies; this involves a location visit and an initial assessment of the wind energy potential of a site. At this preliminary stage the company tries to identify any potential issues with grid connection and planning. If no problems are evident then a full feasibility study can be offered. At this stage site specific wind data is captured and analysed in order to predict energy yield thus allowing the economics of the project to be examined in detail. Some sites may require further analysis to assess viability or to support planning applications including: background noise monitoring, wind monitoring, shadow flicker analysis or photomontages -Danu Wind Energy also provides these services.
To date there are approximately seven 250kW turbines up and running in Northern Ireland all of which Danu Wind was involved with. Many more have been granted planning permission and are now coming through the grid connection process so it’s an exciting time for the business.
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Danu Wind has been in the Regional Development Centre at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) since May 2011, Connolly maintains that the Vestas V52 wind turbine located on DkIT’s campus is a shining example of how well autoproduction can work and is why Danu Wind strongly advocates autoproduction as a way for Ireland to become more sustainable and meet renewable energy targets set out by the government. Some of the companies Danu Wind has worked with to date include: Elverys Sports, Norbrook Laboratories, NUI Maynooth, ACC Bank, C&M Cold Storage, Wind Energy Partnership, RPM Renewable, Ecoevolution and ReGen.
Lisa Connolly graduated from DIT in 2004 with an honours degree in physics and physics technology; she also holds a technician’s diploma in applied physics. Lisa worked in ABB Dundalk as a sensor physicist in the R&D department, there she designed, improved and tested prototype sensors. She holds a Masters in Renewable Energy Systems and currently lectures science part-time in DkIT. For more information see www.danuwind.ie or contact Lisa Connolly email@example.com
Naoise Gordon looks at patent filing. In 2011, 561 new patent applications were filed in Ireland. In 2010, it was 792 and in 2009 it was 961. In Denmark 1,574 new patent applications were filed in 2011.
Darren Louet, seated, and Ronan Woods of Louet
Cash will come for winning products Darren Louet of R&D company Louet Woods explains how good products will always find their market. Louet Woods Products is an R&D company based at the Regional Development Centre in DkIT. Our business is to develop and supply new innovative products and, by establishing relationships with global distributors, to bring these products to market. To date we have established partnerships with distributors in the pet goods, DIY, garden and pharmacy markets. These partnerships allow us to get early feedback on the potential pricing and market size for new products. There are three main factors that will make or break a product: R&D, market research and cash flow. If the technical R&D is possible and the market research shows the product is commercially viable, then the cash will follow. We recently unveiled a DIY product we developed to a USA distributor. The distributor liked what he saw and asked for a few minor R&D changes to suit the US market. This distributor has just placed the first order for 100,000 units and estimates sales of up to one million units a year. You just can’t get better market research and validation than that. Another product we developed that we sell in the US is the grooming kennel. We launched this product on a shoe string budget at the global pet expo in Orlando last February. Again we met distributors who loved the product. But their main concern was shipping such a large
product around a big country such as the USA. We had to change the product so that it could be flat packed and easily shipped with UPS. The redesign took our R&D team a few months and a couple of prototypes before we had a product commercially and logistically suitable for the US market. We’ve since secured orders for a few container loads from a US drop shipper that supplies over 1,000 different ecommerce websites, including Petco and Amazon. Petco alone gets over three million hits a day on its website. This approach will enable us create enough traction in the US pet market to make this product a success. We develop and manufacture products, we don’t distribute them. Most distributors don’t have the ability to develop new innovative products but they do know what their customers want. We believe it takes strong R&D and distribution partners to help products succeed. New product development is a minefield of speculation, everybody believes that their product is the next best thing, and their passion can be infectious but the reality is often the contrary. Only one in 20 products will make it. Product development can be a risk, but with the right market research it can be a calculated one and all that remains is to let the cash roll in.
