Waterford News


Thursday, 19th July at 6.00pm at Boxworks, Patrick Street, Waterford.

Design thinking, is a human centered approach to problem solving. So! How can businesses benefit from a creative approach of problem solving in a business? Why did I choose this product? What value does it bring to me?

“Designing a business isn’t a one-time activity; it’s a continuous and evolving pursuit. Every component of a business can be tested, and all components must work elegantly together to successfully sustain your offer out in the world.” —Kerry O’Connor, IDEO Design Director

Today, new businesses can come from almost anywhere to serve nearly anyone, and a great business can change the world.

Over 92% of businesses now recognise that creative thinking is one of the critical elements of business design. Businesses need to move faster, network more and be open to a more collaborative approach. Within the next 5 years these skills are going to be the most important needed for any business in going forward into the future.

With that in mind, the STEAMWORKS team have put together a formidable panel of experts to take us on a journey of thought; discussion & practice for ‘Design in Business.’

Speakers include:

Diarmuid Reil Owner/Architect Diarmuid Reil Architects - 'Spatial Design'

Lesley Tully Head of Design Thinking Bank of Ireland - 'Design Thinking'

Louise Allen Head of Innovation and Development DCCoI - 'Ireland - Design Island'

fuse:d presents a Case study with Yvonne Rath Creative Director Pixelpod - Design Thinking: How to Brand a Region'

Chairperson Jennifer O'Connell National media Journalist

Join us at this gathering of creative thinkers and be part of #STEAMWORKS journey into 'Design in Business'

Book your place here: https://events.bizzabo.com/DesigninBusiness

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is to play a central role in the digital transformation of the agri-food sector in Europe.

EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Phil Hogan today (Monday 9 July) launched (subject to grant agreement) the first of nine regional clusters which will act as a one-stop-shop for two million farmers across the EU and the agri-food industry to access agri tech research and supports.

The €20m SmartAgriHubs project aims to build a pan-European network of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) and Centres of Competence in all 28 European Member States co-ordinated through nine regional clusters. The SmartAgriHubs project is a new way for farmers, advisors and agtech SMES to engage with research centres and research-active higher education institutions. As part of the project 80 new solutions will be introduced into the market. €6m has been set aside for open calls during the lifetime of the project.

As the co-ordinator for the UK and Ireland regional cluster WIT, which has developed smart agri expertise through its Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) research centre, will be the central point of contact for farmers, advisors, ag tech and agri-food companies who want to avail of technology solutions from across Europe to farming and business problems.

Speaking at a launch event were: EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Phil Hogan, Dr George Beers, Project Coordinator, Wagingen University & Research; President of WIT, Prof Willie Donnelly; Director of Research, Teagasc, Prof Frank O’Mara and Deputy Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Ciarán Seoighe.

WIT President, Prof Willie Donnelly, founder of TSSG and a long time champion of smart agriculture welcomed the announcement. “The designation of WIT as a regional cluster lead is significant for Ireland. It puts us at the centre of agtech in Europe. WIT has been at the forefront of smart agri through our research centre TSSG. We are honoured to bring our twenty years expertise into becoming a one stop shop which will put agricultural technology into the hands of farmers, SMEs and agri-food organisations. We look forward to working in consultation with them on tech solutions available both locally and across the EU.”

EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Phil Hogan said: “The European Commission has recognised that we need to ramp up our efforts in relation to agri-innovation if we want to maintain our competitive advantage in this century. Agriculture needs to become smarter, leaner and cleaner, while maintaining our trademark EU commitment to high quality and safety standards. Projects such as SmartAgriHubs will lead the way, and I commend WIT for its central involvement.

“The Commission recently published its proposal for the next European budget 2021-2027, and it includes the most ambitious research and innovation programme ever. The Commission is proposing €100 billion for Horizon Europe – of which €10 billion is dedicated to the Food and Agriculture space: a breakthrough. I encourage Irish operators to keep a close eye on the calls for projects as they open. There will be enormous potential to do even more in the coming years.”

