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Where Research & Innovation Meets Enterprise

CASALA:

exploring the future of ageing Statsports joins premier league Boost for border business Hattrick of options for student enterprise

Regional Development Centre & Research Office

the link issue Six Summer 2010


Contents

Foreword

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

The importance of linking research and enterprise cannot be overstated. The Government’s latest Innovation Taskforce report, published in March, places a strong emphasis on enterprises and entrepreneurs and states firmly that State support for research will be contingent on there being CASALA: exploring the future of ageing positive economic outcomes the link for the country. In other words, whatever supports the State gives to research will eventually have to be repaid through exports, employment and tax receipts generated by the businesses that have stemmed from the supports. Where Research & Innovation Meets Enterprise

Student enterprise

boost

Game is on for

Statsports

Helping border

Regional Development Centre & Research Office

business

Statsports joins premier league Boost for border business Hattrick of options for student enterprise

Acclaim

for ACE

issue Six Summer 2010

As this issue of The Link shows, not only is the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well at DkIT but many of the companies based here are actively looking to boost the quality of their offerings by tapping into relevant research. A good example is Statsports, the sports performance measurement startup, which is hoping to create an alliance with two research units in order to further enhance the quality of its products (see page 4).

CASALA

launch

Innovation Vouchers:

40 not out

Recent months have also seen the establishment of a major new applied research centre at DkIT whose objective, again, is to bring a strong entrepreneurial input to research. This, of course, is the Centre for Affective Solutions for Ambient Living Research (CASALA) and you can read more about it on page 7.

Biochemist

makes mark Researching

water

The strength of the RDC is that it brings together exciting young enterprises with DkIT’s growing research base. It is a place where creative entrepreneurs can tap into the technical knowledge of the various research programmes under way here in order to create innovative new products and services. Equally, it is a place where researchers who may lack commercial experience can find a wealth of financial and nonfinancial supports to help them commercialise their ideas.

Netwell has

finger on pulse

Extra funding for

electrochemists

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.

As we anticipate a well-earned break over the summer, we can look back with satisfaction on the work that’s been done since the beginning year while looking forward with enthusiasm to the remainder of the year and the great opportunities that will surely present themselves for innovation and enterprise.

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We hope you enjoy this edition of The Link. If you have any comments about the content, have suggestions for stories, or would like to be put on the mailing list please email anne. tinnelly@dkit.ie.

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Irene McCausland, External Services Manager, RDC Tim McCormac, Head of Research, DkIT Regional Development Centre Dublin Road Dundalk Co Louth

T | +353 42 9331161

W | www.rdc.ie

F | +353 42 9331163 E | info@rdc.ie

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. Written & edited by Brian Skelly, The Write Business, + 353 86 857-5829

Telephone numbers are changing Our contact numbers at the RDC are changing as we move to a new telephony system. Note that numbers from mid-July will be: t 042 9370400 f 042 9370499


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Enterprise

Student interest in the fund is growing rapidly and to consolidate this, the Regional Development Centre developed an enterprise development programme specifically for students to run over four weeks during the holiday period. ‘Bright Ideas’, as the programme is known, will focus on determining commercial feasibility for each of the student projects and will cater for final-year students and recent graduates who are interested in setting up a new venture following graduation. Demand for places on the programme from students at earlier stages of their courses has been high and may necessitate running another programme later in the year. The programme is being fully funded by Dundalk Credit Union.

Strike three Dundalk Credit Union is also sponsoring a co-working venue in the RDC Incubation Centre, entitled the “Ideas Lab”, to allow students grow and develop their business together and share each other’s experiences.

 DkIT Student Entrepreneurs with Billy Doyle, Tom Darcy and Pat Muckian, Dundalk Credit Union, Cathal Kearney Head of School of Business Studies and Humanities, and Garrett Duffy, DkIT

The promotion of an enterprise culture amongst DkIT students has been at the forefront of DkIT policy since 2007. Since then three Student Enterprise Interns were recruited to promote enterprise to DkIT students using a peer-to-peer approach. However, promotion and offering encouragement is one thing, providing practical assistance in the form of funding is quite another so, together with Dundalk Credit Union, DkIT has devised a three-strike programme to get enterprise moving on campus!