On the face of it, this is bad news. The OECD uses these figures as indicators of the level of innovation in an economy. So, is innovation on the decline in Ireland? Given our ever-increasing emphasis on research and the supports available from Enterprise Ireland, Enterprise Boards and hubs such as the RDC in DKIT, it seems unlikely. The answer is simple. People are not protecting their innovations. Patents are a form of intellectual property that protect inventions, products or processes that operate in an improved or original way. An invention does not have to involve a major scientific breakthrough to be patentable – a tiny change to a known product or process can be patentable and a patent application should be filed if that change has commercial benefits. Siemens filed 2,235 European patent applications in 2011. Philips filed 1,759. It would be wrong to assume all the inventions in these patent applications, if any, involved eureka moments. At the monthly free walk-in IP clinics held in the RDC, I am constantly amazed at the level of innovation taking place in the region. However, inventors are frequently too modest about their inventions. Always take a commercial approach. As a patent attorney working for a large multinational, I spent years talking to researchers harvesting commercially valuable inventions that they may have considered obvious. If in doubt, file a patent application before in any way disclosing the invention. An initial Irish patent application will protect the invention worldwide for a period of twelve months. But ruthlessly drop commercially irrelevant patent applications at the twelve month stage before they become ruinously expensive. Indeed, patent attorney bonuses were based on how many patent applications they dropped – not how many they filed. That was a chicken and egg strategy. But it cracked IP. Naoise Gordon is a chartered and European patent attorney based in County Monaghan. Monthly walk-in IP clinics are held on the third Friday of every month at the RDC Dundalk. www.npgordonandassociates.com
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Time To Crack IP
Innovation workshops for final group of ICE companies Companies learn the importance of creativity and planned progression towards commercialisation during ICE workshops. The Innovation for Competitive Enterprises (ICE) programme has recruited its final cohort of 33 companies and is working with these companies to enhance their innovation capability through the intensive twelve month “learning by doing” programme. The companies were brought together for a first Group Innovation Workshop in Cookstown, Northern Ireland during September 2012. The theme of this first workshop was “Ideas in Business”. This looked at how to introduce creativity into the business, capturing ideas from employees and customers and how to assess and evaluate new ideas before preparing the roadmap. A second Group Innovation Workshop was held in Monaghan during November 2012 which focused on idea progression through the next stages up to commercialisation. This session demonstrated the key aspects of progressing selected ideas through a process of development, project management, on-going evaluation and how to go about concept testing thus ensuring a suitable state of technical readiness is achieved before commercialisation.
The workshops were delivered by Team BDS who is also working on-premises with the participant companies, through the Innovation Learning programme. Kieran Fegan ICE programme manager commented, “These workshops are designed to address knowledge deficits within the broad group companies and have been very well received. It is important to put processes in place to identify, capture or generate and effectively assess ideas so that those with potential can be implemented effectively. It is equally important to ensure that a tried and tested process is followed to ensure that all key considerations are made prior to market launch.”
ICE which has received approximately €2.49 million of support under the EU’s INTERREG IVA programme, with assistance from Scottish Enterprise, is spearheaded by Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT). Representing a collaborative approach DkIT is implementing the project alongside the University of Ulster, the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian University. ICE is designed to enhance the innovation capacity of local businesses through an intensive twelve month “learning by doing” programme. The three year project has enabled or is enabling 90 company participants to develop new products, processes, business models services and technology transfers. For further information on ICE contact the Regional Development Centre at DkIT on t +353 42 9370425 or contact Kieran Fegan directly on +353 87 4174681 firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more details on www.iceprogramme.com
Team BDS director Malachy Mooney engaging with a group of ICE company owner managers
Both workshops were practical and interactive and there was an opportunity for the learnings to be put into practice through group exercises where owner managers were presented with real business issues to work through thus putting the theory into practice. Previous ICE participant companies, such as Co Louth based Suretank Ltd, were included as guest speakers at the events, depicting real stories and journeys undertaken in real life, highlighting successes, constraining factors and lessons learned.
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Ciaran Quinn, operations manager, Sillis, pictured with ICE programme manager Kieran Fegan.
Sillis Green Veg embraces ICE Vegetable processor sees growth in sales and increased product innovation after ICE programme completion.