Deputy Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Ciarán Seoighe said: “I am delighted to welcome this important EU-supported SmartAgriHubs project. Science Foundation Ireland has to-date invested over €57 million across 200 research projects in areas of significance to the Agriculture sector. With several SFI-funded research projects and SFI Research Centres working in the likes of precision dairy, bio-economy, data analytics and bioengineering, Ireland is establishing itself as a knowledge leader in the global SmartAgri sector. Innovation and collaborative partnerships are central to this, and clearly underpin this initiative being led by WIT. Science Foundation Ireland looks forward to working with all of the partners involved, as we move into an exciting new era of cutting-edge innovation, creativity and sustainability in agriculture.”
As the lead institute for research and innovation in agri-food in Ireland, Teagasc will play a central role in SmartAgriHubs. Teagasc, working with WIT, will lead two flagship innovation experiments in the project that demonstrate how technology can be used effectively in farming.

According to Frank O’Mara, Director of Research at Teagasc, “this is an exciting opportunity for Ireland, Teagasc and the other partners to step up our role in the application of digital technologies in Irish and European agriculture. The sector has great opportunity with the rising global demand for high quality food and nutrition, but also faces many challenges such as profitability, climate change, water quality, and must also compete with other sectors for the people talent needed for the sector. Agri-tech has an important role to play in realising the opportunities while overcoming the challenges. We have put agri-tech at the heart of our strategy and are delighted to be leading two of the 28 Flagship Innovation Experiments that will take place across Europe. We are looking forward to bringing our expertise and connections in this area to SmartAgriHub”

George Beers, Project Manager at the Wageningen University & Research and SmartAgriHubs Project Coordinator commented: “SmartAgriHubs will not only increase the competitiveness and sustainability of Europe’s agri-food sector. It will become the 4th industrial revolution that will strategically re-orient the digital European agricultural innovation ecosystem towards excellence and success. Together with our 108 partners we believe SmartAgriHubs will unlock the potential of digitization by creating a pan-European network of Digital Innovation Hubs, organize an inclusive ecosystem around them and foster them to achieve their full innovation acceleration capacity.”

DIHs in each region will have an adequate portfolio of mature innovation services through which farmers, advisors, agtech SMEs, can get access to the latest, knowledge, technology and expertise in a one-stop-shop.

South East Relocation Survey Launch

The South East of Ireland is a popular and increasingly sought after relocation choice for people seeking a better quality of life, standard of living and increased disposable income.

In IDA client companies alone, there was a 9.2% increase in employment in the South East Region during 2017 - the highest growth rate of any region in Ireland, including Dublin.

South East Relocation Survey Launch Report

The reason Collins McNicholas carried out the relocation survey was to gain an insight into the specific motivations of the numbers of professionals who have relocated and to gain a better understanding of the quality of life and career impact since making this transition.

We surveyed 288 people who have relocated to the region and are currently working in the South East area. The results showed that 33% of those surveyed relocated to the South East from outside of Ireland highlighting the increasing attractiveness of the region. 76% of professionals have seen an increase in their disposable income and 95% reported having an improved work/life balance since relocating. 86% of respondents reported their commute to be under 40 minutes and 75% considered rental prices to be lower in the South East than those lived in prior to relocation.

The results are showing that a much improved quality of life, increased spending power and progressive career opportunities are reasons why many highly-educated professionals have been making the move to the sunny South East.

A full electronic copy of the Survey can be downloaded here:


founder friday

Friday, 6th July at Revolution Bar from 6pm–9pm.

This is a special themed night with 4 speakers from the NDRC@ArcLabs Accelerator programme telling us their story. 

Join us for beers (craft of course), finger food, catch up with old friends and make some new friends.

Click here to book a place: https://events.bizzabo.com/WaterfordFounderFriday


NDRC- Start-ups from Ireland’s sunny south-east span fintech, sport and agritech.

The NDRC’s first ArcLabs accelerator in Waterford has begun with nine tech start-ups that will each receive up to €50,000 in supports.

The programme is the second regional accelerator undertaken by NDRC, following the successful delivery of NDRC at PorterShed in Galway last year.

‘World-leading companies are already emerging from the south-east’ Ben Hurley

The investment in each company includes €30,000 in direct investment and a further €20,000 in business supports from backers including NDRC, Enterprise Ireland, ArcLabs, Waterford Institute of Technology, Bank of Ireland and Suir Valley Ventures.

Going global

“It is wonderful to welcome such exciting new businesses into NDRC’s portfolio,” said CEO Ben Hurley.

“With the help of our regional partners, NDRC at ArcLabs is further proof of the entrepreneurial talent that is spread throughout Ireland.

“World-leading companies are already emerging from the south-east and, with industries such as retail, property and recruitment primed for digital disruption, the potential for more growth is clear.”