Strike one In 2009, Dundalk Credit Union established a Student Innovation Fund of €15,000 for DkIT students which has been used to provide seed capital to real student-led enterprises. Amounts awarded have varied between €400 and €1,000 and 12 projects have been supported so far. The fund has allowed students to determine technical or market feasibility and for some students, who are already trading, to assist with marketing costs.

Asked why Dundalk Credit Union has become so involved in the promotion and support of enterprise to DkIT students, Billy Doyle, General Manager, responded, “Dundalk Credit Union and DkIT are two of the great success stories in Dundalk and share a common commitment to the strength of the self-help ethos in making a real difference to the people, the community and the local economy of Dundalk at this challenging time. The Board of Dundalk Credit Union is delighted to provide this enhanced level of financial support to the student enterprise initiative at DkIT.” The invaluable support of Dundalk Credit Union combined with the ongoing enterprise development efforts of the RDC team makes DkIT the campus of choice for students wishing to get their first business up and running.

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Strike two

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Dundalk Credit Union scores a hattrick for Student Enterprise


Enterprise

Big-name contract wins promote Statsports to premier league Like many successful businesses, RDC-based Statsports came into being after a gap was spotted in the market for a new service. “The initial concept was that we would provide Irish teams and associations with sports science back-up and facilities that professional teams in the UK would have. We saw a gap where people didn’t have the facilities or equipment they would have in the UK,” says Sean O’Connor, who founded the company in mid-2009 with his business partner Alan Clarke. Statsports' flagship product is a GPS analysis system called SpiPro made by leading Australian fitness product firm GP Sports. Statsports has exclusive distribution rights for the product in the UK and Ireland. Worn on the player’s back via a discreet harness, SpiPro is a mini-computer that logs a player’s physical performance during training. Every possible statistic is logged and measured, from the amount of ground covered by the player to their speed or heart-rate. The machine can also flag when a player is getting tired (via the length of his running stride) which is a key metric given the fact that players are most likely to get injured when they are fatigued.

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After extensive trials last year with more than a dozen county teams, Statsports has got the approval from the GAA for players to wear the device during competitive fixtures. So far, a number of teams have agreed to wear it including the Galway footballers and Tipperary hurlers.

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The founders made it a priority to get some experienced sportspeople into the company in the early stages in order that they could act as a sounding board for new technologies and target potential users. Joe Kernan, the former Armagh GAA football boss and now Galway supremo, was one of those approached. Kernan liked what he saw and he has since become an advocate for the product and director of the company. But it was the sport of rugby, not

GAA, that provided the first client for Statsports. “Leinster Rugby was wearing our system when they won the Heineken Cup last year and when they won the Cup it boosted our profile as well. On the back of that, we clinched a three-year deal with Irish rugby. We’ve also signed a deal with the Rugby Football Union which means the English team is now using our system as well,” says O’Connor. The system has crossed over to Premiership football as well, with both Arsenal and Manchester Utd signing up recently to use the system. O’Connor emphasises that it not just the hardware that these teams are getting from Statsports but the full management and analysis of data. “Manchester Utd bought some units in the past but there was nobody appointed to manage them – to get feedback and analyse the results, whereas we make sure players wear the device and analyse the data live as the session is happening. Then, once it’s finished, we get the units back and upload all the information onto the computer to generate reports for the coaches,” says O’Connor. “What our clients say is that the technology is great but what they really value is our reliable feedback and experience using the system.” The company has had visits at the RDC from both the Manchester United and Arsenal fitness and conditioning coaches. Statsports will start providing the service when pre-season training begins in early July. The company is currently recruiting new staff to support the expansion of business and hopes to have four new interns in place by the end of June – sports science graduates who are looking for somewhere to deploy their knowledge and expertise. While the company may be expanding O’Connor says there are no plans to

 Sean O'Connor, Statsports, and Peter Stringer, Munster and Ireland rugby professional

move from the RDC. “We have been here since August last year. It’s been great for us because it’s given us the headquarters we need. It’s also enabled us to network with people who are in similar positions and may be facing similar problems as a start-up company.” Statsports is hoping to cement further its ties with Dundalk IT by establishing a partnership with the Exercise Physiology lab within the Nursing building, whereby Statsports will offer its services to athletes and teams. It is also establishing a link with Ronán McRuairí within the software engineering unit, with a view to having some purpose-designed software written for its performance measurement systems. This is to be funded by an innovation voucher for R&D which the company has received from Enterprise Ireland. O’Connor puts Statsports' success to date down to “hard work” and getting strong references from clients. “Everyone at elite level in sport knows what’s going on in different sports and if you have a good relationship established with one team or sports association the word tends to get around. We have established a relationship as a very reliable, trustworthy and efficient company and it’s gone from there.”


