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Accenture Launches R&D Hub ‘The Dock’

Accenture Launches R&D Hub ‘The Dock’

Accenture announced on Friday plans to hire more than 300 technology and design professionals in Ireland this year. This includes 100 new roles at The Dock, the company’s multi-disciplinary research and incubation hub, which was officially opened the same day.  The Dock has capacity for more than 200 professionals to co-create new services and solutions.

“Accenture continues to make significant investments in Ireland, and we are delighted the company has made the country its centre of innovation, which further cements Ireland’s position globally as a technology hub,” said An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. “The Government has been committed to driving initiatives that create high value jobs and competitive advantage for both multinational and indigenous companies looking to set up leading-edge research, innovation and technology facilities. The opening of The Dock and the creation of new technology jobs validates our strategy. Accenture is a committed, long-term resident of these shores and we look forward to continued partnership as the company further enhances its presence in Ireland.”

The new jobs will add to Accenture’s workforce of more than 2,200 in Ireland, offering technology and design career opportunities across a range of areas including artificial intelligence, advanced analytics and the Internet of Things, and industries including financial services, retail, consumer goods, life sciences and utilities.

“Our talented professionals across Ireland are imagining the future every day to solve some of the biggest challenges facing businesses, governments and consumers,” said Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme. “We are proud to build on our long history in Ireland with today’s official opening of The Dock and investment in new jobs to drive innovation that helps our clients meet the demands of a rapidly evolving digital world.”

Located in Dublin’s Silicon Docks, The Dock is one of the world’s most connected and intelligent buildings, using sensors to learn from occupant behavior, react to user feedback and allow the building to continually evolve.

The Dock is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through IDA Ireland.

“Accenture’s decision to expand its innovation capability in Ireland represents a major win for the country, providing high-value employment and opportunities for people to work on exciting projects,” said Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor. “We have earned a great reputation for technology innovation in recent years, and The Dock will enhance our country’s credentials even further. I wish the company and employees the very best in the future.”

IDA Chief Executive Martin Shanahan,  said, “The Dock showcases Accenture’s depth of technology expertise in Ireland. The company’s continued investment in innovation and in its team of talented professionals greatly enhances Ireland’s position as a compelling location for global professional service firms. IDA continues to target additional investment in this key sector.”

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€34.5 Million in Funding Announced for the Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative

€34.5 Million in Funding Announced for the Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative

Enterprise Ireland reported on Tuesday that the third phase of its Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative (TTSI), which serves to bolster the capability within the knowledge transfer system in Ireland, will see €34.5m invested over five years to further embed the transfer of knowledge from within the public research system to industry in Ireland and vice versa. It will also help sustain capacity to support the process of knowledge transfer and commercialisation of research from Irish research performing organisations (RPOs) around the country.

The programme, first introduced back in 2007 by Enterprise Ireland, is managed and administered by Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI). It allocates funding across eight consortia comprising 26 research performing organisations that include Universities, Institutes of Technology and state research bodies. The programme provides funding to the technology transfer offices (TTOs) that support these institutions around the country and it catalyses development of the knowledge transfer profession and the work it does. In doing so, the programme acts as an accelerator for commercialisation of research that would not otherwise be possible.

“Enterprise Ireland’s annual client survey shows that companies that collaborate with the Irish research system on market led projects have more than double the sales and exports than those that don’t,” Enterprise Ireland Divisional Manager for Research & Innovation Gearoid Mooney said. “Helping companies advance through research and innovation is fundamental to the support provided by Enterprise Ireland and Knowledge Transfer Ireland has been tasked with making it simple for such companies to engage and benefit from state funded research. Investing in the knowledge transfer infrastructure through technology transfer offices around the country is vital to progressing the commercialisation of research, job creation and economic prosperity.”

As a result of the programme to date, latest annual figures show;

748 research agreements signed
31 Spin-Out companies created
206 Licensing Agreements signed

Phase three of the programme runs from 2017 – 2021 and provides sustainability for the technology transfer offices. It enables an interface of skilled and experienced people within RPOs whose job it is to work with industry. The TTOs support industry engagement across areas such as research collaboration, consultancy, licensing of new technologies and the creation of new spin-out companies. The TTSI funding ensures the ongoing commercialisation of publicly funded research with a focus on quality over quantity, including the development of richer and more attractive industry-investor IP portfolios.

