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Government to Grant More Than €28m in Awards for Agri-Food, Marine and Forest Research

Government to Grant More Than €28m in Awards for Agri-Food, Marine and Forest Research

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, announced on Thursday awards of over €28 million for collaborative inter-institutional research projects under the Department’s competitive research funding programmes.

The 43 awards involve collaborations between 19 different institutions and organisations including Teagasc, a number of universities and institutes of technology.  The research investment announced will provide direct employment for 186 people including 65 contract researchers and 83 post graduate research opportunities in the form of PhDs (66) and Masters degrees (17).

The content of these grants were heavily influenced by strategic research and innovation agendas drawn up by industry-led, stakeholder advisory groups.  The projects cover a number of key overarching themes including; sustainable food production and processing; managing for environmental protection and enhancement; sustainable forest management; delivering food safety & food quality; and food for improved nutrition and health.

Additonally, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland, has teamed up with DAFM to provide funding of over €2 million to enable 3 research performing organisations north of the border to participate in 7 of the successful  research projects.

Announcing the awards at a briefing in Dublin, Creed said “today’s research awards brings the total investment made by my Department over the last five years to just over €124 million.  This research is a key component in delivering on the ambitious targets set out in the Food Wise 2025 and the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs”.

Posted in Food, News, R&D Investment, R&D News0 Comments

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.

Posted in Energy, Innovation, R&D Investment, R&D News0 Comments

Origin and UCD Form €17.6 Million Crop Science Research Partnership

Origin and UCD Form €17.6 Million Crop Science Research Partnership

Origin Enterprises plc and University College Dublin established a €17.6 million, five-year agriculture and crop science research programme, UCD announced on Monday.

The collaboration combines the leading expertise of UCD in data science and agricultural science with Origin’s integrated crop management research, systems capabilities and extensive on-farm knowledge exchange networks.

“The collaboration provides Origin with a development platform which accesses the very substantial intellectual capacity, advanced data analytics, sensing technologies and modelling resources of UCD Origin CEO Tom O’Mahony said. “The merging of conventional crop science and agronomic application with digital technology and prescriptive data analytics will enhance Origin’s knowledge-intensive offering along with improving the capacity to scale our service.”

A cornerstone of the partnership will be the creation of scalable, dynamic and integrated crop models which incorporate consistent and real-time data-driven and data-analytical approaches that optimise sustainable crop performance through enabling enhanced predictive intelligence capabilities at field level.

“The SFI Strategic Partnership Programme supports unique research partnerships with strong potential for impact on the Irish economy,” said Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland Mark Ferguson. “Combining the resources and expertise from these organisations will secure Ireland’s international position in the field of data-driven agriculture. The proposed integrated crop model will have global implications in the sustainable production of crops, addressing the challenge of food production for a rapidly expanding global population,” he said.

Posted in Food, Innovation, R&D Investment, University Investment0 Comments

BD to Build R&D Centre in Limerick

BD to Build R&D Centre in Limerick

Medical Technology company Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) announced on Friday that it plans to open a research and development centre in Limerick, creating about 100 jobs.

The €21 million investment in the centre includes an extensive renovation of the former UniGolf facility in the National Technology Park. Once completed, it is planned to house more than 200 high-tech positions, including the more than 100 BD jobs that are already in Limerick and 100 new positions.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, who attended the announcement, said: “Today’s announcement by BD of 100 jobs makes me very proud of Limerick. The company will now begin the process of giving 100 highly skilled workers the opportunity to improve their own lives through employment and also contribute in a meaningful way to the growth of this world class company. This is the latest in a series of quality jobs announcements in Limerick and is a further endorsement of the people of Limerick, the city itself and the top class educational institutions.”

BD has invested significantly in Ireland since 1964 with two sites in Drogheda and Dun Laoghaire, employing more than 500 people in high-skill positions. With the acquisition of GenCell Biosystems Limited in Limerick, the number of BD employees in Ireland has risen to nearly 600.

