Waterford News

TSSG Dr Sasitharan BalasubramaniamLife-altering brain implant will sense and treat impending seizures

A group of Waterford-based researchers are leading a ground-breaking new project that has been awarded €4.4 million in EU funding to develop a ‘living brain implant’ that senses and treats an impending epilepsy seizure.

The ‘PRIME’ project team, based at Waterford Institute of Technology’s Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG), will develop an innovative diagnostic-therapeutic treatment for people with epilepsy and other neurological diseases, by implanting engineered biological cells in the brain that will act as bio-computers to treat and suppress impending seizures.

‘PRIME’ will see the Waterford team collaborate with six other partners, including FutureNeuro, the SFI Research Centre for chronic and rare neurological disease hosted at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences. The project was awarded funding of €4.4m under the EU’s Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme, making it the first ever FET programme project awarded to an Irish Institute of Technology.

Winning this funding is a significant result for TSSG and will allow the PRIME research team, which is made up of Dr. Sasitharan Balasubramaniam, Dr. Deirdre Kilbane, Frances Cleary and Dr. Hamdan Awan, along with consortium members, to build on their expertise in molecular communications and computing by applying it to future generation bio-implantables. The FET programme, funded under the EU’s research and innovation initiative, Horizon 2020, invests in transformative research and innovation with a high potential impact on technology to benefit our economy and society.

The Waterford-based research aims to provide a diagnostic-therapeutic treatment for epilepsy and other neurological diseases by developing technology that could suppress chronic and recurring seizures, allowing people with epilepsy to perform jobs that some are currently restricted from doing, such as operating machinery, driving a car, or working near open water or at heights.

During the four-year project, which commenced on 1st February, the research team will capitalise on a significant breakthrough discovery by FutureNeuro collaborators Professor Jochen Prehn and Professor David Henshall, who discovered that increases in transfer RNA (tRNA) fragments – a type of molecule found in the blood of epilepsy sufferers - precede seizure onset in some patients. By understanding the role of tRNA in predicting seizure onset, the multidisciplinary team will aim to develop a biological brain implant that will detect spikes in tRNA and then respond with a seizure-suppressing treatment.

Unlike previous implanted devices to treat neurological diseases, which offered ways to interrupt seizures in drug-resistant epilepsy patients only after they began, this pioneering treatment developed at TSSG holds the potential to transform the lives of people with epilepsy, to the point where they won’t even be aware that they were in danger of having a seizure.

Use of engineered biological cells in the revolutionary technology means the implanted device won’t have any electronic-based components that require an energy supply, as was often the case with earlier brain implants made from non-organic material. The implants to be developed by the PRIME team can also be personalised, using Artificial Intelligence, to accommodate the different types and levels of seizures experienced by individual epilepsy patients.

Dr. Sasitharan Balasubramaniam, Director of Research in TSSG, FutureNeuro investigator and PRIME project co-ordinator said:

“The initial focus of the research team will be the detection and treatment of epilepsy, though the project does offer the potential to also treat other neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s Disease and also certain types of cancer, going forward.”

The multi-disciplinary project will see the Waterford team join forces with researchers at FutureNeuro in RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, the University of Ferrara in Italy, the University of Aarhus in Denmark, Tampere University in Finland and private companies EPOS-Iasis Research and Development Ltd in Cyprus and Omiics AS in Denmark.

Prof David Henshall, Director of FutureNeuro and Professor of Molecular Physiology and Neuroscience at the RCSI, said:

“The PRIME project represents the very best of FutureNeuro research, taking a discovery in patients and working with world-leading multi-disciplinary teams in Ireland and abroad to develop what could be a transformative new technology to provide better seizures control."

LEO Enterprise Week 2021Waterford Local Enterprise Office has announced a programme of online events during Local Enterprise Week 2021, which takes place from March 1st to March 5th.

More than 200 virtual events are planned by the Local Enterprise Offices around the country and these include training workshops, information webinars and masterclasses with entrepreneurs and experts, designed to help Ireland’s small businesses and those looking to start a new business in 2021.

Organised by Local Enterprise Office Waterford and supported by Enterprise Ireland and Waterford City and County Council this year’s theme is ‘Making It Happen.’ Common topics across the week include starting a new business, resilience and recovery, the green economy, becoming ‘leaner’, exploring new markets, doing business online and the new trading relationship with the UK. For the first time, Local Enterprise Week also includes ten ‘Spotlight’ events, and these are open to every business across the country.

