Waterford News

Erie EID WIT MoU group signing

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is proud to announce a groundbreaking partnership with the Erie Innovation District (EID) located in Erie, a sister city to Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

On 7 November 2019 at 3pm, presidents of both organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalise the partnership. The virtual signing involved a video link between Erie and Waterford.

The Erie Innovation District addresses three critical community needs including the stopping of brain drain, replacing low-wage jobs with family-sustaining jobs, and the revitalization of downtown Erie through innovation and entrepreneurship.

The partnership will include:

  • Reciprocal sharing of facility space and associated support between startups participating in EID and WIT’s ArcLabs incubators and accelerators.
  • Potential for partnerships between EID and ArcLabs accelerator programmes, including trainings, lectures, webinars, and other programmes that leverage the knowledge-base and value propositions of both organisations.
  • The potential for staff exchanges that allow employees of EID and WIT to discover and share best practices.

Prof Willie Donnelly, President WIT stated, “We hope this agreement will open up opportunities for increased collaboration between Waterford and Erie and in particular, will allow us to further expand and enhance our enterprise development support programmes.”

Prof Donnelly added that this international collaboration provides an “exciting opportunity to link WIT's ArcLabs research and innovation centre with Erie's Innovation District, and will further strengthen the leading role of ArcLabs in the South-East Ireland's enterprise-support ecosystem."

The event was witnessed in Erie by Erie Mayor Joseph Schember and in WIT, Waterford City & County Council’s Billy Duggan and the Irish Ambassador to the US, Mr Dan Mulhall.

Karl Sanchack, CEO of the Erie Innovation District mirrored that statement. “This partnership with the Waterford Institute of Technology is a significant win for EID and Erie, Pennsylvania. As a host city, Erie should be proud that WIT seeks to collaborate with its Secure Erie Accelerator in sharing business innovations and startup growth between our cities and countries. It gives our innovation community a chance to learn from one of the best universities in Ireland, and it gives that same university an opportunity to learn from and see what we have built here in Erie.”

Mayor of the City and County of Waterford, Cllr John Pratt welcomed the signing saying “I am proud to be part of this strengthening of the ties between Waterford and Erie through the signing of this MoU and will work to ensure we continue to build on the twinning relationship of Erie and Dungarvan.”

Winterval John Roberts SquareWaterford City and County Council and the Port of Waterford are delighted to launch a FRIDAY FREE from FIVE promotion for the 2019 Festive period.

This initiative is supported by Waterford Business Group, Waterford Chamber, Winterval and the Tidy Towns Bid team and is aimed at promoting and supporting City Centre businesses this festive season. Waterford Council’s core City Centre car parks and The Port of Waterford car parks, on The Quay, will provide ‘FREE from FIVE’ parking, on Friday 29th November, Friday 6th and 13th December. A range of ‘5’ promotional initiatives, will be offered by City Centre businesses, to support these Friday promotions.

Mayor of the City and County of Waterford, Cllr John Pratt said today “Waterford Council is offering this FREE period of parking over the festive period and I am delighted to be part of this initiative. I encourage all business to come on board with the FRIDAY FREE from FIVE theme.”

Tommie Ryan of Winterval welcomed the plan as well, stating, “The FRIDAY FREE from FIVE promotion will be a great addition to bring people into the many Winterval evening events and we encourage all to avail of this fantastic initiative.”

Michael Garland, Chair of Waterford Business Group and Tidy Towns, looks forward to increased numbers of visitors to the City Centre throughout the Christmas shopping period. He reminds all of the need to park responsibly throughout the festive period and be conscious of other street users when parking.

“Having suggested a Christmas Car Parking promotion, through the City Centre Management Group, I am delighted that we have ALL collaborated to come up with ‘FRIDAY FREE from FIVE’. This promotion covers the main critical mass car parking around the City Centre, with ALL the local authority spaces and the two main Port of Waterford car parks on The Quay.

We’d like all supporting businesses to come up with creative offers based on multiples of FIVE. Maybe ‘Five coffees for the price of 4’, ‘5% discount from 5pm’ and so on. These offers will then be promoted on the various stakeholders social media pages, such as Winterval, Waterford Business Group, Waterford Chamber etc.

In addition, we’d still like businesses to do their #BITT (Businesses Invested in Tidy Towns) and dress their windows, for Christmas, to be in with a chance to win a €500 shopping voucher. Businesses must be signed up to the Tidy Towns Charter to enter, where they will receive a Christmas gift tag to display in the window, during the festive period. Further details are directly available from Waterford Chamber, in George’s Street and also see the latest edition ‘Network’, the Chamber’s magazine.

There are no excuses for NOT exploring the City in the lead up to Christmas, especially on Friday evenings.

We’ve done our #BITT, have you done yours?”

Brian Moore, from The Port of Waterford also commented, “We delighted to be participating in the FRIDAY FREE from FIVE promotion, to lend support to local retail and the Winterval festival, in the run up to Christmas this year.”