Alison Campbell, Director of KTI said; “I am very pleased that the TTSI programme has been approved for a further five years. Ireland has made tremendous strides in the area of knowledge transfer and technology transfer and the TTSI funding to date has been instrumental in that success. This round of funding will build on this success and help deliver stronger resources in the field. With support now in place until 2021, I am confident we can further develop the process of research commercialisation and work with our partners in industry to make it as simple and accessible as possible”.

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SEAI Doubles Sustainable Energy Research Fund to €2 Million in 2017

SEAI Doubles Sustainable Energy Research Fund to €2 Million in 2017

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) announced on Thursday a doubling of its Energy Research, Development and Demonstration fund for next year to €2 million. The fund is open to Irish researchers in industry and academia to support sustainable energy research. Priority areas include energy efficiency, citizen engagement and energy storage with the programme open to a wide range of proposal types – including technology RD&D, field research, and feasibility studies.

SEAI Head of Low Carbon Technologies Dr Eimear Cotter said: “This comes on foot of a heavily oversubscribed programme in 2016 with high quality applications across a broad range of sustainable energy research and development. This is a really strong indicator of the vibrancy of Ireland’s energy research environment across academia and industry.

“Irish researchers have already drawn down €27m in funding in energy-related research under Horizon 2020, for which SEAI is the National Delegate.  We expect this success to continue for the duration of the project.”

The 2016 research programme is currently drawing to a close and is providing valuable outputs, enhancing the evidence-base in areas such as community energy project models; solar energy; land-use planning and energy infrastructure; bioenergy and geospatial energy datasets.

Since 2002 SEAI has provided €26 million funding through its Energy RD&D programme.  Recent supported projects include:

NovoGrid which have developed an intelligent control system that enables PV solar generators to deliver more energy by minimising thermal impacts on the electrical distribution network.

NVP Energy, which is developing an innovative wastewater treatment technology. Funding was provided to validate NVP Energy’s low temperature Anaerobic Digestion technology at full scale to ensure the technology meets expected treatment levels, as seen in pilot studies.

South Dublin County Council were funded to develop an ‘Energy Masterplan’ for Clonburris in Dublin, offering the potential to support cost-competitive low carbon heat and electricity alternatives that can be mirrored by other Councils around Ireland.

Terrag GeoServ Ltd are developing a hybrid ground source and solar thermal system for the Irish market. Funding was provided to develop the system which will introduce a cost competitive alternative to the Irish ground source heat pump market, with greater long term performance and improved operating costs.

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Irish wind energy industry expected to create numerous jobs by 2020

wind-energy-fieldA recently published survey of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), released at the autumn conference in Killarney, showed enormous growth opportunities in the wind energy industry in Ireland in the future. A total of 150 Irish energy companies participated in the survey, which resulted in the outcome that, by the end of the decade, 1100 new jobs could be created in this sector. This would increase the number of jobs in the wind energy sector to a total of 5500 jobs. The past three years have already shown the success of this energy sector, as 300 jobs were created on average per year.

The majority of people in this sector, about 3100, are employed at the headquarters of the energy companies. Another 1000 work in operational and engineering roles on wind farms and 300 people work in regional support offices in the whole country.

According to IWEA, another 2.5 billion Euro will be invested into the industry, in addition to the 4 billion Euro, which have already been invested.

Currently over two million households on the island of Ireland source their power from wind energy. The history of Irish wind energy dates back to 1992 when Ireland’s first commercial wind farm was established in Bellacorrick, county Mayo. Today the Republic of Ireland has 207 wind farms; the whole island has 241.

The expansion of jobs in the wind industry leads back to the plan of increasing the Irish wind capacity, by 1600 Megawatts (MV), by 2020. At the moment the Irish wind energy capacity is 3119 MV. With the capacity of currently 461MV, Cork can be seen as the “wind capital” of Ireland, followed by Kerry (315MW), Donegal (298MW), Tipperary (268MW) and Limerick (182MW).

As a clean, environmentally friendly energy source, wind energy gains more and more importance. IWEA Chairman Peter Harte declared: “Clean energy such as wind will also play a key role in reducing Ireland’s huge dependency on fossil fuel energy imports and in continuing to attract lucrative data centre developments to Ireland, along with their own significant employment opportunities”

He continued by describing it not only as “Ireland’s most competitive energy source”, but furthermore praised the economic benefits in terms of “employment, commercial rates and contributions to local communities.”