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Enterprise

 Programme Manager Dr Cecilia Hegarty

Whilst succession issues may not be at the forefront of daily operations in family businesses, it is thought it is the single biggest threat to sustainability of family businesses in Ireland. SMEs make-up approximately 94% of all business. Within this, family owned firms account for a minimum of 69% of all SMEs, yet only 30% survive to the second generation and only 10% survive into the third generation. While families are traditionally highly effective at developing internationally competitive businesses they tend to be less adept in knowledge capture and transferring knowledge between generations in order to pass the baton onto the next generation. The 'Success through Succession' (STS) Programme is a unique programme offered to family businesses in the border region of Ireland. The project, part-funded by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme, will specifically focus on managing the challenges of succession therefore improving the growth, sustainability and competitiveness of these SMEs using a series of interventions. Free to participating companies, the programme adopts a unique business psychology approach aimed at leading

This programme is therefore more than a management development programme. Throughout the duration of the 12-month programme, the programme team will work with the various family members to work out their own individual needs and how this impacts upon the family business and the family unit in order to gain an understanding of the process of succession planning. The STS Programme is also fully supported by a dedicated team of experts, best practice visits, networking events and an online toolkit which will be made available to the companies selected onto the programme. It is anticipated the programme will help: • Establish regional succession planning hubs providing cross border expertise training and inhouse mentoring to support newly formed governance structures for the family and the business; • Contribute to a dynamic economy through the development of innovative approaches to ownership/ management in family owned SMEs; • Build capacity within the regional SME sector to increase, enhance and sustain regional economic development; • Create a wide range of additional

entrepreneurial firms as an option for future ownership where family business owners have failed to identify a successor e.g. management buy outs, social enterprises or family business investment groups; • Address skills deficits and provide SME owner/managers and their teams with the knowledge and skills to effectively address succession challenges; • Increase capacity to absorb external knowledge within participant organisations; • Increase uptake in knowledge transfer activities e.g. via research centres and third level higher education institutions. The STS programme was so popular that it was doubly over-subscribed. The programme was launched in Ireland at DkIT on 11 March 2010. The event gave attendees an overview of the programme and showcased an Irish family business that has successfully undertaken succession planning – Sammy Leslie of Castle Leslie. Sammy Leslie gave a humorous and honest account of how the family home and heritage was nearly lost on a few occasions due to the lack of succession planning. Two cohorts of companies will be recruited onto the STS programme in June 2010 and February 2011. The STS project is being developed over a three-year period. The total project funding is €1.74m from the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body with matched funding contribution provided by the accountable departments in Northern Ireland and Ireland as well as Cooperative Development Scotland. For further information please contact Dr Cecilia Hegarty, Programme Manager, at cecilia.hegarty@dkit.ie tel: +353 42 9331161.

Issue 6

family businesses to work through their own succession issues. The need to engage in change, innovate and use creative input to develop management practices can provide these businesses with the opportunity to enter a new growth phase. In most family owned SMEs, there are complexities in dealing with emotional beliefs and value systems mixed with the challenges faced by SMEs. On top of all that, the characteristics of the entrepreneur will also be taken into account, for example resistance to change. These complexities lead to a potentially volatile ‘cocktail’ that should be addressed because succession happens whether one plans for it or not.

LINK

Helping border businesses


Enterprise

ACE endorsement from HEA that stimulating entrepreneurship is essential to make third-level education relevant to the needs of today's graduates. The report can be downloaded at: www.hea.ie. Share your comments on the report by emailing us at: ace@dkit.ie.

Roll-out of student programmes Two new student programmes in entrepreneurship, developed through ACE, are to be made available to students in the new academic year. These new programmes offer science, engineering and technology graduates the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills required to either develop their own business idea or to further benefit their future employers. entrepreneurship programmes in DkIT.