While the company had impressive turnover during 2010, there were a number of challenges within the business that were inhibiting further growth. These challenges were identified as: • Lack of a formal process for identifying new ideas and introducing new products • Lack of productivity measures • An inadequate planning/scheduling system for production • A need to improve customer return and quality issues • Limited sales and marketing focus Another significant issue was that the company was generating a huge amount of excess vegetable product and paying to have it removed. ICE, through its Innovation Learning Programme delivered by Team BDS, put a number of new processes in place which
facilitated the following: • Production management, planning, scheduling and reporting • Quality improvements tracking and review system for all customers • Complaints and returns process installed • Increased employee participation and staff communication • The appointment of a new operations manager A brainstorming session was held within the Regional Development Centre that focused on new products, new market opportunities and how to achieve sales growth. Areas identified for new sales were craft butchers and vertical markets such as local government, educational establishments, prisons and hospitals. An IntertradeIreland Fusion graduate was employed in partnership with Loughry College in Northern Ireland to develop some of the new product concepts. This has resulted in a number of new products including a fresh, nutrient-rich, healthy, gluten free soup product that is utilising what was vegetable excess. Other product concepts are being developed which will be launched in 2013.
Kieran Fegan, ICE programme manager said,
I’m delighted that since completing ICE the company has made significant strides forward with turnover and profitability having increased significantly. The company is now innovation driven which is a marked shift away from where it was purely competing on price
Sillis Green Veg Ltd participated on the INTERREG IDA funded Innovation for Competitive Enterprises (ICE) programme in its first year of supporting companies. Sillis is a family run business based near Glaslough in Co Monaghan that supplies prepared vegetable packs for the hotel and catering industry, general public and retail industry throughout the island of Ireland.
Sillis director Orla O’Neill said, “Sillis has embraced the principles and ideas laid down throughout ICE which have had significant impact. We will continue to focus on new ideas for products and on service development. We are also building on the production cost improvement processes installed during the programme.”
Ugandan and Irish ministers address DkIT-led ‘Water is Life’ project in Dublin
Dr Edel Healy, chair of steering committee, DkIT; Arleen Folan, project manager, DkIT, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, Minister for Water & Environment, Uganda; Denis Cummins, president, DkIT; Prof Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza, deputy vice-chancellor, Makerere University; Dr Suzanne Linnane, project lead, DkIT; Joe Costello, Minister of State with responsibility for Trade & Development, Ireland and Prof Eli Katunguka-Rwakishaya, director, graduate studies, Makerere University, Uganda.
Water Is Life project aims to help millions of Ugandans with sustainable water services.
The Water is Life: Amazzi Bulamu project held its second international workshop on 8 November 2012 in the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. Launching the conference, Joe Costello Minister of State with responsibility for Trade and Development described how this project is “working with local communities in Uganda to solve local problems”. He also stressed the pivotal role of civil society organisations in a project such as this and how all partners and stakeholders can learn from one another and how sharing the lessons learned will make a tangible difference to vulnerable people in Uganda.
The Ugandan Minister for Water and the Environment Professor Ephraim Kamuntu who also addressed the workshop, declared that he was “inspired by the project and its findings” and reminded those present that the Ministry of Water and Environment in Uganda is looking forward to the “implementation of the research findings and prospects for sustainable water provision to millions of Ugandans especially women and children who have become ‘fetchers of water and collectors of firewood’. ” This large-scale project, Water Is Life:
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Amazzi Bulamu is being led by Dundalk Institute of Technology and comprises a multi-disciplinary partnership of Irish higher education institutions including: NUI Maynooth (NUIM), Dublin City University (DCU), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), University College Dublin (UCD) and Queen’s University Belfast (QUB); Makerere University in the Ugandan capital Kampala; and various non-governmental organisations
including the Medical Missionaries of Mary, the Ugandan Water and Sanitation Network (UWASNET) and WaterAid. Water Is Life: Amazzi Bulamu is funded (€1.5m) by Irish Aid / HEA under its programme of strategic co-operation which aims to promote innovative research across a range of subject areas in support of Irish Aid’s mission and to develop the capacity of the highereducation sector in Ireland and Uganda
Prof Richard Carter (formerly WaterAid) delivered the keynote address at the conference.