On Tuesday, March 2nd LEO Waterford will host a seminar titled “Waterford as a place of innovation and enterprise - a vision for the future”. This event will be of relevance to anybody interested in what the future of Waterford can and should look like. The seminar will examine how people will live and work, how they will develop skills and grow in their communities, and how their creative and community lives will play out. In particular, it will look at how Waterford can be a place which will be attractive to a skilled and diverse set of people willing to raise their families in Waterford, contribute to their communities and build sustainable businesses.

Contributors to the event will include Michael Walsh, Waterford Council’s chief executive; Miguel Ponce de Leon, Head of TSSG; Michael Kelly, CEO of GIY Ireland; Brian McGee, Director with the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland and a number of other entrepreneurs and policy makers.

On Tuesday, March 2nd from 2.30pm to 4pm, Eddie Shanahan will deliver a virtual workshop for makers and small craft enterprises, “New Normal, New Thinking, New Commerce.” If you are a craft business in Waterford, are passionate about your product but need help with planning, customer focus, multi-channel trading and collection development this virtual workshop will focus on developing an effective sales strategy.

Food, the Waterford Way Huddle takes place on Wednesday, March 3rd and is the ideal opportunity for local food producers, restaurateurs, and café owners to connect virtually and use their collective experiences and knowledge to promote Waterford’s amazing food offerings to locals and those further afield. As winner of the Foodie Destinations in 2019, this virtual networking event will underpin how to continue to build and protect the integrity and status of our region’s foodie status.

On March 5th, The Social Media Mash Up is a free exciting session, featuring a host of Waterford’s social media experts, and will be broadcast live via YouTube.

Along with MC Teresanne O’Reilly there will be a line-up of expert panellists discussing topics such as which apps can you use to enhance your social media offering, the importance of blogging, digital marketing plans and how to build a GDPR compliant email list, along with practical tips and tricks you can start using straight away to benefit your business.

Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Waterford Richie Walsh said, “Small businesses throughout Waterford are being severely impacted by Covid-19 restrictions and many haven’t been able to trade fully since last year. That’s why initiatives like Local Enterprise Week are more important than ever as they showcase all the supports that are available to small businesses and start-ups now. As well as the ten ‘Spotlight’ events, we are offering a full programme of events over the five days of Local Enterprise Week. Our advice to all local businesses and to those with a business idea, is to have a look at the events taking place and to book early.”

Mayor of Waterford City and County Council, Cllr. Damien Geoghegan said, “This year’s Local Enterprise Week programme while a little different from previous years, still has something for everyone, whatever phase your business is in, or whatever sector your business is in. In a year that has challenged the most stoic of businesses, the range of events and the calibre of hosts and facilitators deal with the topical business issues affecting small businesses today and in the future.”

Other events taking place throughout Local Enterprise Week include Springback Stronger – Building Leadership & Resilience; Growing Lean – One small step or one giant leap; Agritech – The 4th Industrial Revolution; Health Checking your business for its forward journey, and S.M.A.R.Tech for Start-Ups and Benefits of Green for Business – Launch of Green for Micro.

As with previous years, many of the events are expected to book up quickly so early booking is strongly advised. To register for Local Enterprise Week events taking place in Waterford and throughout Ireland visit www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/

The Presidents of Institute of Technology Carlow (IT Carlow) and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) today co-chaired the inaugural meeting of the TUSEI Regional Engagement Advisory Group.

The group has been established by the presidents to support the development of the Technological University of South East Ireland (TUSEI). Acknowledging the longstanding deep and wide engagement between the institutes and business, cultural and civic stakeholders in the region, the presidents emphasised the importance of the technological university to the social and economic development of the south east and their shared ambition to deepen that engagement as the technological university develops.

The presidents also welcomed the fact that the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Mr Simon Harris TD addressed the group as a further demonstration of the commitment of the Government to the development of TUSEI.

Dr Patricia Mulcahy, President IT Carlow said: “TUSEI will be of, and for, the south east, but with a national and global perspective and reach. Our local stakeholders have been a key part of our story to-date and will remain so.”

Prof Willie Donnelly, President WIT said: “The members of the advisory group will help us succeed in the final stages of achieving what has been a long-held ambition here in the south east – to establish a university of international standing in and for the region and they will support its development long into the future.”