The ACE initiative recently received high acclaim from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in its midterm evaluation report of Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF II) projects. Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship (ACE) is a partnership between IT Blanchardstown, Cork IT, IT Sligo, NUI Galway and Dundalk Institute of Technology which is developing a range of educational programmes to create entrepreneurial graduates who can then create indigenous

employment or benefit their employers, be they multinational companies, small enterprise, public sector or voluntary organisations. The report noted that ACE was "an impressive project that appears to be well regarded in the private sector" and "all of higher education should be engaged in this work". The ACE initiative was singled out as one of two projects of excellence. In the HEA report, it is recognised

 Academic Staff and Technology Transfer Officers prepare for the rollout of the new

ACE is an impressive project that appears to be well regarded in the private sector MSc in Technology Entrepreneurship

Through this unique master’s programme, the student will network with successful role-model entrepreneurs and enterprise development experts, develop an investor-ready business plan and also obtain a post-graduate qualification (PG Diploma or MSc) based on the

Business Idea? Take the Plunge The Novation Enterprise Platform Programme has been helping technology start-ups for over 10 years with great results. Offers

• Comprehensive business training and advice • Business Coaching & Mentoring • Co-Working facilities • Access to investment funding

Starting Autumn 2010

To Apply Contact

Garrett Duffy, Enterprise Development Manager e garrett.duffy@dkit.ie t 042 9331161


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Research

The programme will be driven by innovative pedagogy which will include individual and teambased project-focused learning opportunities for students at Level 8. The inter-disciplinary programme will be delivered in collaboration with staff from the Schools of Engineering and Business and the campus incubation centre.

Ageing population an opportunity for the smart economy

Summer school Six academic staff members from the ACE partner institutions have been accepted onto the 2010 Price-Babson Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators. Through this summer programme, the participants will improve their understanding of teaching entrepreneurship through Babson College in the US, which is a recognised world leader in entrepreneurship education.  Launch of CASALA in DkiT

A new centre at the Dundalk Institute of Technology is helping to drive the creation of new and better products and services to help older people live independently longer. The Centre for Affective Solutions for Ambient Living Awareness (CASALA) is an applied research centre based on campus, established with seed funding of €1.8 million under Enterprise Ireland's Applied Research Enhancement programme. A team of researchers and experienced entrepreneurs will work with industry to achieve product innovation, business competitiveness, and market leadership in the emerging ambient assisted living (AAL) sector. Population ageing offers many opportunities – by 2020, 25% of the EU's population will be over 65, with spending on pensions, health and long-term care expected to triple by 2050. Extending the opportunity for older people to age in a place of their choosing is a major policy alternative to long-term care. There is a huge economic potential related to this the “Silver Market”. Older people are important consumers with a combined wealth in Europe alone of over €3,000 billion and the forthcoming generation of older people will be increasing demands for high quality services.

CASALA aims to work with industry in helping to develop, trial and commercialise new products and services to the benefit of the older people and the economic development of Irish based industry. Ongoing developments are delivering key frameworks and platforms, empowering entrepreneurs, SMEs and multinationals to bring new services and innovative products to the market. The research centre has been instrumental in a new collaboration between a major multinational (Bosch) and an Irish company (McElwaine Smart) that has seen the introduction of a trial telehealth service that has already had impact for older people and created new jobs here in Ireland (see story on page 11). CASALA also acts as the commercial arm of the Netwell Centre, which is also based within DkIT. The Netwell Centre is developing new ideas that enhance the quality of life and well-being of older people and those who care for them, through more integrated communityoriented services, more sustainable home and neighbourhood design, and more age-friendly technologies. For more information log on to www.casala.ie

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BSc in Engineering Entrepreneurship

LINK

experiential learning process of commercialising their business idea.


Case Study

Fortieth EI Innovation Voucher completed

Precise advice for Bellugan How one client used its innovation voucher

The Regional Development Centre recently completed its fortieth Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher with Louth based Bellurgan Precision (see case study on this page) The objective of the Innovation Voucher initiative is to build links between Ireland's public knowledge providers and small businesses and create a cultural shift in the small business community's approach to innovation.

 Production floor in Bellurgan Precision

 Sean MacEntee, Incubation Centre Manager, RDC

Over the past few years the voucher scheme has become a popular means of undertaking technical or market feasibility for new products or services. The initiative matches a company’s innovation needs with a third-level institute that can solve its ‘knowledge question’.

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Visit www.innovationvouchers.ie for full details of the standard scheme valued at €5,000, or the recently launched matched voucher scheme.

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Voucher projects completed by DkIT Researchers have covered multiple sectors including software development, renewable energy, environmental, seniors technology and life sciences .