The programme is part of Enterprise Ireland’s overall strategy to increase the number and quality of start-ups that have the potential to employ more than 10 people and achieve €1m in export sales within three years.

“Mentorship is fundamental for these early-stage companies and a key pillar of the support system that allows start-ups to become valuable contributors to the regional and national economies,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon.


“The NDRC at ArcLabs further solidifies the support infrastructure for start-ups in the south-east region and I look forward to seeing the growth of the participating start-ups.”

And so, here are the nine companies that form the first cohort of NDRC’s ArcLabs foray in the south-east.

Out of the nine Founder Friday have invited three Founders awarded a place on the programme and Alan Costello – Venture Investment Leader -NDRC to do a themed NDRC @ ArcLabs night.

1. Alan Costello – Venure Investment Leader - NDRC
Investing in early stage high growth tech businesses. #NDRC Supporting Irelands startup ecosystem
And three Founders that were awarded a place on the accelerator programme
2. David Jelly - Founder & CEO of #PropertyBridges
3. Pauline Kwasniak – Founder of TurnedSee (and the only female on the accelerator programme)
4. Tyron Lloyd Baron – Founder of Kraken Analtics

dhbArchitects Award

dhbArchitects were delighted that their Apple Market Project won the Best Cultural and Tourism Building at the annual Irish Construction Industry Awards 2018.

The event was held in City West on Thursday, 14th June. Mario Rosenstock was MC for a very enjoyable evening.

Máire Henry, director with dhbArchitects and lead designer of the project received the award. She thanked her extended team who joined in the celebrations. They included representatives from Waterford Council, Nolan Construction Consultants, Douglas Carroll Engineering, Frank Fox Associates, CSEA engineers and Murphy International the main Contractor on the Apple Market and Waterford Public Realm Project.

The judges commended the project on its design and contribution to making the Apple Market a destination for the people of Waterford and visitors to the City.

Businesses and companies in the greater Waterford City and county area are urged to get registering now for the Sean Kelly Dawn Chorus Cycle on Saturday, July 14, and play their part in helping raise funds for two very worthy local appeals.

Sports and social clubs, cycling enthusiasts and those who haven’t yet had an opportunity to cycle along the totally off-road Greenway are encouraged to register now on www.dawnchoruscycle.com to guarantee their place.
The leisure and pleasure event will start at 4:30am when the Sean Kelly Dawn Chorus East Route leaves Kilmacthomas’s Rainbow Hall for Waterford City’s Bilberry Car Park and a 46km return trip.

The second group of cyclists sets off from the same starting point at Rainbow Hall, Kilmacthomas at 5am and travel the slightly shorter 43km West Route to Dungarvan and back.

Places are limited to 500 only. Everyone who takes part gets a goody bag and will enjoy a healthy breakfast upon their return to Kilmacthomas.

Solas Cancer Support Centre and St. John’s Special School, Dungarvan will both benefit from this event. They are two fantastic charities and do phenomenal work in our community. Registration is €40 per adult and €20 for children over 10 years of age.

The Sean Kelly Dawn Chorus Cycle is one of the key events in this year’s Comeraghs Wild Festival programme. This 2018 Festival runs from July 12 to 15 and includes surfing and seaweed foraging events, a concert at Mahon Falls with the Dublin Gospel Choir, heritage events, a street fete in Kilmacthomas, a Céilí and more.

Bluegrass Festival 2018Now in its 24th year, the Dunmore East International Bluegrass Festival, is still proving as alluring as ever for top music acts, as some of the industry’s greatest bluegrass and country music acts line up for the free four-day festival in the Co. Waterford village from August 23rd to August 26th.

Fans of bluegrass, honky-tonk, blues, country, Americana and rhythm ‘n’ roots are in for a real musical treat as the picturesque village’s International Bluegrass Festival will feature 14 artists playing almost 40 free gigs throughout the village.

Headlining this year’s festival is Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters, an old school country roots band that effortlessly blends rock, folk and country.  Hailing from North Carolina, Amanda Anne Platt has earned a reputation as an assertive yet gentle and unassuming singer whose “voice and the interplay of the guitar and mandolin gives this band their unique complex sound, a clear-sounding mash-up of American, bluegrass, fold and honky-tonk” according to Elmore Magazine.  At 2015 MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the US, the Honeycutters received fantastic reviews.