Despite the good news, the problem of skills shortage concerns more than a quarter of the companies, which is the reason why some companies also employ people from foreign countries.

 

written by Isabel Riedel

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Galway-based research centre gets €68 million backing

Galway-based research centre gets €68 million backing

Ireland’s presence in the medtech research industry has just received a massive boost as Cúram, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices, has launched at NUI Galway.

The centre has received investments totalling €68 million, with a commitment of €49 million over six years from Science Foundation Ireland and industry, while a further €19 million has come via the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. 24 indigenous Irish and multi-national companies will partner with Cúram, including Cook Medical, Boston Scientific, Mylan and Stryker Instruments. As well as industry, the centre has six academic partners including UCD, Trinity College and NUI Galway.

The aim of the centre will be to utilise the collaborative, multidisciplinary and informed research from all perspectives to translate basic research to clinical application as efficiently and quickly as possible. A team of 280 will be led by Scientific Director Professor Abhay Pandit. The research teams will engage in current projects both in collaboration with industry and on blue-sky research.

Pandit says: “Chronic diseases are the particular focus of Cúram’s research. Working with industry partners and clinicians, we will better understand that ‘hostile environment’ of the body and advance medical devices to the next stage where they mimic the body’s biology. We want to launch devices which are more effective for the individual patient, but more affordable to lessen the burden on healthcare systems worldwide.”

Cúram is to be officially launched today by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor. She commented: “The medtech sector is hugely important to the Irish economy with over 400 companies based here, it accounts for over 29,000 jobs and is responsible for €12.6 billion worth of exports. I am delighted to launch Cúram, a world-class research centre, which will be very significant for our society and our economy.

“Cúram will also play a key role in ensuring that world class skills will be available to companies in Ireland as it is here to futureproof the medtech industry by providing access to unparalleled scientific expertise and innovation.”

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SEAI and Enterprise Ireland announce winners of innovation competition to develop smart technology solutions

SEAI and Enterprise Ireland announce winners of innovation competition to develop smart technology solutions

Three winners of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) competition were announced to develop smart technology solutions for Building Energy Rating (BER). Each company will receive €30,000 from SEAI to research and demonstrate the viability of their solutions to help make BER more influential for homeowners.

The announcement was made by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) together with Enterprise Ireland.

 The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), together with Enterprise Ireland, has announced the three winners of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) competition to develop smart technology solutions for Building Energy Rating (BER).  Each company will receive from SEAI to research and demonstrate the viability of their smart solutions to help make BER more influential for homeowners.

The successful businesses and their proposals are:

  • Derilinx through its Energy Data Hub will provide data to property supply chain stakeholders giving them insights into a buildings energy rating.
  • Elm Solutions are developing Jouleco a smart solution which connects all BER users and cultivates an active community based around improving home energy efficiency.
  • IHER will develop BERWow an application that will help homeowners interpret their BER and help achieve the best possible energy performance for their home.

Commenting SEAI Chief Executive Jim Gannon said: “Smart solutions, including mobile technology, can make BERs more informative and influential in property transactions and upgrades.  With more than 600,000 BERs published, there is now a wealth of data to allow valuable comparisons to be made on energy performance.  With a number of SEAI programmes reaching advanced stages of maturity, a key short term focus for us is to generate robust and data-driven insights into the most cost effective measures and combinations across both residential and non-residential buildings. These projects represent a starting point and a key strand of this exercise in the residential sector.”

Leo McAdams, Divisional Manager ICT and International Services, Enterprise Ireland added: “Enterprise Ireland is excited to work with SEAI on this innovative initiative, and we congratulate the winners. Our efforts in promoting SBIR are all part of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy to get more Irish businesses delivering creative, innovative solutions for the public sector with potential to sell globally, leading to job creation.”

The companies have three months to develop their solution to pre-prototype stage, after which, up to two will be selected for further funding (up to €150,000) to complete prototype solutions.

 

What is BER?

A Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate is an indication of the energy performance of a home. A BER certificate is accompanied by an Advisory Report which identifies how you might improve the energy performance of your home.

BER is the calculated energy use for space and hot water heating, ventilation and lighting based on standard occupancy. A BER is similar to the energy label for a household electrical appliance like your fridge. The label has a scale of A-G. A-rated homes are the most energy efficient and will tend to have the lowest energy bills.