DkIT researcher Dr Fergal McCaffery, has completed the medical device section of a major €4.6 million EU software research programme along with fellow researchers as part of Lero, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre. Under the direction of McCaffery, eight researchers were involved in the project which used a heart rate monitor as an example of how international certification can be developed for all types of medical devices. for developmental research. At the core of Water is Life: Amazzi Bulamu’s philosophy is the belief that to be truly effective, replicable and fully capable of informing policy and benefiting the lives of millions of Ugandans, all findings must be based on sound and robust scientific principles and must be both community and policy driven – i.e. a top-down and a bottom-up approach, a sentiment echoed by Professor Richard Carter who delivered the keynote address. Eight African PhD researchers are supported through the programme and are all in the final stages of their doctoral research. Each research project has a “water-centred” focus spread across a range of disciplines such as hydrology, engineering, geography and sociology. Each project is driven by the requirement for long term sustainability and is tailored to address the needs of the local population in Uganda. This workshop was therefore a good opportunity to disseminate to policy makers, academics, NGOs and communities the research findings which are beginning to emerge from the project.
Dr Suzanne Linnane, project lead and director of the Centre for Freshwater and Environmental Studies at DkIT said that “Water Is Life: Amazzi Bulamu is in the process of developing the next generation of African Academics”. In addition, she stressed that “pivotal to this trans- disciplinary project is the mutual learning which has enriched the process”. Finally, Denis Cummins, president of DkIT who opened the workshop, commented on the warm “interaction between all stakeholders here this morning” which he believed clearly demonstrated the strength of the collaborations and strong partnerships which exists between all stakeholders within this project, ranging from Irish higher education institutes, Makerere University and the various NGOs and is a central component of the success of this project.
“The suite of tools we’ve developed can be used by organisations that are developing embedded safety-critical software for the four domains of surveillance, automotive, aerospace and medical devices” said McCaffery. “Under new EU and US regulations, medical devices are no longer treated solely as hardware. Now the software involved must comply with a new standard known as IEC 62304. This has huge implications for the industry and our research came up with a toolkit that enables medical device companies to develop products in accordance with the latest international standards.” It is expected that these tools will speed up and reduce the cost of software certification which was the focus of the EU funded programme, thereby enhancing European competitiveness. Lero’s director, professor Mike Hinchey recognised as significant the fact that Ireland was chosen to carry out the medical device aspect of the programme and is a reflection of the country’s growing expertise in this area. Expertise that will enhance Ireland’s attractiveness as a location for the medical device sector.
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McCaffery completes research programme
Irish researcher’s cancer success New assistant lecturer at DkIT, Sinead Loughran, continues the fight against cancer with research on Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Sinéad Loughran’s research career began at Castleblayney College, when she embarked on a year-long study of ‘The Pipistrelle Bat’ for the Young Scientists competition in 1995. “I was always interested in Science and this taste of research at a young age sparked a desire for discovery that has developed into a research career” she said.
The project was awarded first in its category, a best display award as well as the Institute of Biology award. Loughran was then awarded the summer research scholarship for talented youth at Dublin City University (one of only nine such annual awards in Ireland) at the age of 16.
Following her leaving cert Loughran chose a degree in biotechnology at DCU, graduating in 2002. During her degree programme she was accepted at L’Ecole des Mines, one of France’s most prestigious research institutes, to carry out research in the area of bioremediation. After her primary degree, Loughran
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chose to pursue a PhD in cancer biology at the School of Biotechnology, DCU for which she was awarded the DCU vicepresident for research scholarship. As the 2004 recipient of the Orla Benson Award for postgraduate travel, she journeyed to the leading UK Hodgkin’s Lymphoma laboratory at the Cancer Research UK Institute, University of Birmingham to carry out novel research on tumour tissue from Hodgkin’s disease patients. “This was an important element of my research as I was able to confirm my findings in the clinical settings,” she explained. During this time she was also selected to participate in the GE Healthcare third European contest for young scientists which was held in Paris in October, 2005 based on her development of new strategies for the purification of recombinant proteins. Following the award of her PhD in 2007, she continued her research in her chosen domain of cancer and virus biology at the National Centre for Sensor Research and the School of Biotechnology DCU. “Viruses are fascinating and understanding how some viruses cause cancer is central to my research”, she said. Loughran’s period of postdoctoral research at the National Centre for Sensor Research involved the examination of the role and mechanisms of cellular changes that lead to enhanced cell survival during Epstein-Barr virus infection and in related cancers.
