Waterford News

Suir Valley VenturesThe award-winning artificial intelligence (AI) software firm, Artomatix, has completed a funding round lead by Suir Valley Ventures totalling €2.7m.

The investment will help the Dublin-based firm, whose patented software has been proven to reduce the time needed for expensive 3D art creation by as much as 80%, to accelerate their market delivery worldwide.

Artomatix uses machine learning to radically speed up the slowest part of the scan-based artistic workflow.

Textures and backgrounds in 3D game-space have been radically enhanced by scan-based design, and photogrammetry is fast becoming the gold standard for high-end 3D content in games, movies, industrial prototyping and interior design.

End results of photogrammetry can, however, take months or even years to deliver, and requires significant investment.

The hotly anticipated remake of cult classic game Resident Evil 2 from Capcom has been in development since 2015.

The game uses scans of real world clothing to ensure movie-quality textures and finishes.

Artomatix uses neural-nets to reduce the time needed to handle many aspects of the scan-based artistic workflow.

Their software has been exciting 3D artists at AAA Studios around the globe, who took note when NVIDIA awarded the firm $100K and the label of most promising start-up in 2015.

Since then, it has been further developing its software and building its client base, now focusing on using the funds of €2.7m to accelerate market delivery worldwide.

Artomatix CEO, Joe Blake, said: "The really exciting thing for me is to see how 3D design concepts pioneered in the entertainment space have become standard for product design and visualisation within mainstream industries like fashion, furniture and automotive."

Suir Valley Ventures Managing Partner, Barry Downes, said: "We believe Artomatix not only complements our existing portfolio, it also allows us to access the new convergence of 3D design and AI. Artomatix technology is about to change every industry exposed to 3D content, cutting costs, speeding up the rendering process and enabling the creation of truly groundbreaking graphics."

WIT Strategy John Paul PhelanWaterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) recently published Strategic Plan makes special provision for the Irish language and strongly supports Co Waterford’s Gaeltacht na nDéise.

Dr Richard Hayes, Vice President for Strategy at WIT, said the institute was keen to ensure particular reference to Gaeltacht na nDéise and to WIT’s activities there in its new strategy.

“It is a strong mark of regional distinctiveness that we have a Gaeltacht in Waterford,” he said. “We are very strongly committed to supporting the regional Gaeltacht and are keen to build on existing successful partners into the future.”

An example of existing joint activity is WIT’s collaboration with Nemeton TV in An Rinn which has been beneficial to the community, the language and partner organisations within the television, media and related industries.  The postgraduate Higher Diploma in Arts in Television and Digital Media Production, developed by WIT and Nemeton TV in partnership with Údarás na Gaeltachta, has been successfully preparing new media talent since 2006 and is widely recognised within the industry for the quality of training graduates receive. The year-long course is designed to provide students with the essential practical skills in order to work as bilingual professionals in the television and digital video industry. Graduates to date have gone on to play key roles in the broadcast media and film industries in Ireland.

According to Course Leader Moira Sweeney, “The participants on the course benefit from learning in both an academic setting and a live television production environment. The collaboration between Nemeton TV and WIT ensures that the course stays abreast of the growth in new technologies”.

According to Dr Hayes WIT plans to create another course to be delivered entirely through Irish in the coming number of years as well as to extend opportunities for staff and students to study the language.

“We will be working with all the partners in An Rinn to bring additional activity to the region. The model we have with Nemeton has been enormously successful and has been industry leading. We would like to continue to assist in attracting talented, creative people to the region by offering these kinds of cutting-edge courses.”

Dr Hayes also notes that Irish becomes an official working language of the EU in 2022, and in July there were more than 70 European Union translator roles in Brussels and Luxembourg advertised.

WIT offers Irish as a language option on a number of undergraduate courses such as Bachelor of Business (Honours) in Business; Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology; and Bachelor of Arts (Hons).

WIT’s Strategy 2018-2021 was published earlier this summer and indicates that WIT plans to be within the Top 100 universities under 50 years old in the world by 2030 through the Technological University process.

Sean Burke from Enterprise Ireland, the National Contact Point for the H2020 SME Instrument and Fast Track to Innovation(FTI) is holding an Information Session in Arclabs, Waterford Institute of Technology on Tuesday, 16th October @ 10.00am in the Boardroom, Arclabs, Carriganore.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about these two Instruments which are specifically designed to support SMEs and engagement between SMEs and Research Centres. More details on each programme below. To register your attendance please email Philomena Treacy on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SME Instrument

Funding and support for innovative Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

Are you an innovative, high-flying small or medium-sized business with European and global ambitions? Are you looking for substantial funding to develop and scale up your idea? And could you make use of business development resources and coaching to take your company forward? Then the SME Instrument is for you.