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SOLAR-H2 project – Bright future for solar fuels

SOLAR-H2 project – Bright future for solar fuels

The EU-funded SOLAR-H2 project has established a pan-European research network that is tapping into the potential of solar fuel that could one day replace fossil fuels because it’s a clean energy source.

Relying on fossil energy sources such as oil, gas and coal is no longer viable given finite supplies and the consequences of CO2 emissions for the planet. The EU-funded SOLARH2 project responded by bringing together experts to examine how to exploit our unlimited supply of water and solar energy instead.

“Everybody has heard of solar power, but this only concerns electricity,” explains project coordinator Professor Stenbjörn Styring from Uppsala University, Sweden. “The challenge to replace fossil fuels with something cleaner is about four times bigger, whichever way you look at it. This is the issue we all have to face up to and address.”

Taking a shine to novel energy solutions

Scientists have known for a number of years that splitting water can produce huge amounts of hydrogen in an environmentally friendly way. The problem has been in understanding the highly complicated electrochemical processes involved. But thanks to cross-border and cross-disciplinary scientific cooperation, the SOLARH2 team was able to design synthetic compounds able to mimic biological molecules that convert energy from the sun into hydrogen fuel. Scientists also made progress investigating the use of bacteria and algae in bioreactors to perform the same conversion.

“One key breakthrough early on was the discovery of the best catalyst – a particular enzyme – for making hydrogen,” says Styring. “Today we have developed much more efficient synthetic catalysts, but this was an important milestone along the way. Indeed, as the project has evolved the focus has slowly shifted onto synthetic biology, where we are trying not only to learn from, but to improve on nature.”

Styring said that the move into synthetic biology is important because it opens up possibility of one day developing and commercialising more tailored products, such as butanol to make diesel. Styring’s team at Uppsala University is currently working on growing microorganisms actually inside a fuel tank, which they hope might prove to be an efficient and low-impact method of generating fuel.

“This is how science progresses,” says Styring. “We brought together chemists, spectroscopists and biologists. Hundreds of papers have been written, and many young professors now making names for themselves in the field have come through the SOLARH2 network.”

A centre of perception

The four-year project, which was completed in 2012, has also helped to establish Uppsala University and its Swedish Consortium for Artificial Photosynthesis as a European hub of excellence. The first International Conference on Solar Fuels was held at the University , something that Styring believes happened as a direct consequence of SOLARH2’s profile. This biannual conference, which will be rotated between organisers around the world, will bring together scientists working on both biological and chemical approaches to utilise solar energy for direct fuel production, and very much carries on the project’s spirit of cross-border cooperation.

Ultimately, the work initiated by SOLARH2, the networks it has created and the opportunities identified in developing biological and synthetic solutions will lead to larger, more high-impact hydrogen fuel projects in the future.

“One thing we learned from this project is that viable forms of solar fuel will be difficult to achieve,” says Styring. “But they will come. There is no doubt about this. I would guess that within the next decade we will begin to see small, inefficient solar fuel solutions entering the market, which can then be improved upon.”

 

GÉANT is the pan-European data network for the research and education community. It interconnects national research and education networks (NRENs) across Europe, enabling collaboration on projects ranging from biological science to earth observation and arts & culture.

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European Commission launches three Horizon Prizes for energy innovation

European Commission launches three Horizon Prizes for energy innovation

The European Commission launched three Horizon Prizes to encourage innovation and find solutions to challenges in the area of energy.

Worth a total of €3.25 million and funded under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme, the prizes will reward innovative approaches to integrating solar energy into historical buildings, using renewable energy in hospitals, and developing products that help cut emissions by reusing carbon dioxide (CO2).

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Protecting our rich cultural heritage and providing state-of-the-art hospitals need not be at odds with our goal for a sustainable, affordable and low-carbon energy future.  These prizes will help mobilise the talent needed to find new ways to deploy existing technologies to achieve these goals, and the innovative reuse of CO2 will help to tackle climate change, one of the major societal challenges worldwide.”

The €750.000 Horizon Prize Photovoltaics meets history addresses the technical constraints in integrating photovoltaic energy sources in historical urban districts. The prize will be awarded to the most suitable architectural and aesthetical design for a photovoltaic energy system which at the same time presents an optimal technical solution.The €1 million Horizon Prize Low carbon hospital will contribute to finding solutions for using 100% renewable energy sources for heat and power generation in hospital buildings. The award will go to an innovative solution integrating several technologies into one energy system, which can guarantee uninterrupted energy supply.

