Waterford News

Tramore Christmas Festival 2019

Let's gather at the Fairy Snow Queen's House outside Apache Pizza on Thursday, 5th December and follow her and her special friends down Main Street at 5pm in search of Santa, because we really need him to turn on the Christmas lights! There will be musical performances and a fabulous Christmas market on Queen Street, plus more.

Santa will be too busy to join us on 13th and 20th December but don't worry, the Fairy Snow Queen and her friends will still be there to lead us in song down Main Street and don't forget to look out for the fairies in the windows on your way!

This event is being run by Waterford Chamber, in association with Waterford City & County Council and is free for all to attend. 

ISEDO new websiteA new website, www.irelandsoutheast.com, has been launched for investors and professionals to learn more about the South East region as a place to live, work and invest. The site offers practical information and case studies of successful businesses and professionals in the region such as Innovate, Eirgen Pharma, Cartoon Saloon and Alltech.

The website takes an innovative, story based approach in showing the benefits of the region through the people and businesses who are finding success here.

Seamus Kilgannon, founder of Schivo and owner of the WorkLAB office space in Waterford stated, “Ireland South East is the sixth fastest growing region in the EU and the most affordable city region in Ireland. Globally renowned brands based here are offering really exciting and challenging careers, and all of this takes places in a beautifully scenic region with great communities. People can be employed by global companies and be cycling a Greenway ten minutes after they finish work.”

Alan Quirke, Director of the Ireland South East Development Office which created the website explains, “I think there is strong familiarity about the South East as an affordable and great place to live. What is less well known are the opportunities and benefits for businesses and professionals in a region with almost 600,000 people and where the key urban centres are all within close proximity of each other.”

“For businesses, we are one of the fastest growing regions in Europe, we are Ireland’s best value region and we also have a broad pool of talent. Equally importantly, we have a unique collaborative culture and we can make it easy for investors to start, grow and scale here. When you look deeper and hear of some of the dynamic stories, you get to see how Ireland South East offers such a great mosaic of global success stories, community and lifestyle that you can’t access as easily anywhere else.”

The new website is accompanied by a fast-paced video filmed around the South East in summer 2019 which serves as a whistle-stop tour of everything good the region has to offer, all accompanied by a high octane soundtrack from South East-based artist Rarely Seen Above Ground (RSAG).

The Ireland South East Development Office is a regional collaboration initiative of the five local authorities of the South East (Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford) and is the first office of its kind in Ireland.

Full details can be found at www.irelandsoutheast.com

WIT Technology Ireland Awards 2019WIT was winner of the Technology Ireland Industry Awards ‘Outstanding Academic Achievement Award in the field of Digital Technology’ for ‘Digital DNA Storage Infrastructure of the Future’ project which involves an infrastructure that supports encoding of digital transformation in DNA, which will lead to a new form of data storage for the future

The eagerly awaited Technology Ireland Industry Awards took place on Friday, 22nd November in the Mansion House, Dublin.

Considered the most coveted awards ceremony within the Irish technology sector, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) research centres TSSG and PMBRC patiently waited to hear their project announced as winner of the ‘Outstanding Academic Achievement Award in the field of Digital Technology’. Dr Sasitharan Balasubramaniam, Director of Research in TSSG and Dr Lee Coffey, Principal Investigator in Molecular Biology in the PMBRC and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in TSSG, proudly accepted the award on Friday last.

The project, titled ‘Digital DNA Storage Infrastructure of the Future’, involves an infrastructure that supports encoding of digital transformation in DNA, which will lead to a new form of data storage for the future. This research was featured on RTE News as well as MIT Tech Review and the future looks bright for this project.

Speaking after the win, Dr Sasitharan Balasubramaniam expressed his appreciation for being chosen as a winner “This project really demonstrates the cutting edge multi-disciplinary ICT research that is being conducted in TSSG, looking in particular to how ICT should look 10 or even 20 years from today. This also demonstrates how blue-sky research can lead to possible technologies that industry can use in the future”

“I am delighted to win this award and to receive the recognition alongside our colleagues in TSSG for this work,” said Dr Lee Coffey. “The practical implementation of the TSSG-led DNA data storage concepts carried out in the PMBRC labs builds upon years of expertise in molecular biology research at the centre. The interface between the life sciences and data technology is an exciting space and we look forward to developing this research further with Huawei, our industry partner,” Dr Coffey continued.

Also attending the prestigious ceremony was Prof Wille Donnelly, President of Waterford Institute of Technology and founder of TSSG. The president congratulated both Dr Balasubramaniam and Dr Coffey on winning this accolade. Prof Donnelly stated that “It’s a fantastic achievement and recognition of the institute’s international leadership in research excellence.” This follows the PBMRC Research and Development award at the Pharma Industry awards 2019 for the second year running.