The BD Limerick R&D Centre will initially focus on product and software development, clinical research instrumentation and prototype development, primarily for the company’s Life Sciences businesses.

Ellen Strahlman, Executive Vice President R&D and Chief Medical Officer for BD said: “Areas served by activities and products arising from our new R&D Centre of Excellence will include the fields of microbiology and molecular biology, clinical and cellular research analysis, and industrial microbiology. Customers will include hospitals, laboratories and clinics, reference laboratories, industrial laboratories, physicians’ office practices, alternate site health care, academic and government institutions, and research facilities. Limerick will be very important for our strategic growth.”

Posted in Healthcare, Medical Research, R&D Investment0 Comments

Medicine Research Network Launched at UCC

Medicine Research Network Launched at UCC

The UCC School of Pharmacy-led PEARRL (Pharmaceutical Education and Research with Regulatory Links) Network officially launched this week. The network, funded by Horizon 2020 and Marie Sklodowska-Curie innovation programme, aims to achieve earlier patient access to new medicines, has been launched.

The PEARRL project brings together 18 leading European institutions, including Pharma industry, academia and regulatory agency partners to deliver a unique research and training programme.

Fifteen early stage researchers will be recruited in PEARRL, to focus on research into developing drug formulation strategies to enable accelerated approval and reduced cost of development, in turn facilitating earlier patient access to breakthrough therapies.

Project Coordinator of PEARRL Dr Brendan Griffin, from the School of Pharmacy, UCC, said: “Within PEARRL, our research will develop novel drug delivery technology, new screening methods and innovative models to forecast drug levels in humans, which will collectively streamline the development of new oral medicines. In addition, PEARRL will provide a unique training network for developing the next generation of leading pharmaceutical and regulatory scientists.”

Posted in Healthcare, Innovation, Medical Research, R&D Investment, R&D News, University Investment0 Comments

UCD to Lead €4 million European Research Network Developing Mental Health Services Technologies

UCD to Lead €4 million European Research Network Developing Mental Health Services Technologies

Technology Enabled Mental Health for Young People (TEAM), a new €4 million research and training network focused on developing new technologies to support the provision of mental health services for young people, was announced on Tuesday, November 22, at University College Dublin (UDC).

A UCD Press release said that numerous international studies have concluded that many people experiencing mental health difficulties do not have access to appropriate support. Young people have been identified as being particularly vulnerable and requiring specific attention. Research suggests that 50% of mental disorders emerge by 14 years of age. Untreated difficulties at a young age also triple the likelihood of further difficulties in later life.

TEAM, which brings together a multi-disciplinary network of mental health experts, computer scientists, designers and policy experts from five countries, (Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Spain and the UK) will provide a doctoral training and research platform for 15 PhD students.

The overall objective of the TEAM network is to train these researchers to deliver more effective, affordable and accessible mental health services for young people. The network will also focus on the design, development and evaluation of new technology enabled mental health services.

TEAM, led by University College Dublin, involves nine partners; four universities (Technical University of Denmark, Technical University Vienna, University of Glasgow and UCD); two university hospitals (Medical University Vienna, Psychiatric Centre Copenhagen (Region Hovedstaden)), two not-for-profit organisations (The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, ReachOut Ireland Ltd); and one industry research laboratory (Telefonica Alpha).

Dr David Coyle, TEAM project co-ordinator, and a researcher in human computer interaction at UCD’s School of Computer Science said, “We are not going to address all of the challenges in youth mental health in just four years. But we do aim to train a new generation of researchers, with a unique combination of skills, who will be at the forefront of this challenge in the coming decades.”

He added, “Technology can play an important role in improving mental health services, but only if we get the details right. It was critical that TEAM had an appropriate balance of mental health experts, computer scientists and designers. Throughout the project we will work in close partnership with mental health services and with people with experiences of mental health difficulties.”

The TEAM research programme is built around four key themes: assessment, prevention, treatment and policy. It aims to deliver new technologies that can support rapid, early and large-scale assessment, prevention and treatment of mental health difficulties in young people.