Waterford Entrepreneurs Network

2021 is no doubt going to be a challenging year for many businesses. Beginning the new year with lockdown 3.0 means that we continue to rely on established business relationships and technology to connect us. But what about the businesses that don’t have that back-book of clients or who simply wish to grow their connections whilst working remotely? Recently established Waterford Entrepreneurs Network was set up to challenge that exact issue.

Launching 14th January and running for the full length of lockdown 3.0 (however long that may be) Waterford Entrepreneurs Network will host Networking @ Noon, for free, every Thursday for one hour. They invite all enthusiastic businesses in Waterford to come along, introduce themselves and make connections.

This is an hour of collaboration so we will also hear from businesses and networks of Waterford on the opportunities to connect and hopefully pick up some tips along the way.

WEN founder Margaret Julian explains; “As a business-woman in Waterford, I’m a huge believer in collaboration and I think it’s important that at times like these we focus on the things that we can control. What better way to start the new year than making new connections which is why I set up WEN as I knew another lockdown was imminent. Networking is not just about introducing yourself and hoping that someone will want to do business with you, it’s about following up with connections made and organising a virtual coffee and that is what we will be encouraging with Networking @ Noon.”

Networking @ Noon will commence on January 14th @ 12pm. Businesses are invited to register through Eventbrite for tickets; https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/networking-noon-tickets-134877162223

Kinetic Labs WaterfordKinetic Labs opens brand new laboratories in Waterford. From the start of January 2021, start-ups and established companies in the South East requiring wet laboratory space can rent it through Kinetic Labs.

Finding affordable and flexible lab space can be challenging for many science-based companies. Kinetic Labs addresses this issue and provides a space where science-based companies in the South East can rent co-working and individual lab space and facilities to develop their products and processes.

“The investment and opening of Kinetic Labs is not only great for our science community but also Waterford and the South East. The ability of start-ups and established companies to find appropriate wet lab facilities is a key constraint on the development of science-based industries in the region. Kinetic Labs overcomes this issue and will drive the growth, in particular, of Life Science companies in the South East. Kinetic Labs plays to regional strengths and will be connected to the wider business, research and innovation supports of the region and beyond. It is our vision to transform Kinetic Labs into a science innovation hub for the South East,” says John Breen, Centre Manager at Kinetic Labs.

Through renting lab space at Kinetic Labs, companies can access:

  • Over 400 m2 of high-quality wet lab space with shared lab space for companies starting out and individual furnished/unfurnished facilities for more established companies
  • The excellent facilities at WorkLAB including offices, meeting rooms, café and a community of established companies and start-ups
  • Business and technical support centres – the Waterford Institute of Technology, Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC), local IDA, Enterprise Ireland and South East Business & Innovation Centre (SEBIC) offices are all located nearby

Companies joining Kinetic Labs will have the support of a strong team that have experience in successfully growing life science companies from start-up stage to global businesses. Richie Walsh, Seamus Kilgannon and Patsy Carney are all hands-on Directors of Kinetic Labs. Richie is Head of Enterprise at the Local Enterprise Office (LEO), Seamus is a serial entrepreneur and Owner / CEO of precision engineering company SCHIVO and Patsy is a role model for any start-up with his experience building Eirgen Pharma from scratch to a global multinational. Centre Manager John Breen understands the needs of both start-ups and multinationals having worked at both scales in the fine chemicals and pharmaceutical industries.

There are already over 8,000 people employed in the pharma and medical device industry in the region and Waterford and the South East are fast becoming a life science innovation hub, particularly for indigenous start-up companies. Kinetic Labs will play a critical role in building on the capability and entrepreneurship potential of existing indigenous and multinational life science companies.

For further information or to arrange a tour, visit www.kineticlabs.ie

RelateCare logo

Patient Service Representative – Waterford, Ireland

RelateCare are looking for Full time permanent Patient Schedulers to work from home and in our Waterford city office.

IS Trainer & Support Analyst- Waterford, Ireland (Remote)

A fantastic opportunity has arisen in RelateCare’s Enterprise Support team, as we are currently looking a candidate to fill an IS Trainer & Support Analyst position.

HR Administrator- Waterford, Ireland

An excellent opportunity has arisen in RelateCare/rigneydolphin Group as we are currently recruiting a full time HR Administrator to start work in January 2021!