The project, funded by Huawei, has the capability to store the resonant equivalent of 70 billion copies of books into a single gram of DNA, and this technique is set to revolutionize the field of data storage. The practical applications are endless for example, in the coming years humans will be able to store their own and their ancestral medical history in their own DNA; food supplies can carry traceability information in the food itself; and energy burning data centres will become a thing of the past. The benefits lie in an architecture that can allow libraries of information to be created (e.g. music and movie files, and this data could be for long-term archive systems). This can benefit cloud infrastructure providers who are continuously expanding their data centres who are energy hungry, to select alternative systems that can potentially store large quantity of data and use low quantity energy, which will result in a significant reduction of carbon footprint.

This could mean that future data centres will have a combination of silicon technology that are found in the current system, combined with a biological infrastructure that stores information for long-term archives. The research is also developing anti-malware system to create future solutions for cyber security software industry to protect infrastructures for DNA storage.

Kevin Doolin, Director of Innovation in TSSG comments on the win “We are very proud of this research, and while this seems like science fiction, the practical applications of this breakthrough technology are everywhere. Imagine a future where you, and your ancestors' entire medical history is stored in your body, or where a piece of steak contains un-hackable traceability information.”

The next step in this project is to develop various types of practical applications for DNA storage, and in particular for creating libraries that can store various types of files, and to be able to read as well as write to the storage infrastructure.

Both research centres are part of the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network Programme which funds interactions between local and national industry and institutes of technology and aims to increase the levels of interaction between the IoTs and industry in Ireland.

LEO Shana ChuLocal Enterprise Office Waterford is inviting submissions from those with a business idea or are in start-up phase to apply for its 2020 Desk Programme.

The Desk programme will provide free desk space at one of Ireland’s most exciting innovative co-working hubs, Boxworks Co Work Space, along with an appointed LEO business advisor for six months from January 2020.

The inaugural programme proved a big success with three start-up businesses making Boxworks their home earlier this year.

Shana Chu, founder of STYL.wrap, a technology suite of easy-to-use sizing solutions for online fashion retailers, recently completed her Boxworks residency.

“It was a fantastic experience and one that afforded me opportunities to expand my network and collaborate with co-workers. Having such a diverse range of companies and individuals situated in Boxworks was great…when I was stuck in my head and needed a sounding board or advice everyone banded together to help."

“A coworking environment is a healthy environment. Being surrounded by inspiring entrepreneurs means you feed off their energy. This enthusiasm gave me the confidence to face the challenges of starting of a new business.”

“Having access to a dedicated business advisor was also another huge benefit of the Desk Programme. Our monthly meetings really helped me to focus on the direction of the business and put specific goals in place to help me achieve growth.”

David Walsh, Local Enterprise Office Waterford, is looking forward to welcoming some of Waterford’s newest entrepreneurs to the Desk Programme in 2020. “We’ve seen how this programme has already benefitted three great start-ups in 2019, and we would anticipate the same success in 2020.”

“Boxworks Co Work Space has proved the ideal environment for new enterprises to learn and grow. For anyone starting a business or has a good business idea, the chance to work in a creative and connected co-working environment is a real plus.”

Jim “Flash” Gordan of Boxworks added, “Currently Boxworks houses twenty-five small businesses, freelancers, entrepreneurs and visionaries. Being surrounded by that level of creativity, enthusiasm and business acumen will be a huge bonus to any entrepreneur thinking of embarking on their enterprise journey.”

“In fact, research by Coworker.com found that those who share co-working spaces are 80% more sociable, 27% more productive and get 37% more leads, so we fully believe that the experience of the entrepreneurs at Boxworks will be one that benefits them both professionally and personally.”

Closing date for applications to the LEO Waterford Desk Programme is 4pm, Thursday, December 19th. To apply visit www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/ or call into Local Enterprise Office Waterford at 35, The Mall, Waterford for an application form.

007 Winterval2016 highresWaterford city will light up with Christmas cheer as Winterval, Ireland’s largest Christmas festival, kicks off Saturday, 23 November. Arriving at Winterval at 4.15pm to meet the public, Santa will help the Mayor of Waterford City & County Council Cllr. John Pratt turn on the city’s Christmas lights at 5pm.

Attracting over 500,000 visitors each year, Winterval runs from 23 November to 23 December with over 60 free and ticketed events. For more details see www.winterval.ie.

Festival Director Tommie Ryan said: “We are delighted to welcome Santa to Waterford city on Saturday to celebrate the start of Winterval and to help the Mayor Cllr. John Pratt switch on the Christmas lights. Santa will be ready to meet, shake hands and pose for selfies with all the girls and boys who have come out to see him. We invite everyone to come down to Waterford city on Saturday as it is sure to be an exciting evening full of Christmas cheer.