Posted in Healthcare, IT Research, R&D Investment, University Investment0 Comments

EpiCor Therapeutics wins UCD Start-up of the Year Award

EpiCor Therapeutics wins UCD Start-up of the Year Award

Biotech start-up EpiCor Therapeutics won the UCD Start-Up of the Year Award 2016 on Thursday, November 17. It received a €20,000 prize as part of the overall winner award of the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme. The start-up is aiming to develop a treatment for hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM), a significant cause of sudden cardiac death.

HOCM is a disease in which a portion of the heart muscle is enlarged without any obvious cause resulting in impairment of the heart. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain and heart palpitations. In the US alone, HOCM currently affects around 175,000 people with associated annual healthcare costs amounting to over $1 billion.

EpiCor Therapeutics is currently focused on repurposing an existing drug, 5-azacytidine, for the treatment of HOCM. It will also investigate the use of biomarkers to deliver targeted treatment for individuals.

EpiCor Therapeutics was founded by Dr John Baugh, Dr Nadia Glezeva, Dr Chris Watson, Dr Mark Ledwidge and Professor Ken McDonald, all of UCD School of Medicine.

“It is an honour for EpiCor Therapeutics to win the 2016 UCD Start-up of the Year Award,” said Dr John Baugh. “It is a great endorsement for us going forward as we work to develop treatments to target a variety of heart diseases, including our initial focus on hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy.

The disease has no approved disease-modifying therapeutics, is a significant cause of sudden cardiac death of individuals in any age group and a leading cause of such death in young athletes.

EpiCor Therapeutics is now seeking to raise €750,000 in seed funding to enable pre-clinical bridging studies. Following additional fund raising, it plans to proceed with a clinical proof-of-concept study to support its approval as a treatment for HOCM.

UCD’s annual VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme aims to support and accelerate the launch of sustainable and profitable new ventures based on intellectual property emerging from the university.

Posted in Healthcare, Innovation, Medical Research, R&D Investment, R&D News, University Investment0 Comments

Irish startup gets €500k investment to research medical benefits of cannabis

Irish startup gets €500k investment to research medical benefits of cannabis

GreenLight Medicines has secured €500,000 from a consortium of Irish investors to fund research into the potential medicinal benefits of cannabis extracts.

The Irish pharmaceutical start-up, founded in 2015, has also secured €1.35 million in cannabidiol (CBD) hemp oil from Swiss-American firm, Isodiol. The CBD, which comprises around 40% of the cannabis plant’s extract, will assist GreenLight in conducting its research studies in Irish universities over the next five years.

GreenLight is the first indigenous company to focus on the production and sale of molecules from marijuana. Founder and CEO, Dr James Linden, says: “There’s mounting evidence that cannabinoids are an effective form of treatment for many illnesses, including Multiple Sclerosis (MS), glaucoma, arthritis, epilepsy and cancer.

“Our private investors have a track record in pharma investment in Europe and the US, and their knowledge and financial commitment, in addition to Isodiol’s investment, will enable us to complete our initial research modules into cannabinoid treatment for inflammation, eye disease and pain relief amongst other conditions.”

Since its inception, Linden and his team at GreenLight has focused on collaborations with Irish universities, such as UCD, UCC and NUI Galway, with this month seeing the beginning of the first research projects for these potential treatments.

Posted in Healthcare, News, R&D Investment, R&D News0 Comments

Government will work with industry to boost innovation, says Minister

Government will work with industry to boost innovation, says Minister

The Irish Government, both north and south of the border, has indicated an intent to work together with the biopharma industry to grow talent, competitiveness and innovation across the whole island. Attendees at the Biopharma Ambition Conference were told that continued partnership between the state and industry could not only boost the Irish economy, it could also help to create an environment to discover next-generation treatments for a range of diseases.