Alongside the FRIDAY FREE from FIVE initiative, covering all Waterford Council run car parks and The Port of Waterford’s two car park on The Quay. All Waterford Council owned and managed car parking spaces are FREE of charge on Sundays also, so there are plenty opportunities for people to make their way to the City Centre throughout Christmas, to enjoy the festive atmosphere, take in some retail therapy and experience Winterval.

AEMON COW 1168x812Local Enterprise Office Waterford is encouraging small businesses to apply for the Productivity Challenge, a government-funded scheme supporting productivity in the SME sector.

As part of a a national programme, the Productivity Challenge is open to businesses with less than 50 employees and gives them practical advice and resources to improve their operational efficiencies and productivity.

Irish businesses or enterprises can now apply for one of 200 productivity vouchers valued at €2,500 each to help them develop a more efficient and productive business operation, through improving the quality of product, reducing delivery times, lowering the cost of production, reducing business waste or increasing revenue.

One such local business that is benefitting from the programme by adopting lean practices is Knocakanore Farmhouse Cheese, which produces hard-pressed mature farmhouse cheeses in Co. Waterford.

Eamonn Lonergan, Owner of Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese, acknowledges the benefits of undertaking the Productivity Challenge. “There will always be challenges along the way, but the key is to engage in programmes such as this that can have a positive impact on your business.”

"Lean process opened our eyes to a lot of potential savings that we were not aware of before embarking on the programme.  It led to significant cost savings and productivity increases, which for any business is an extremely favourable outcome.”

Brid Kirby, Local Enterprise Office Waterford, explains the benefits of the Productivity Challenge to small businesses. “This scheme will give small established businesses the opportunity to take a more holistic view of their business model and help identify cost savings. Whether it’s reducing the cost of running your business or refining organisational methods, the right funding, advice and resources are available under the scheme.”

“With so many challenges to overcome in business today, this programme, in particular, helps companies identify cost saving opportunities, increase productivity and streamline operations and therefore prepares them for a more productive future.”

Closing date for receipt of Productivity Challenge applications is November 22nd, 2019 and is open to local businesses with less than 50 employees, established for over 6 months and currently trading.

To apply visit www.productivitychallenge.ie or call into Local Enterprise Office Waterford at 35, The Mall, Waterford.

SuirCon2019

SuirCon - Mini Comic Con

Date: 24th of November 2019

Location: Tower Hotel

Time: 10am to 6pm

Waterford Comics presents 'SuirCon' Mini Comic Convention Now in its second year. It returns to the Tower Hotel on 24th of November 2019 for an event not to be missed. Featuring, from the US, Venom & Spider-Man artist Sam De La Rosa & Executive Editor of Zenescope Dave Franchini along with Cosplay Competition, Artists Alley, Props, Arts & Crafts Vendors, Comic Books, Graphic Novels and Collectables, Trading Card Games and Panel discussions, there's something for everyone. It’s family friendly. SuirCon is the only event of its type in Waterford, tickets are now available.

RSA World Day of Remembrance

Venue: The Granville Hotel, Waterford 

Date: Sunday, 17th November 2019

Time: 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Sunday 17th November 2019 marks ‘World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’, a UN initiative to remember victims of road collisions internationally.

’World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’ gives us an opportunity to remember those who have died on our roads and the families, friends and communities who have been devastated by their loss and also we remember those who have survived with life altering injuries. For thousands of families around the country, their lives are forever changed as a result of a collision.

On ‘World Day of Remembrance’, we remember not only the people who have died on our roads, but we also encourage people to consider the other preventable tragedies that will happen before the end of the year. This year, we have tragically already seen 122 lives lost on our roads. That is 122 families and communities who are devastated by a loss this year in counties all over Ireland. ‘World Day of Remembrance’ serves as a stark reminder to us all to consider what we can do to prevent more loss of life on our roads this year.

At the ceremony family members will have an opportunity to say a poem or prayer to remember their lost loved one, a candle ceremony will also take place. Others in attendance on the day will include representatives from the Road Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána, Emergency Services and road safety support organisations & local clergy. A light lunch will also be served after the ceremony.

Families are requested if they would like to bring a photo of their loved ones and to please RSVP by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 087-6123969 by Friday, 15th November 2019.

WIT PMBRC Research Development Achievement AwardThe Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC) won the Research and Development Achievement award at the 2017 Pharma Industry Awards, held in Dublin on 24 October.

This is the second time the PMBRC has won the R&D prize having previously won in 2017.

Celebrating 10 years of operations in 2019, the PMBRC research centre at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has established itself as a leading research centre in the pharmaceutical, chemical and biologicals sciences in Ireland.

The centre, one of 15 Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways, consists of an 800m2 state-of-the-art research facility. Situated on the main WIT campus, the centre supports R&D activities within the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, while simultaneously cultivating an innovative research programme at WIT.