Loughran joined the Viral Immunology Group at DCU in 2009 and continued to work in the area of molecular biology while expanding her experience and knowledge in immunology under the direction of Dr Patricia Johnson. “I believe immunology will be central in both understanding cancer biology and treating the disease using novel therapeutics in the future” she said. It was during this time that she worked on the influenza virus to reveal the immune mechanisms that can lead to susceptibility to pneumococcal infection during flu. During this period Loughran was also employed as a part-time lecturer in DCU, While at DCU, Loughran had a major breakthrough which featured on the front cover of the International Journal of Cancer in 2011, and shed light into the biology of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (HL). Along with Dr Dermot Walls, Loughran confirmed that a protein called Bfl1 plays a major role in malignant (cancer) cells in HL and that it could be a promising new target for low dose chemotherapy that minimises harmful side effects. HL is a cancer of the lymphatic system and has its origin as a type of white blood cell that starts to grow abnormally. Known as H/RS cells, these malignant cells actually only represent a small fraction of the tumour mass itself, but are critical to tumour development. These
According to Loughran when she worked on tissue cultures in the lab, she found that malignant cells which had no Bfl1 were much more sensitive to chemotherapy drugs. “When we produced cells in which we raised the levels of Bfl1, we found the opposite effect, and that they became increasingly resistant to the chemotherapy drugs and didn’t die off. This identified the protein as potentially a very useful target for new chemotherapy treatments. Although HL has fortunately become a highly curable disease in recent years, long-term toxic effects due to such treatments in oftenyoung patients is a major concern and can frequently be fatal.” In February 2012 Loughran attained a full-time academic position at DkIT as assistant lecturer in analytical science and maintains strong links to research at DCU. “With the support of the DkIT research office, I have been able to keep up the collaborative links with DCU through the summer undergraduate research programme and hope to further strengthen and build on these links into the future,” she explained. Loughran has authored several research articles in leading international journals and in 2011 published her first book on protein chromatography for the prestigious Methods in Molecular Biology series along with co-editor Dr Dermot Walls. Most recently, Loughran was nominated for the Irish Cancer Society Researcher of the Year award in 2012 based on her research in the area Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Taking care of the older generation
Dr Julie Doyle’s work in the area of care for senior citizens continues to impress. Dr Julie Doyle is a research fellow at CASALA in Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT). CASALA focuses on technology and ageing through research and development, industry linkage and commercialisation in the emerging Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) and related connected health sectors. Dr Doyle received a BSc (Hons) degree in computer science from UCD in 2002 and a PhD from UCD in 2006. She subsequently held research positions at the University of Ottawa, Canada, the TRIL (technology research for independent living) Centre and the CLARITY Centre for Sensor Web Technologies.
are of benefit to both younger and older generations.
Doyle’s current research is in the field of human computer interaction with a specific focus on the design of healthcare and independent living technologies for older adults. The applications of this work include ambient assisted living, emotional wellbeing, falls, cognition, telehealth and specifically the design of applications in these areas to promote positive well being through feedback and interventions to support behavior change.
A further project focuses on falls prevention in the older population. This study involves observing how a volunteer group of older people identified as being at mild to moderate risk of falling move and behave over a five day period in the Great Northern Haven smart apartments - a highly sensed environment within which researchers can gather additional behavioral and technological data, which will assist in the care and management of older adults at risk of falls.
Within CASALA Dr Doyle leads a number of projects. The Schools Application Development Project (SANDPiT) is a novel intergenerational undertaking whereby 40 transition year students from Louth-based schools and a number of older adult volunteers are working together to design and develop technology applications for tablet devices that
A second project is CARAWellness – an iPad application that supports older adults in monitoring their emotional well being, as well as other parameters of well being they consider important to their overall health. This application also provides informative and useful feedback to support the older person in managing their wellbeing, as well as clinically-based interventions if it is determined that some action or behaviour change is required on the part of the older person.