Remote Team Leader – Waterford, Ireland

An excellent opportunity has arisen in RelateCare as we are currently recruiting a number full time Team Leaders to start work in 2021! RelateCare provide the very best in patient access, telehealth, contact center and outsourcing solutions to healthcare organizations within the US and Ireland

WIT Nick Murray 2020 La perePivoting in a Pandemic: How Brands can Emerge Stronger from the Covid-19 Crisis opinion piece led to award for Nick, a high performing student

Dunhill, Co Waterford native Nick Murray, a 4th year BBS (Hons) Marketing student at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), is the winner of the 2020 Marketing Society of Ireland LePere award, winning €1,000 and invaluable industry recognition.

The Marketing Society of Ireland LePere annual award was set up in commemoration of the late John LePere (the acknowledged founding father of marketing in Ireland). This national award recognises and rewards academic excellence in the field of Marketing and celebrates the future leaders of the industry. The competition is open to all third-level students in Ireland who are in their final year of a Level 8 Marketing course.

At the online awards ceremony which took place on Friday, 4 December, Naomi Staff (Marketing Society of Ireland and MD of Core Research) noted that they had a large number of entrants this year with very stiff competition. She stated that “The judges were impressed with the structure of Nick’s essay, it was well thought through, researched and planned with some very strong case studies to back up his arguments and persuasive points. Congratulations and well done on such a great achievement Nick”

Nick’s task was to research and prepare a 2,500-word opinion piece based on a marketing topic provided by the Marketing Society of Ireland. His essay was entitled “Pivoting in a Pandemic: How Brands can Emerge Stronger from the Covid-19 Crisis”. All entries were judged independently by a three-person panel, comprising Ms Deirdre Wafer - Marketing Society of Ireland Chairperson, Mr Noel Quinn - Senior Marketing and Media Rights Manager, GAA and Dr Sarah Quinton - Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Oxford Brookes University.

This prestigious win follows previous success including winning the Dean’s List award in 2018/2019 and 2019/2020, which recognises the top 5% highest performers in the Business School at WIT. Commenting on his win, Nick said "I am absolutely delighted. It is an achievement I am immensely proud of, especially when I think about how I was competing against students from colleges across the country. A big thank you to Dr Ethel Claffey for nominating me and for believing that I would be good representative for WIT. I would also like to thank the Marketing Society of Ireland for presenting me with this prestigious award."

Speaking about Nick’s success, Dr Thomas O’Toole, Head of the School of Business, WIT, said: “We are thrilled for Nick Murray who took the opportunity to develop an essay with a strong practical bent on how brands can respond to Covid-19 in their marketing positioning. His programme at WIT, the Bachelor of Business (Honours, WD048) marketing stream, has a strong analytic component which prepared him well for his entry into this national competition.”

Joan McDonald, Head of Department of Management and Organisation congratulated Nick for his outstanding achievement, and Dr Ethel Claffey and the Marketing lecturers for the support and encouragement they give to their students.

Dr Ethel Claffey, Stream Leader - BBS (Hons) Marketing, added “We are delighted that Nick has been recognised by the Marketing Society for academic excellence. He is a very worthy recipient of the LePere Award. Winning this award highlights the high calibre of our marketing graduates. Nick is a very diligent student and we are very proud of his achievement.”

The School of Business at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has opened up its application process for local businesses interested in giving students valuable experience via work placement.

As students available for work placement have a general business background they can undertake a variety of business roles.

Joe Daly, the director of placement at the School of Business explains that the placement process has already begun and the students are available for a period of up to six months.

“WIT business students are now embarking on their placement with companies all over the region and beyond. Every year employers, large and small, benefit from the opportunity to gain access to high calibre, eager, and ambitious undergraduates with different specialisations: accounting, marketing, human resources, economics and finance and management,” he says.

Daly says that employers know and appreciate the placement process in WIT and are very grateful for the positive contribution WIT students provide to their organisations.

“Work placement is also an opportunity to develop and sustain strong links between employers and Higher Education,” he adds.

The placement process has already begun and the students are available for a period of up to six months.

For more information contact the School of Business placement office in WIT on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or for an informal chat just call Joe Daly on 087 2559238.

WIT Prof Willie Donnelly Dr Mark WhiteWaterford Institute of Technology (WIT) published its aspirational three-year research strategy with a positive future outlook very much at its core. 