“As Ireland’s Christmas capital, Waterford city will be transformed into a magical winter wonderland with over 60 free and ticketed events on offer every weekend right up to 23 December. Visitors will be enchanted by the brand-new interactive Wizards + Dragons exhibition at Waterford City Hall and the magical Santa’s Grotto experience in Choristers Hall. Pop your skates on and take to the 600sqm of real ice at Winterval On Ice on Bolton Street. If it is the perfect Christmas gift you are after, then come on down to the Garter Lane Christmas Crafts Fair or the Christmas markets and pop-up shops at Arundel Square and Cathedral Square. There really is something for everyone to enjoy.”

Further highlights include the iconic big wheel, Waterford Eye, at Merchants Quay and a brand-new 3D music and lights show for Winterval Illuminates taking place every evening at Cathedral Square. Ireland’s renowned street theatre company, Spraoi will put on a never-before-seen free festive wonderland Spraoi na Nollag at Constitution Square with magical creatures coming to life between 5pm–8pm.

Visitors can journey through the heart of Winterval on the Winterval Express Train and Horse Drawn Sleigh, and Santa’s Giant Post Box will be at The Applemarket, with special shows on Saturdays and Sundays during Winterval from Waterford Academy of Music & Art.

Tommie added: “Through the support of Waterford City & County Council, along with our sponsors, stakeholders, local businesses, volunteers, and the general public, Winterval is made possible. Bookings for all events are available at www.winterval.ie.”

For full details, visit www.winterval.ie or see:

•      Facebook: @WintervalWaterford

•      Twitter: @Winterval_WAT

•      Instagram: @winterval_waterford

RIKON Lean Award 2019Dr Michael O’ Meara and Dr Felicity Kelliher, members of the RIKON research group (www.rikon.ie) at Waterford Institute of Technology School of Business have won the Lean Learning Award at the Lean Business Ireland Awards Ceremony 2019.

Sponsored by University of Limerick and attracting entrants from across the third level education sector, the Lean Business Awards celebrate enterprise excellence and recognises researchers whose work makes a significant contribution to improving Lean practice and operational excellence in Ireland.

“The award”, Dr O’Meara says, “is a clear recognition of the importance of this research and the currency it holds by those representing the community of experts in lean enterprise excellence.”

Dr O’Meara and Dr Kelliher’s study is entitled 'The articulation and codification of tacit knowledge in the Irish medical technology sector'.

Funded by the Government of Ireland Scholarship programme, this research documents research undertaken over a three years period which explores how undocumented knowledge is articulated and recorded in the Irish medical technology sector. The nationwide study focuses on those organisations who have won industry excellence certification, such as the highly prestigious Shingo Award.

Findings suggest that employees are an important but often untapped knowledge resource and that people’s knowledge is released most efficiently when people are motivated to speak and share their knowledge with others in formal and informal ways. Once people have shared what they know, the challenge is that the organisation must then capture that knowledge, and ensure that it is not recorded elsewhere. The study reveals that immediate informal knowledge capture techniques are essential to maximise the recording of valuable knowledge that will otherwise be forgotten or remain intangible. Even when documented, the study highlights the need for knowledge to be disseminated in formats that are easy to access, amend and update. Significantly, the study also finds that knowledge is lost when employees are burdened by complex and time-consuming codification techniques, reinforcing the need for fast, simple capture techniques.

On a practical level, the research by Drs O’Meara and Kelliher, provides a framework to inform and guide Lean practitioners on how best to elicit and make explicit employees’ tacit knowledge and embed this knowledge within their organisations. Findings of the study support the OECD’s bid to increase competitive advantage among manufacturing firms and aligns with the Irish Centre for Manufacturing Research (2016) objectives relating to manufacturing excellence.

Dr O’Meara contends that, “This research will support the drive towards continuous improvement within Irish manufacturing and support Irish businesses to remain competitive within national and international markets.”

Visit Waterford Tourism Analysis Promotional PlanThere was a great sense of celebration and enthusiasm at Tramore Racecourse for the launch of the Visit Waterford Tourism Analysis and Promotional Plan.

Officially opening the event Mayor of Waterford, Cllr John Pratt spoke of the importance of delivering the message that Waterford has the very best to offer in terms of tourism.

Food and drink producers from all over the county were on hand showcasing exactly why Waterford was chosen as the Foodie Destination of Ireland 2019, which added to the celebratory atmosphere.

Detailing the promotional plan, Chair of Visit Waterford, David McCoy said: “It provides a plan for Waterford to become a complete destination for both domestic and international visitors. It also provides a framework for all businesses with a stake in Tourism, to participate in the promotion of Waterford alongside their business.”

He went on to outline the Visit Waterford Marketing objectives, which include activating the ‘Waterford, Where Ireland Begins’ brand, building awareness of Waterford as a destination, creating targeted promotional marketing material and a three-year implementation plan, as well as encouraging and developing collaborative links with tourism providers.