Data will be captured by a combination of ambient and on-body sensing. On body sensing strategies will be mainly used to gather data during a range of standard motor assessment tests whereas ambient sensing approaches will be used to gather data relating to patterns of activity and movement throughout the apartment, sleep quality, and utility usage.
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malignant cells fail to die as normal, and consequently play key a key role in tumour development.
SMEContracts.ie launch with RDC clients
Dundalk Institute of Technology becomes member of RIAN DkIT first regional institue of technology to join RIAN and provide research materials online. Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) has announced it has become a member of RIAN, Ireland’s national portal for research published in Ireland, and is the first regional institute of technology to do so. DkIT joins the Irish universities and Dublin Institute of Technology in the facilitation of open access to their institutional repositories via rian.ie. An institutional repository (IR) is a digital collection of scholarly research material such as journal articles, conference proceedings, and technical reports. It is based on the tenet of open access, which is the provision of research materials online, for free and, permanently, to all. This is of great significance to the global research community as it frees up ideas and information that might otherwise be restricted by publishing models and costly subscriptions, a point highlighted by DkIT’s deputy librarian, Lorna O’Connor: “Open access maximises the ease with which research outputs can be discovered and used. This results in increased impact, making the research more effective and productive.”
DkIT’s IR went live in early 2011 and can be accessed online by visiting eprints.dkit.ie.
DkIT Library was instrumental in the creation of this IR and worked closely with the institute’s research office and computer services. The IR currently provides access to over
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150 items and is being added to regularly. A range of subject areas are covered reflecting the varied research activities within DkIT, with significant contributions from the sciences. The creation of an IR benefits both authors and institutions. Rapid and wide dissemination of research is facilitated at home and worldwide. This can lead to increased citation, which in turn raises an author’s profile. This is succinctly summed up by Concepta Woods, DkIT’s bibliographic services librarian: “The IR is a major advance on research and scholarship in DkIT and makes the work of staff and researchers accessible to the world”. Showcasing publications in an IR boosts an institution’s research reputation and can increase the potential for collaboration between local, national and international researchers. An IR also provides an institutional online space for individuals and research groups to store their work and ensure it is digitally preserved. DkIT affiliated authors may selfarchive their publications in DkIT’s IR or, if preferred, send documents to email@example.com to arrange for the library to deposit research material on their behalf. The library may also be contacted with general queries on 042 9370310 or library@ dkit.ie.
DkIT’s Regional Development Centre is giving new entrepreneurs the chance to test run a revolutionary new online contract management service from fellow Louth entrepreneurs, SMEContracts.ie SMEContracts.ie, based in DkIT’s satellite incubator in Millmount, Drogheda, launched their new service for creating offers and signing contracts, which aims to make the contract management process simpler, faster and more secure than ever before, giving the RDC’s New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme first access to the new technology. New Frontiers participants were selected to test run the website which uses a cloud-based server. Account users simply log in and create their promotional offer by choosing a template. Once created they can select contract expiry dates and other terms and conditions, monitor the contract life cycle and sign the document using their keypad. Legal documents like non-disclosure agreements can also be created and SMEContracts.ie’s legal team will also be on hand to provide assistance. Frank McGuinness, co-founder and managing director of SMEContracts.ie, says this new technology brings contract management up to date with new online capabilities: “It takes the hassle out of contract management, streamlines the whole process and makes long contract signing cycles a thing of the past.” For further details: www.smecontracts.ie
Project sees local individuals and groups coming together to develop projects to boost their local economies. The international financial crisis is having an effect, not only on organisations and institutions in north west Europe (NWE), but also on its citizens. The crisis has manifested itself in local development issues such as youth unemployment, regional disparities, increasing populations, economic slowdown and low social integration. In order to overcome these barriers, people need to become stakeholders in the local economy and participate in local development. The ASTRIDE project (All Stakeholders Together, Towns, Territories and Research to Involve, Innovate and Develop Enterprises and the local Economy), funded under the NWE INTERREG IVB programme, is based on the idea of
community revival and consists of a network of transnational stakeholders.
by the economic crisis and ensure that local areas can thrive in the future.