For over 20 years WIT’s research and innovation community has been at the forefront of the social and economic development of Waterford and the south east region. The institute has created international centres of excellence in the areas of advanced manufacturing, ICT, biopharma, agriculture and financial services.  Its research base is truly international through collaborations with leading universities and industry partners across the world.

The 2020-2023 research strategy builds on this foundation and will contribute to ensuring WIT will have the research and innovation leadership expected from a university of international standing. This strategy builds on the ongoing message of progressive and cutting-edge research that the Vice President for Research, Dr Mark White, has been driving since joining the institute in 2018. “The future of WIT and WIT Research is very positive for many reasons, not least the welcomed transition to becoming a technological university. This strategy outlines our objectives to improving our enterprise, civic, social and economic impact in the south east and Ireland which will enhance WIT’s contribution to research and innovation.”

WIT is proud of the academic leadership in the European Framework programme, Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway network and Science Foundation Ireland Centres which continue to generate significant funding for research projects and PhD graduates.

“Collaboration is key to meaningful research and WIT has a rich heritage of successful international collaborations with leading universities, academic and industry partners across the world resulting in the flow of state-of-the-art knowledge and skilled people in to the region. For this strategy to be effective, we will be encouraging the creation of even more partnerships beyond the institute to improve the knowledge transfer of our researchers. We will also continue to leverage and develop collaborators to create a multi-disciplinary research environment providing meaningful impact on the region,” Dr White continued.

President of WIT, Prof Willie Donnelly, highlighted the institutional vision to create an entity with the scale, autonomy, attractiveness and performance of an international university with the ambition of being among the top 100 ‘young’ universities by 2030, a vision shared with colleagues in IT Carlow. “Research excellence, doctoral education, knowledge transfer and international performance account for almost three quarters of the assessment of ‘young’ universities therefore this ambitious and committed strategy to being a research-led organisation is essential to achieving our objectives,” he explains.

Alongside the commitment to social and economic impact, collaboration and becoming a research-led organisation, is the continued dedication to industry nationwide. WIT’s research centres, Arclabs Research and Innovation Centre and the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) have a track record of supporting indigenous industry in their research and development endeavours. As the only institute to host three Technology Gateways funded by Enterprise Ireland with an overarching goal of providing support to industry from start-up to scale, WIT aims to build on this reputation by promoting and delivering research and development as an outsourced service function allowing them to optimise R&D tax credits without costly investments.

The launch of this strategy comes just weeks after WIT claimed the coveted Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year 2021 award. The impact of WIT research played a significant role in securing this award for the third time, with the success in European funding and the key role WIT plays in the region as deciding factors highlighted by the editor.

With the full details of the report available on WIT’s website, additional key strategic actions are:

  • Utilise the funding opportunities available to the Irish researchers in the Ireland 2040 strategic plan by maximising on the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund to create research with societal benefits.
  • Create an environment that can attract and retain creative people with a concern for making a difference though education and research. Successful research institutions add value to the efforts of their people.
  • In response to the imminent departure of the UK, WIT will establish a WIT-UK joint Research Professorial programme assigning a distinguished UK-based research professor to each School in WIT
  • Collaborate with the Southern Regional Assembly and support, through our research and innovation services, the goal of advancing the capacities of Waterford as a Smart City.
  • Continue our success in the forthcoming Horizon Europe programme with an aim of retaining the title of leading Irish IoT in ICT funding

TSSG Ian Mills ARVR Technical LeadCOMPANIES and individuals who need to run simulations or test prototypes now have access to a state-of-the-art, €160,000  mixed reality testbed lab and research team at Waterford Institute of Technology’s West Campus.

Available for free to qualifying projects through the Technology Gateway, the lab is now open and accessible for companies and access to the Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) campus will be in line with COVID-19 regulations. 

The new facility allows clients see how mixed reality can transform education, training and awareness and monitor movement, immersion and interaction through a variety of technologies, including wireless headsets, a VR treadmill, 360-degree video capture, live performance and acoustic capture, physiological sensing and eye tracking equipment and so much more.