For further details contact: Sean MacEntee on 042 9331161 or email sean.macentee@dkit.ie. www.rdc.ie

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Bellurgan Precision is an SME making high precision parts for the aerospace and medical device sectors. The company had a number of concerns in the area of production control and inventory management. An Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher was raised to provide consultancy from an academic member of the DkIT staff. With 12 years’ industrial experience in the multinational sector, and having delivered six different modules in supply chain management, Tony Lennon was able to bring impartial advice to Bellurgan and to take a broad view of the situation. A gap analysis was conducted through interviews with all the management team and many shop-floor personnel. This process has built a consensus as to the problems faced by Bellurgan and its possible solutions. This consensus will be important when the recommended changes are implemented. The purchase of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system was recommended and the necessity of the ERP system is now recognised by the company. A short-list of suppliers and the criteria that the software must meet was agreed.

Also, since multiple raw material stores had grown organically from the start, the consolidation of these raw material stores into one area was recommended. Bellurgan has already started to clear the space necessary for this newly consolidated raw-material store. Other advice was given based on world-class best practice including the adoption of Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED). Bellurgan has now completed the first phase of the project and started to examine the suitability of the ERP options that are available. It is expected that a follow-on voucher will be requested and that Bellurgan will seek Tony Lennon’s continued assistance and advice on this innovative project. Asked about the process Gabriel Murtagh, Quality Manager, Bellurgan Precision Ltd, said, "We see the Voucher/DKIT contribution to be a very worthwhile project that has independently identified and endorsed the company's need for improvements in inventory and production management to meet the challenges of the growing aerospace and medical device sectors."


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Research

As well as lecturing in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Immunology, Upstream Processing and Biotherapeutics within the Department of Applied Sciences, Ronan is starting to ramp up his research activities, which are centred on the groundbreaking area of DNA damage and repair. “DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are one of the most dangerous forms of DNA damage that can occur within a cell and their presence can lead to genomic instability, cancer and even cell death. When a DSB occurs to a DNA strand in the cell, the primary goal of the cell is to use repair processes to bring the two ends back together, ie, make the ends ‘meet’, with as little disruption to the genetic information as possible,” he explains. Ronan first got into the whole area of DNA research at NUI Galway where, after completing his biochemistry degree in 1999, he stayed to complete his PhD. There, he was invited to join a developmental biology research lab run by researchers Drs Lucy Byrnes and Maura Grealy, which focused on the genetics of zebrafish embryo development. As part of this, he was awarded a scholarship to travel to San Francisco to pursue research in the area of gene expression during embryo development at the lab of internationally renowned geneticist Professor Didier Stainier at UCSF. “It was central to my PhD but it also helped us to build links between labs internationally,” he recalls. “The whole idea of my project was to identify novel genes involved in the development of zebrafish embryos, a black-and-white striped fish which is used as a model system,” he explains. It was while doing this research on zebrafish that Ronan made a breakthrough that most researchers could only dream about: he found a brand new gene. And as the discoverer, he was given the honour of naming it. “I named it ‘Nanor’

 Dr Ronan Bree: likes the “push towards research” at DkIT

which is ‘Ronan’ backwards. That led to follow-on projects in the lab, which was great because they’re still working on Nanor to find out what it is responsible for and why it’s important in embryo development,” he says. As a postdoc, Ronan was planning to pursue further research in the zebrafish area but instead was drawn towards joining a newly established cancer research cluster at NUI Galway, which had recently been set up by Professor Noel Lowndes. It was here that Ronan began to investigate the role of various proteins in the cell’s response to DNA damage. Now, in his new position at DKIT, he plans to maintain his links with Professor Lowndes by forging a crossinstitutional research alliance focusing on how cells respond to DNA damage. What appeals to him about this area of research? “It has huge long-term potential for developing strategies or targets for therapeutic approaches,” he points out. As well as the third-level research sector, Ronan has experience of working in the biopharmaceutical industry. Between 2007 and 2009 he worked in various roles with ICON

Clinical Research in Sandyford. From this he gained a deeper understanding of the role of teamwork in commercialising research ideas. He describes ICON as a “really great company” and one he wouldn’t have left were it not for the fact that the “perfect job” came up for him. “I think in Dundalk there’s a real push towards research; there’s big energy and drive and I wanted to become part of that club,” he says simply. Although Ronan comes across as fanatical about research, he also knows how to switch off. He used to play a lot of soccer but a knee injury put paid to that so he has switched his attention to photography – with considerable success. He was recently awarded a licentiateship – a sort of quality mark – by the Irish Photographic Federation and has already had one book of landscape photography published and has another in the pipeline. As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one year, he is due to get married to his fiancée, Deirdre, this summer. So, never a dull moment then, but that’s just the way this all-action scientist likes it, one imagines. Check out Ronan’s photography at www.ronanbree.com