The €1.5 million Horizon Prize CO2 reuse will be awarded to the developer of an innovative product that reuses carbon dioxide (CO2), making a genuine contribution to achieving net emissions reductions.

Contestants can apply until 26 September 2018 for the Photovoltaics meets history contest and until 3 April 2019 for the two others. Applicants have total freedom in the approach they take to deliver the breakthrough solution. The rules of the contests are available on the Horizon Prizes website.

 

Horizon Prizes are challenge prizes (also known as ‘inducement’ prizes) which offer a cash reward to whoever can most effectively meet a defined challenge. They act as an incentive for innovation by prescribing the goal, but not how the goal should be achieved. The European Commission is introducing a set of challenge prizes under Horizon 2020, the EU’s €77 billion research and innovation programme running from 2014 to 2020.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.

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Shipwreck-inspired wave power idea nets EUR 10 mn for full-scale demo

Shipwreck-inspired wave power idea nets EUR 10 mn for full-scale demo

The kinetic energy of the waves can convert into electricity that can be fed into the grid with the help of a device, which has won a EUR 10 million loan from the Eu to enable its Finnish developer to build the first full-scale demonstration unit.

It’s the kind of technology that society needs to rely on more and more as fossil fuel power is phased out in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reign in global warming.

The original idea came from a professional diver, Rauno Koivusaari, who had a moment of inspiration when diving in a shipwreck and seeing the way an old piece of hatch moved backwards and forwards with the waves.

Finnish company AW-Energy translated Koivusaari’s idea into WaveRoller – a system that consists of an underwater panel attached to the bottom of the ocean on a hinge which moves back and forth as the waves surge past it.

Hydraulic pumps attached to the panel drive a motor which, in turn, drives an electricity generator, and the resulting power is taken on shore by an undersea cable.

Now AW-Energy has the finance to build a full-scale demonstration device thanks to the EUR 10 million loan from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

EUR 150 million

The loan is part of the EU’s Energy Demonstration Project programme, which has earmarked a total of EUR 150 million to help companies demonstrate the commercial viability of their renewable energy or hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

‘We want to support renewable energy pioneers to contribute solutions to global climate change challenges, while generating employment and sustainable economic growth at home in Europe,’ Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said during a signing ceremony on 6 July in Brussels, Belgium.

 

AW-Energy – the company develops and delivers technology for converting ocean waves to electricity.                                                                             They have developed WaveRoller – a fully submerged wave energy converter which utilizes wave surge phenomenon. This commonplace effect is observed in near-shore waters where the circular motion of water particles present in open sea waves changes into elliptical circulation due to more shallow bottom.

WaveRoller is a device that converts ocean waves to energy and electricity. The machine operates in near-shore areas (approximately 0.3-2 km from the shore) at depths of between 8 and 20 meters.

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AMBER researcher awarded €2.5m to create groundbreaking high-tech customisable battery

AMBER researcher awarded €2.5m to create groundbreaking high-tech customisable battery

Valeria Nicolosi, researcher at the SFI-funded AMBER materials science research centre at Trinity College Dublin, has been awarded a €2.5m ERC Consolidator Grant to create an innovative new type of energy storage device that can charge in just a few minutes, last longer than today’s batteries.

The “ERC consolidator grant” is one of the most sought-after competitive research grants in Europe, and will provide Prof Nicolosi with €2.5m in funding over five years for her project “3D2DPrint”.

The project focuses on creating a new type of extremely long-lasting battery, one that can come in any shape or size and can be camouflaged within any type of material, whether that’s clothing, a mobile phone, a car dashboard or even implanted inside a body (for example, for an implanted cardiac device).

This funding will enable her to establish a multidisciplinary research group to develop this unique class of energy storage devices, employing six researchers (three senior postdoctorates and three PhD candidates). Prof Nicolosi is Ireland’s only four-time ERC awardee, and has been awarded more than €11 million in funding for her research in the past five years at TCD :

“Since 2011, the first year of my ERC Starting Grant, my group has grown from three to 25 people”, Nicolosi said. Then she added :

“The ERC grants I have been awarded were not only important in helping fund our research and grow our team, but to also help leverage more funding and realise partnerships with large multinationals. What is key is that these grants allow us to take the next step with our research, whether it is the licensing of technology or starting up a new company.”

 

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