Visit Waterford, which is a membership organisation, have already identified a number of campaigns to target International and domestic visitors to stay in Waterford and created a content bank for members, which includes new images of the city and county, along with social and promotional videos. A new website has also been developed with the support of Waterford City & County Council and can be viewed at www.visitwaterford.com.

The underlying message from the launch is one of collaboration, with stakeholders coming together to promote Waterford to a national and international audience, which was endorsed by Sarah Fitzpatrick on behalf of Failte Ireland.

The promotional plan is in line with the Ireland’s Ancient East objectives and has the full support of Failte Ireland.

ArcLabs WITA recent €2.5m investment by Enterprise Ireland into the research and innovation hub ArcLabs at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has had a major impact on expanding the south east’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The new 1,000 sqm extension of ArcLabs – officially opened on 15 November 2019 by John Halligan T.D. Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development  - is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through Enterprise Ireland and consists of office and support space for 100 extra people.

The recently completed extension represents an important next step in the Institute’s plans for establishing an entrepreneurial platform that will accelerate economic development and position the region as a global leader in the digital economy.

ArcLabs, based on WIT’s West Campus and overlooking the Waterford Greenway was established in 2005 and represents a unique environment of entrepreneurship and innovation where academic research, enterprise supports and regional stakeholders come together to make ideas work. Critically, the colocation of ArcLabs and the Telecommunications, Software and Systems Group (TSSG) has been fundamental to the development of the South East as a leading region of excellence in the technology space.

Speaking at the event, ArcLabs Manager Dr Aisling O’Neill described Enterprise Ireland’s investment as pivotal. “We are so grateful for this support from Enterprise Ireland in the South East which has enabled us to double our incubation capacity in our West campus site, enabling us to increase our impact in supporting entrepreneurship in the region. We look forward to continuing to foster our relationship with Enterprise Ireland which is instrumental to realising the ambition of ArcLabs to support a truly sustainable regional economy in South East Ireland.”

ArcLabs is recognised as a key economic driver for the South-East region and currently houses 33 start-ups, early-stage companies and entrepreneurs. In addition, the highly successful New Frontiers Programme and the NDRC at ArcLabs Accelerator Programme are run from the centre.

The new facility was crucial to attracting NDRC to establish its accelerator in the south east and also integral to the Spearline jobs announcement last month.

Commenting on the announcement, Martin Corkery, Regional Director, South & South East Regions, Enterprise Ireland said: “Supporting regionally based businesses across a variety of sectors to start, scale and expand their reach in overseas markets is a core objective of Enterprise Ireland’s work. Our partnership with Waterford Institute of Technology at ArcLabs continues to be an essential element of our overarching strategy to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the South East region.

“There are already indigenous businesses at varying stages in their development that are utilising the ArcLabs facility to step up and seize the opportunities for growth by driving research and innovation which is encouraging to see. By investing €2.5m in the opening of the extension to the hub at Waterford Institute of Technology’s West Campus, Enterprise Ireland is focused on nurturing and promoting even more of the new and unique business ideas being developed in the region.

“With the coordinated support of Enterprise Ireland, ArcLabs and Waterford Institute of Technology, a greater number of entrepreneurs can now benefit from this extension and use it to embark on turning their project or idea into an efficient, profitable exporting business. All our team look forward to seeing their evolution and future success.”

John Halligan T.D. Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development said:

“ArcLabs incubation centre has already contributed significantly to the South-Eastern economy and to the social development of the region. It supports job creation, new start-up companies as well as facilitating companies re-locating to Waterford. The new extension has delivered on the ambition of this institution to double company capacity in the facility. This is truly a momentous achievement for all involved and I look forward to seeing what future success stories will emerge from ArcLabs.”

Speakers at the event included: Dr Aisling O’Neill, Manager, ArcLabs, Prof Willie Donnelly, Mayor of Waterford, Cllr John Pratt, John Halligan T.D. Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development and Regional Director for Enterprise Ireland, Martin Corkery.

WIT President, Prof Willie Donnelly said the impact of ArcLabs cannot be underestimated and was achieved through the vision of the people in Enterprise Ireland and HEA.

“Doubling the size of ArcLabs allows us to look at the delivery of an integrated set of entrepreneurial and business development supports to other incubation centres through the south east region and thus helping to attract high technology companies into the region and support HPSUs within the region.”

Key industry leaders from the region were in attendance as well as companies based in ArcLabs, representatives of the development agencies and local and regional authorities.

Following the success of the ArcLabs expansion in attracting digital technology companies, WIT plans to expand into attracting the development of more life sciences and engineering companies to the south east, tapping into the innovation infrastructure of the PMBRC and SEAM Technology Gateways in Waterford Institute of Technology.


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