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If enthusiasm and passion are essential characteristics for a researcher, then Dr Ronan Bree need never worry about having chosen the wrong career. Since the energetic, fast-talking NUI Galway-educated biochemist joined DkIT last September, it’s been a case of so far, so fantastic.

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Making ends meet at DkIT


Research

Bringing a fresh perspective to water There are not many jobs out there that allow you to look back in time and also forward into the future, but Dr Eleanor Jennings can claim to have one of them. As lecturer in environmental biology (soil and water management) in the Department of Applied Sciences much of her research explores what lakes looked like in the past and how they might look in the future.

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“We’ve looked back in time and we’re looking forward in time as well – so it’s like being in a time machine,” says Dr Jennings, who has worked on a succession of projects that have had climate change as their theme. These include the EPAfunded Illuminate project, which involved modelling catchment export of sediment, nutrients and dissolved organic carbon under historical conditions, and the Marine Institute-funded ‘Re-scale’ project which focused on the impacts of current and projected climate on factors important for

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fish survival, and included modelling of in-stream temperatures, dissolved oxygen and dissolved organic carbon. She has also worked on two projects that have been funded by the EU. The first of these, ‘Reflect’, looked at long-term climate change in Europe and its effect on lakes and freshwater systems. The other project, ‘Clime’, involved her doing field research at two sites in Ireland – Lough Leane in Co Kerry and Lough Feeagh in the Burrishoole catchment in Mayo – to try to get a deeper understanding of the role and impact of climate change on carbon. In Lough Feeagh, there is a monitoring buoy operated by the Marine Institute, which takes very frequent readings from the lake of characteristics such as dissolved oxygen levels, temperature and pH level. Dr Jennings uses these measurements to inform her research. What she is trying to find out, among other things, is exactly what impact the dissolved organic carbon

from the surrounding peat land has on the lake and drinking-water quality. She is also investigating how carbon is processed through the lake and gets lost into the atmosphere and starts a feedback loop with creates yet more carbon by heating up the surrounding peat land. Dr Jennings has a Burrishoole-based research student, Liz Ryder, who is investigating this carbon-cycle phenomenon further. Jennings and Ryder recently attended an international conference in Brazil where Liz Ryder presented her findings from Burrishoole. Dr Jennings has a second student, Vicky Veercamp, working on Milltown Lake in Co Monaghan. Her project, Dynamo, is looking at the value of computer modelling to the management of a freshwater resource. Dr Jennings is also co-supervising two other students: Tesfaye Bekele who is working on an Enterprise Ireland project, in collaboration with Bord


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Netwell serves as a centre of excellence and is developing new ideas that enhance the quality of life and wellbeing of older people and those who care for them, through more integrated community-oriented services, more sustainable home and neighbourhood design, and more agefriendly technologies.

na Móna, designing on-site waste water treatment plants, and Sam Kagwisagye, a student on Water is Life: Amazzi Bulamu', an Irish Aid project investigating water resources in Uganda. Dr Jennings will travel to Uganda in June for fieldwork with Sam. The Centre for Freshwater Studies is one of the most active research units within DKIT. It has 13 postgrad students, and two postdocs – Siobhan Jordan and Valerie McCarthy – involved in a range of research projects. According to Dr Jennings, who previously worked at TCD, it was DKIT’s growing reputation in freshwater studies that attracted her to the Institute, which she joined in September 2008. “Dundalk has been building up a strong reputation in freshwater sciences and I have a strong interest in that,” she says. As for the Institute itself, she is finding it “very dynamic – there’s always something happening. I’m really enjoying it.” For more information on the work of the National Centre for Freshwater Studies go to www.dkit.ie/research/research_centres/ ncfs