Who should apply? 

We are looking for high growth, highly innovative SMEs with global ambitions. You should be actively investing in innovation, and looking to grow. You should have been established for a while – further than the start-up stage.

EIC Fast Track to Innovation (FTI)

Supports close-to-market innovation activities

The Fast Track to innovation (FTI) scheme targets radically new, breakthrough products, services, processes or business models that open up new markets. It is a fully-bottom-up measure in Horizon 2020 promoting close-to-the-market innovation activities that is open to all types of participants. FTI aims to reduce the time from idea to market and aims to nurture trans-disciplinary and cross-sector approaches.  It offers up to €3 million to consortia composed of 3 to 5 partners (including research centres and SMEs) with time-to-grant (from the cut-off to the signature of the grant) of around 6 months.  The participating SMEs also have access to free business coaching and acceleration services.

Proposals for the Fast Track to Innovation scheme can be submitted at any time with 3 cut off dates per year.

The government announcement of a €500m Disruptive Technologies Innovation (DTI) Fund has been greeted with enthusiasm at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) which is one of the key partners in a Disruptive Innovation-themed conference under way today.

Amplitude, which runs in Waterford’s WIT Arena on 3 October 2018 is led by research centres in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and Institute of Technology Carlow (IT Carlow).

Speaking ahead of the Amplitude conference, a new conference aimed at businesses and innovators which will demonstrate how availing of Government funding to collaborate with researchers, Dr Richard Hayes, Vice President for Strategy at WIT, said: “We welcome the creation by government of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. Given WIT’s expertise in this domain where we are industry and academic leaders, the opportunity exists to attract a significant body of this funding to Waterford and the region. Indeed, more than this, the opportunity exists now to redefine the city and region as technologically advanced and technologically ‘smart’. Technology should define what we do and how we do it and we have the chance now to position Waterford as Ireland’s leading smart city.”

The DTI fund announcement was made recently by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD and Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD.

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development and Waterford native, John Halligan, who launched the Amplitude conference stated: “The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund will allow us to take research that is being performed in both the public and private sectors in such areas as healthcare, energy efficiency and sustainable agriculture and develop new solutions from that research, helping to build an ecosystem around disruptive technology and innovation and creating new markets for our enterprise sector. We have top-class enterprises and researchers in this country and I want to see proposals under this Fund that involve collaboration between industry, colleges and public sector bodies. Combining their strengths, successful project partners will help us to build new markets and tackle important societal challenges for the benefit of the people of Ireland.”

Dr Hayes referred to the recently published WIT Strategic Plan 2018-2021. “WIT has put technology strongly into its strategy for the coming period, building on the existing strengths of the college. In particular we aim to increase our activity in digitally-enabled and enhanced teaching.”

“This is just one example of how technology should increasingly be central to what we do,” Dr Hayes continued. “This thinking needs to permeate everything in the city and region. Already in WIT we are at the cutting edge in smart agriculture, in augmented and virtual reality, and other areas.”

King of the Vikings

Established in 2002, Travellers' Choice awards are the highest honour TripAdvisor can bestow. The only travel industry awards based on millions of reviews and opinions from travellers around the world, these annual awards reflect "the best of the best" for service, quality, and customer satisfaction, from hotels and accommodations to destinations, attractions, and even brands and products.

Travellers' Choice award winners are selected annually based on feedback from millions of TripAdvisor members. Travellers' Choice awards single out not just popular choices, but truly exceptional ones that keep travellers coming back. This award is our highest recognition and is presented annually to the top 1% of businesses across select categories.

The King of the Vikings is also the #1 Attraction on TripAdvisor for Waterford city too!

 

Winterval17 03Winterval, Ireland's biggest Christmas festival that is taking place in Waterford city, welcomes an exciting new Santa experience this year.

Tickets for this never-before-seen Santa attraction at Ireland’s Christmas Capital are now on sale at www.winterval.ie. The full programme of events for the 7th annual Winterval — running from 17 November to 23 December — will be unveiled in mid-October.

Waterford event creation specialists, Momentum Events, will create an ‘Enchanted Christmas’ Santa Experience at the Old Sorting Office, Custom House Quay for Winterval 2018.