The main aim of the project is innovation for local territories based on co-operation between all stakeholders at a local and transnational level. In identified zones in NWE (rural/urban/peri-urban), it will set up business innovation focus groups (BIFGs) where innovative strategies can be tried and tested. An e-platform for international exchange will allow BIFG members to learn from the ideas and strategies in other regions.
BIFGs will involve local authorities, universities and development agencies to transform these ideas into concrete projects. Through these practical projects, networking and the sharing of good practices, the international partnership will develop, test and adapt a collective, sustainable model for community regeneration which can be implemented in any territory in Europe. This will lead to territorial development and strengthen the economic competitiveness of north western Europe. The overall impact of ASTRIDE will be to resolve territorial challenges and ensure that all territories can thrive in the future.
Using structured brainstorming, the BIFGs will produce new, innovative economic and social projects which will allow local people to become stakeholders in the local economy, overcome barriers caused
Inspiring the inner entrepreneur DkIT Student Enterprise programme aims to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. Across the higher education landscape in Ireland Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) has lead the way in terms of its investment in student enterprise activities and our unique approach to helping build a culture of entrepreneurship across the institute. Growing organically since its inception in 2007 the Student Enterprise Internship programme currently covers all facets at the Institute with two crosscampus student enterprise interns and three embedded, one in the School of Engineering, one in the School of Informatics and Creative Arts and one in the School of Health & Science. The mission of the Student Enterprise programme at DkIT is to promote, develop and sustain an enterprise environment throughout the campus and also to introduce students to enterprise and self-employment options in a low risk environment. This is achieved by inspiring and encouraging students to be entrepreneurial by helping them develop an entrepreneurial mindset and skills. And providing business development coaching, resources, and networks. With a first prize of Beats headphones by
Dr Dre there was great interest and huge participation in DkIT Student Enterprise’s first cross-campus competition of the year that was entitled “The APPrentice”. This provided an opportunity to team cross disciplined students together in this brand new competition format. First students had to come up with an idea for a new app, then they were paired with a creative multimedia student to design a poster representing the idea and finally a poster exhibition took place showcasing the effort, teamwork and ideas of all the finalists.The winning team was David Connolly and Paul Kirwan with their ‘Livestock Valuer’ app idea. Global Entrepreneurship Week held on 12-18 November was celebrated at DkIT with student enterprise organising and facilitating a variety of events throughout the institute. These included guest speaking events from high profile and successful entrepreneurs such as Ramona Nicholas of Cara Pharmacies (who starred in RTE’s Secret Millionaire this year). Nicholas spoke to students in the School of Health and Science. Other speakers included David Cawley of Allegro Acoustics, specialists in the field of noise, acoustics and vibration
“APPrentice” competition winners Paul Kirwan and David Connolly
and Niall Harbison of Simply Zesty the hugely successful social media and online marketing agency sold for over €2 million in 2009. The guest speaking events culminated with the ever popular Anton Savage entrepreneur, broadcaster and author. The Today FM radio host and former frontman of TV3’s ‘The Apprentice – You’re Fired’ shared his story of running The Communications Clinic a public relations, personal development and media coaching business. With a full timetable of events planned for the New Year and with the continued support of so many inspirational speakers and entrepreneurs, DkIT’s Student Enterprise Programme will continue to inspire “the inner entrepreneur” in 2013.
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ASTRIDE project aims to help Europe at local level
Encouraging Enveloping Enabling Starting out and need a base for your Technology, Knowledge based business or R&D activities? Advancing the business creation process and entrepreneurial successes the Regional Development Centre located on the campus of Dundalk Institute of Technology and our satellite incubator in Millmount, Drogheda provide an enabling ecosystem of knowledge, support and networks. Discuss how we can address the most challenging aspects of building a successful new technology company in strict confidence:
Aidan Browne Incubation Centre Programme Manager
e firstname.lastname@example.org t +353 42 9370455
m +353 87 9908309 w www.rdc.ie
The management and staff of the Regional Development Centre would like to wish all our clients, colleagues and partners
Merry Christmas and a
New Year element design
t 042 9327943