Making a return to Dunmore East is California’s Whiskey Deaf. Fiddle player Annie Staninec was born and bred on bluegrass music, has toured the world and featured on countless albums with renowned country, Cajun and blues artists, while John Kael, an established songwriter, has been playing bluegrass guitar, mandolin, banjo and bass for over twenty years.

Having taught in some of the most prestigious music camps in the country, John and Annie will give two traditional bluegrass guitar and fiddle workshops on Friday, August 24th. Places are €10 and pre-booking is essential.

Some perennial favourites returning to Dunmore East’s Bluegrass Festival include Demolition String Band, Woodbine, Mons Wheeler Band and the Backyard Band. New acts to line up in 2018 are Brother’s Parker, Pilgrim Street, Kiss My Grass, Bert and Henry, Charlie Reader, Vickers Vimy, and Whistle.

Mick Daly, Festival Organiser is delighted with the calibre of both first-time and returning bands playing at the festival. “We have a great line-up of bluegrass, country, rockabilly, roots and Americana acts this year.  We are excited about welcoming the Honeycutters to Dunmore for the first time, but also equally excited about the return of some of the big names that have appeared over the years. Many of the bands that play the Dunmore Bluegrass Festival feed off the fantastic energy of the crowd and the fact that it is set to a stunning coastal backdrop is a bonus.”

“Over the past decade or so the festival has evolved organically and while bluegrass is still at the very heart of the festival there is a more eclectic offering of music, such as rockabilly, country and Americana.  A lot of the young, up-and-coming acts are making waves on the bluegrass scene and we’re thrilled to have an exciting line up bringing their energy and vibrancy to the festival.”

“The festival appeals to die-hard bluegrass fans who have been visiting Dunmore for decades, but it also has a broader appeal to those who simply like good toe-tappin’ music, in a beautiful seaside setting, under the sun!”

The 24th Dunmore East International Bluegrass Festival, Co. Waterford kicks off on Thursday evening, August 23rd at the Spinnaker Bar and Restaurant, and heralds the start of 14 bands, playing almost 40 free gigs throughout the village.

For more information visit www.discoverdunmore.com or keep up to date on the Discover Dunmore East Facebook page.

Design ChallengeA Design Challenge to transform Waterford's Cultural Quarter (in the O'Connell Street area) has officially launched.

As part of the challenge, the O'Connell Street area community is invited to submit details of challenges they face. A national team of judges will select 6-8 challenges to be matched to designers. The multi-disciplinary design teams will work with the community to develop design solution proposals. These proposals will be showcased during Design Week in November 2018 for public consultation and feedback. An exhibition period will allow a further period of time for public feedback and engagement with the wider community. Opportunity for a public vote will be considered as part of panel deliberations.

The Design Challenge has been developed by Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) Creativity and Culture Research Group (CCRG); Waterford Cultural Quarter; and Garter Lane Arts Centre. Speaking at the launch, Dr Fiona Dowling from WIT CCRG and Lecturer in Design, said "We are delighted to announce the Design Challenge website launch and open call for Expressions of Interest." Joy Rooney from WIT CCRG and Lecturer in Design said “Our Design industry will be invited to work with community groups to develop a design proposal for a solution to the identified challenge which will also be beneficial to the whole community. These innovative proposals are aimed at encouraging and supporting creativity within the Cultural Quarter area”.

Katherine Collins from Waterford Cultural Quarter said “The Design Challenge team are calling on the “locals”, the residents, businesses and creative people to tell us what they find challenging and what opportunities are waiting to be explored in the O’Connell street area of Waterford City. Challenges might include a lack of signage on the street or difficulties for children to play close to home, and about opportunities such as empty spaces, the greenway and so on – the Design Challenge team wish to hear what people using the area would like to improve”.

Síle Penkert from Garter Lane Arts Centre said: “Bringing the Design Challenge through the doors of Garter Lane Arts Centre quite literally and physically in the heart of the Cultural Quarter feels right, here we have an opportunity to make ourselves known to our nearest neighbours and welcome newcomers, while together we look at the challenges that face us all in a new, exciting and developmental time in Waterford City.”

Emma Haran from Waterford Cultural Quarter said: "It’s recommended that you discuss your proposal with the project team. You can do this by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by dropping in to the Support Desk on 21 September, at Garter Lane Arts Centre."

Closing date for Expressions of Interest: 28th September 2018. For further information please visit our website: www.designchallengewaterford.ie


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