Addressing delegates at the prestigious biopharma congress which took place across a range of Dublin locations, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “We want to help continued innovation in the industry that may lead not just to more job opportunities in Ireland but also to the development of new treatments that positively impact the lives of people all across the globe.”

This pledge to continue its fine work with industry comes at a crucial time, as the uncertainty that has flowed from the Brexit vote has the potential to impact the biopharma industry in Northern Ireland, in particular, which has the potential to double in size by 2020, generating revenues of £1.6 billion per annum. The €30 billion in exports that flows from the Irish economy could also see a further 8,000 jobs added over the next three years.

Northern Ireland Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton, told delegates: “A climate which promotes partnerships between government, academia, clinical and private sectors in Northern Ireland has been central to this growth. If we are to sustain and, indeed, build upon this success, then the same spirit of collaboration will help develop new and innovative processes which will deliver, both in terms of prosperity and public health benefits.”

The organisers of the conference, BioPharmaChem Ireland, as well as the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) and the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) have called for a focus on three factors that will greatly aid the biopharma industry in Ireland reach its potential: an emphasis on talent, growth in competitiveness and growth in health innovation.

Speaking later at the conference, Minister for Health Simon Harris commented: “This conference sends a welcome signal that the industry is committed to making Ireland a real centre of excellence for biopharma – and to continuing its pursuit of new innovations that can transform the lives of patients in Ireland and elsewhere.”

A key focus from the conference, from the perspective of everyone from regulators to the companies themselves, was growing talent. While Ireland boasts an attractive offering in terms of the educated workforce it can provide to companies, more work is still needed to ensure that young professionals joining the pharma or biotech industries are equipped with the specific skills they will need to succeed in this career.

Oliver O’Connor, Chief Executive of the Irish Pharmaceutical Association, added: “In order to grow the tangible benefits of the industry and life changing solutions we are calling on both Governments, North and South, to commit to developing the talent base across the island in order to meet future demands, grow both Ireland and Northern Ireland’s competitiveness globally, and provide greater support for clinical trials, IT investment and key specialists.”

Posted in Healthcare, Innovation, R&D Investment0 Comments

DAMOVO CONTINUES EXPANSION AFTER €1.5M INVESTMENT

DAMOVO CONTINUES EXPANSION AFTER €1.5M INVESTMENT

Damovo has invested €1.5 million in training, systems and software development whereupon it brings the total number of countries supported from Ireland to 76, which makes the Irish Global Centre of Excellence one ot the busiest in the Damovo Group. Key region managed include Europe, Asia and Latin America.

In addition Damovo’s Services business is also managed from Ireland
Damovo’s Global Services business is also managed from Ireland. It is basically concentrated on providing services for leading international systems integrators including HP, Verizon, BT, Telefonica and Singtel.

The company is proactively managing the communications needs of over 700 national and international customer sites from its Irish Network Operations Centre (NOC), including one of the world’s largest FMCG organisations and one of Europe’s top telecommunications companies.

This will increase by a further 300 sites by the end of 2016. Support is provided round-the-clock by a customer service team who can call on a pool of over 120 networking specialists from other national and regional centres of excellence.

In addition to its global services operations in Ireland, Damovo’s Irish business has also had a very positive year, with positive momentum continuing into 2017.

This local market success mirrors Damovo’s upbeat international performance, which saw group revenue increase 12% to €92M in the last financial year.

Managing Director at Damovo Global Services and Ireland, John McCabe said, “We have had a strong year, with growth boosted by a number of key new customer wins both here in Ireland and through our Damovo Global Services business.”

He added, “Our strategic investments in technical and sales resources across the Group are enabling us to build a high performance business here and this reinvigoration has delivered a marked turnaround in all aspects of our operations. We are very excited about the future.”

 

Damovo is an established European-based, global technology services firm with over 40 years’ experience in the ICT industry. We deliver services on behalf of Systems Integrators, IT Service Providers, and enterprises located around the world.

Damovo Global Services is the go-to partner for U.S. and North American-based enterprises and technology providers who need service delivery support in markets around the wor

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