Funding for the landmark testbed facility was secured through the Enterprise Ireland Institutes of Technology Capital Call 2019 and although remote working has limited access to the equipment for the Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (ARVR) team, Frances Cleary, Research Unit Manager in TSSG, said it’s now open and available for use:

“Mixed reality innovations need to be experienced by clients and interested stakeholders in order to fully understand and appreciate the potential it can bring to a company. The mixed reality innovation lab allows organisations to immerse themselves in virtual or augmented experiences providing the opportunity to develop an impactful research and development strategy for a particular product or service. This helps a company plan for a market impact at an earlier date, therefore increasing their chances of success of getting to the market in order to generate revenue.”

The team can be contacted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and an appointment.

The Mixed Reality Innovation Lab at TSSG has a dedicated space located in Arclabs Research and Innovation Centre and also includes a portable element that can be brought to a client’s premises.

Kevin Doolin, Director of Innovation at TSSG said: “TSSG have been working in the Mixed Reality sector for a number of years and this lab allows the team to advance their research capabilities to showcase and enhance our developed applications and to support the visualisation and demonstration aspects of this technology to our industry partners in multiple sectors such as Health, Education and Pharma.”

Speaking about the importance of mixed reality technologies in industry, Miguel Ponce de Leon, TSSG Technology Gateway Manager said: “The applications of mixed reality technologies are endless. The nature of mixed reality lends itself well to a whole host of experiences as it offers a combination of movement, immersion and interaction. The experience and capabilities that it provides has many applications outside of its presumed entertainment value.

“We have seen an increase in mixed reality solutions being applied to industry since people are working remotely and the demand for online shopping has increased. Companies are using AR to allow their customers visualise a product in their home and others have applied VR to remote training programmes. We are very excited to see what the future holds for the mixed reality sector” he continued.

The Mixed Reality Innovation Lab provides four key components to industry:

  • A dedicated multi-user Mixed reality (MR) environment utilising the latest in wireless transmitted desktop grade and all in one VR experiences, enterprise grade AR as well offering consumer level alternatives featuring depth and Lidar technologies. Local and remote GPU processing for digital photogrammetry, digital twin and high intensity AR/VR applications.
  • A dedicated multi-user Augmented Reality (AR) environment with high-fidelity, full environment scanning (360-degree video capture, live performance capture, and acoustic capture), and visualisation capabilities.
  • Human-centric monitoring to study the impact of AR and VR environments on an individual. This includes a high-precision EEG headset, haptic devices for physiological sensing and eye tracking equipment.
  • Portable and mobile equipment that can extend the AR and VR environments beyond their dedicated lab spaces and push the current boundaries into multi-room and very large spaces, and outdoor spaces using a mix of traditional sensors, body sensors, visual odometry, drone-based 3D scanning and kinematic tracking.

WIT Pharma Research Centre of the YearThe Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology (PMBRC) at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) was named as Pharma Research Centre of the Year at the Pharmaceutical Industry Awards 2020. It is the first time PMBRC has won the prestigious and hotly contested Research Centre award.

Since launching in 2014, the Pharma Industry Awards has established itself as the benchmark for excellence for those operating in Ireland’s pharma industry. This year’s event took place online due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Research Centre of the Year award recognises outstanding achievement, business growth, operational excellence and impact.

“We’re thrilled that our achievements over the past year have been recognised by our peers in the pharma industry and academia” said PMBRC Manager Dr Niall O’Reilly, speaking after the awards ceremony on Thursday. “Over the past 12 months we have significantly grown our research activity, won major funding awards and increased our engagement with industry and international academic partners. We are particularly proud of our commercialisation activities which resulted in 6 licence agreements and the formation of two WIT spin out companies, OcuDel Ltd. and BioEnz Technologies Ltd.”

Earlier this year, PMBRC partnered with the Eco-Innovation Research Centre in WIT, University Hospital Waterford and BioEnz Technologies Ltd. to improve the speed of COVID-19 testing under the SFI-coordinated research and innovation response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding of €118,000, competitively secured through the joint Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and IDA initiative to tackle the scientific challenges posed by COVID-19, has allowed PMBRC researchers to be active in COVID-19 research with two major projects on PCR testing and anti-viral inhaler formulations underway.

Although this is the first time for PMBRC to win the Research Centre of the Year, they are no stranger to awards having picked up the R&D Achievement prize in 2017 and 2019. They also won the “Outstanding Academic Achievement Award in the field of Digital Technology” at the 2019 Technology Ireland Awards in collaboration with WIT’s TSSG research centre.

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