New Festival Director, Tommie Ryan said: “We are delighted to be working with Momentum Events, who bring years of experience with them to create an all new Santa experience at Winterval 2018. The Enchanted Christmas attraction will be in the old post office at Custom House Quay, in the heart of Waterford City, and only moments away from the festival market.

“Not only will children meet Santa himself, they can enjoy storytelling with Mrs Claus and get involved in an exciting narrative, by helping the elves find Santa’s missing sleigh. A truly immersive and enchanting attraction, we invite both young and old alike to experience the magic of Christmas at Winterval.”

Bookings for festival favourites, Winterval on Ice at the Gasworks, Waterside; Winterval Express Train; and the Horse Drawn Sleigh, are also now open at www.winterval.ie.

The ‘Enchanted Christmas’ Santa Experience is priced €17 per child accompanied by up to two adults. Both the Winterval Express Train (€6 adults and €5 children) and Horse Drawn Sleigh (€7 adults and €6 children) feature a festive tour through the heart of Waterford’s historic city centre.

The full Winterval 2018 programme, which will include some exciting new additions, will be unveiled in mid-October. The majority of events will be free-of-charge.

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

CIPD

CIPD South East Regional Committee cordially invite you to the launch of our 18/19 Events Calendar.

As is tradition we will kick off with our Employment Law Breakfast which will be held on Wednesday, 17th October 2018 at 7.30am in The Woodlands Hotel, Waterford with our loyal sponsors Hartley People.

This event will be beneficial for HR professionals, line managers, start-up companies and any professional wanting to keep up to date with employment legislation. You will also have an opportunity to network, gain CPD and raise your profile.

Let Adrian Twomey of Jacob and Twomey Solicitors provide you with an update on recent and pending developments in employment law while you enjoy a coffee and croissant. Among the issues that he will be opening our eyes on are:

  • The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017;
  • The new Code of Practice for Determining Employment or Self-Employment Status;
  • The impact of GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 on employers in Ireland;
  • Developments in relation to retirement ages and pensions;
  • Recent developments at the WRC; and
  • Noteworthy recent decisions in employment cases.

There will be time for a Q&A at the end. We will also be looking for your feedback in relation to our proposed next event.

Bookings: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/employment-law-breakfast-cipd-south-east-tickets-50112782682

DrCíaraLosty

The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) is delighted to bring the Society’s 2018 Autumn Winter Public Lecture Series to Waterford. On Thursday 27 September at 6.30pm, Dr Cíara Losty will present a free public talk at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) to launch the PSI’s 2018 Lecture Series. The talk, entitled Applying Sport Psychology to Your Daily Life, is free to attend and will take place in the Auditorium on the main WIT campus.

Dr Cíara Losty is a lecturer in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology in WIT and is accredited as a Professional Member by the Irish Institute of Sport Professional Quality Assurance Committee in the area of Sport Psychology delivery. She is also an Associate Member of the PSI’s Division of Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology. Through her work with various Irish Olympians, and other athletes competing at a high level, Cíara has gained excellent insight into the mental skills and techniques used by athletes.

Cíara will draw on her expertise to explore how performance psychology teaches athletes, and the general public, techniques on how to harness their strengths and manage their emotions. In sport, athletes and players often call on their mental skills training to manage pressure, aid focus, enhance their performance consistency, and to handle loss and disappointment. Cíara will explore how such skills can be applied to non-athletes and everyday life. Cíara states: “We all have an area in which we want to excel. This free public talk will focus on how we can apply some of those skills used by athletes into our own daily lives and practices in order to enhance our overall well-being”.

This is the first time that a PSI Autumn Winter Public Lecture Series talk will be held in Waterford. Earlier in 2018, WIT hosted the PSI’s Psychology Matters Day which proved to be a hugely successful event. PSI CEO Terri Morrissey states: “With WIT offering two undergraduate Psychology courses accredited by the PSI, the Society is keen to run various public events in Waterford, and in other areas around the country where PSI accredited Psychology programmes are being run. WIT was a wonderful support when the PSI’s Psychology Matters Day initiative took place there in May of this year, so we are delighted to once again be working with WIT in offering the free public talk on Thursday 27 September. The aim of PSI’s free public talks is the make Psychology more accessible to the general public and to create an awareness of psychology in our everyday lives”.

For more information, and to book a free place at the talk, see www.psychologicalsociety.ie.

 

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