The Netwell project will demonstrate how a telehealth system may help patients better understand their chronic illness and motivate them to change their behaviour to improve self-management of their condition. The project marks the first involvement of Robert Bosch Healthcare’s telehealth system in Ireland. Forty older patients who have either congestive heart failure (CHF) or diabetes are participating in the trial, and a quarter of them will serve as a control group. The main group will use the Bosch patient interface in their home for a period of 90 days. The project has been enabled by the close cooperation of specialist clinical teams based in the Louth County Hospital. The patient interface is a compact device with a display and simple fourbuttons that allows patients to answer a series of questions about their health and symptoms each day. Through these “dialogues” they learn about ways to better manage their conditions, and they receive health tips and reminders to take their medication. In the Netwell Centre trial, the participants will also report their blood pressure and weight or blood glucose levels, depending on their condition, through the session. In the Netwell project, McElwaine SMART, an Irish SME and commercial partner of Bosch, is providing

monitoring services and clinical triage staff to monitor the data received from the patients. The data from the sessions is sent over a telephone line to a secure data centre where it is accessed by a clinical triage nurse, who is alerted to early warning signs if a patient’s health is deteriorating. The triage nurse alerts specialist clinical staff within the Louth County Hospital if a patient appears to need urgent attention. By quickly risk-stratifying patients based on the daily interactive sessions, the Bosch Telehealth System enables healthcare providers to intervene before medical issues escalate. The goal is to improve quality of life, enable older people to remain independent longer, and lower costs of care by reducing visits to the emergency department and hospital. During the trial, researchers from the Netwell Centre will evaluate how patients respond to the telehealth technology and determine its ability to impact their well-being and quality of life. Researchers plan to publish results from the project in September 2010, but even at this stage participants in the project have demonstrated significant positive impacts. For more information check out www.netwelcentre.org and sign up for the Netwell newsletter to receive future updates on the project.

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The Netwell Centre at DkIT is partner on a project that aims to assess how patients with chronic conditions may benefit from using a remote patient-monitoring – or telehealth – system from Robert Bosch Healthcare (BOSCH).

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Netwell has finger on the pulse


Research

DkIT researchers secure €370k EU funding

element design

[t] 042 9327943

[e] info@elementdesign.ie

The Electrochemistry Research Group, located within the Department of Applied Sciences in the Institute, has recently secured over €370,000 in research funding under the EU Framework 7 (FP7) ‘Benefit for SMEs’ scheme. The commercial partners on this project entitled "Mobile refrigeration system refrigerant leakage monitoring" include Primalec, Maidstone, UK; AARTS Plastic BV, Netherlands; Data Optics Balkans Ltd, Sofia, Bulgaria; Sensor technology Ltd, Banbury, UK; Brain Bees, Parma, Italy and Hubbard Products, Ipswich, UK. The two research performers are Dundalk Institute of Technology and the UK based Intelligent Systems Research Institute Limited. The total funding secured for the two-year period by the consortium is €1.29 million. More information on the project can be found on the Cordis website at http:// cordis.europa.eu/search/index.cfm. The research activities of the Electrochemistry Research Group can be broadly classified as the development of nanostructured materials for environmental based sensors, molecular electronics and bioscience applications. More specifically the group of researchers utilises the unique redox properties of both conducting polymers and large inorganic cage like molecules, known as polyoxometallates, for these purposes. The ability to surface-manipulate these molecular systems onto both metallic and semiconducting surfaces is of particular interest to a wide variety of technologies. The

 Front (L - R) Naris Anwar, Rashdar Naseer, Mostansara Yaqub. Back (L-R) Shahzad Imar, Dr Tim McCormac, Head of Research, DkIT.

researchers employ electrochemical techniques and state-of-the-art surface-based techniques, in conjunction with their collaborators, to carry out translational research from the bench to industry. If you would like more information about the group’s activities please visit their website at http://ww2.dkit.ie/research/research_groups/ electrochemistry or you can contact Dr Tim McCormac at tim.mccormac@dkit.ie, tel +353 42 9331161.

Open Invitation

The RDC hosts its monthly

Enterprise & Innovation Zone on the last Friday of the month from 2pm to 4:30pm Please visit www.rdc.ie for details on upcoming topics and how to reserve your place. Admission is free but spaces limited.

Starting Out or Need a Base for your R&D activities Incubation Facilities and Business Supports both on-campus in DkIT and Off-Campus in Millmount, Drogheda. The Regional Development Centre has top class

For further details contact: Sean MacEntee on [t] 042 9331161 [e] sean.macentee@dkit.ie

[w] www.rdc.ie


The Link Issue 6