“We are delighted to win the Research and Development prize at the Pharma Awards” said Niall O’Reilly, PMBRC Manager, speaking after the awards ceremony on Thursday night. “It’s been a busy year for us with the major funding awards, patents, industry licenses and a significant growth in researcher numbers. We are celebrating 10 years of operations this year and it’s great to be recognised for our research capability in the pharmaceutical sciences that we have built up over the past decade”.

Since launching in 2014, the Pharma Industry Awards has established itself as the benchmark for excellence for those operating in Ireland's pharma industry. The Research and Development Achievement award recognises an individual or teams working in the pharmaceutical sector on the research and commercial development of new products or new processes.

LEO First FlightLocal Enterprise Office Waterford is inviting submissions from artists and small craft businesses to apply for the First Flight Enterprise programme at the Kite Design Studio in the heart of Waterford’s Viking Triangle.

First introduced in 2013, this year’s First Flight programme will provide a professional workspace, mentoring and practical business advice to creatives in a bustling, collaborative co-working space for six months commencing in January 2020.

To date, dozens of small craft businesses, artists and graduates of Waterford VTOS (Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme) have availed of First Flight placements, enabling them to develop their businesses commercially.

One such artist who recently completed a First Flight placement was Janine Kelly of Aliandi Designs, who specialises in making ecological friendly jewellery from recycled copper and sea glass picked from the beaches in Dunmore East. 

“It was a fantastic experience for me, both personally and professionally. I received assistance from LEO Waterford which got me focused on developing my business skills and, also gave me the confidence to meet and sell to the customers who visited the design studio.”

“There is a really energetic vibe to be found working with other artists in a bustling innovative hub. I was surrounded by creatives whose enthusiasm was infectious and I learned something new every day. It’s an extremely supportive community and one I’d recommend to any artist or small craft business wanting to take their business to the next level.”

Brid Kirby, Senior Enterprise Development Officer with LEO Waterford said, “We have seen some fantastic artists and small craft businesses come through this programme since it was developed.”

“Waterford is steeped in artistic talent, be it fashion designers, sculptors, jewellery makers or crystal craftspeople. The First Flight programme gives talented individuals the resources and assistance to cultivate their businesses and gain from the experience of their peers in a shared creative space.”

If you are an artist or small craft business and would like to avail of a dedicated workspace, mentoring and business advice, applications to the First Flight Enterprise programme are open until 4pm, Friday, November 29th and the successful applicants will be notified on or before Friday, December 13th.

To apply visit www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/ or call into Local Enterprise Office Waterford at 35, The Mall.

Talkn Lunch October 2019

Venue: Boxworks, 40 Patrick St, Waterford

Date: Wednesday, 30th October 2019

Time: 12.45pm–2.00pm

"IS YOUR FACEBOOK AD BUDGET GOING DOWN THE DRAIN... So many SME's and start ups are under-utilising advertising budgets on 'boosted' posts and loosely targeted ad campaigns. Join us to find out how your company can use Facebook to run targeted, measurable, and profitable Facebook advertising campaigns."

Do you know for certain if your Facebook ads are driving valuable traffic or sales for your company? Should you be more focused on conversions than impressions or engagement?

How much it is costing you to secure a sale with Facebook advertising? What type of ads or offers provide the best ROI for your company?

If you don't know the answer to these crucial questions, its very likely that your company is leaving a whole lot on the table... But you can easily fix this problem!

Join Kieran Bolger (Crackerjack Consulting) on Wednesday 30th Oct, at Boxworks Waterford, to learn powerful and actionable techniques to ensure your Facebook advertising budget is driving measurable results and positive ROI for your company.

Learn

  • Why you should be running 'Facebook Ads' instead of 'boosting posts'.
  • How to use messenger marketing to automate lead generation, customer service, and sales.
  • Learn when you need to 'engage' your customer and when you should 'sell' to your customer on Facebook - Hint: There's a big difference.
  • Walk away with the 3 'Must Haves' of Facebook advertising to ensure your budget and results are maximised.

So, stop running ads in the dark and wondering if engagement really does turn into sales - Join us to find out how your company can use Facebook to run targeted, measurable, and profitable Facebook advertising campaigns."

Bookings: https://www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/Training-Events/Online-Bookings/TLOctober.html

Netlabs WIT West CampusThe Technological University of South East Ireland (TUSEI) consortium welcomed the announcement today of higher education landscape reform funding in support of the TUSEI project. Altogether €2m in dedicated funding has been allocated to take the project to the next stage of development. Overall, €11.8 million in funding was allocated to technological universities in a funding announcement from the Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh TD and Minister of State with responsibility for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD.

President of IT Carlow, Dr Patricia Mulcahy stated “This funding comes at a critical time for the TUSEI project. It will enable us to move to the next stage in institutional change - further mobilisation of our 1,900 staff, our 17,000 students and our many stakeholders, in support of important integration activity. This is an essential part of our journey towards a unitary multi-campus technological university of scale and impact, within the regional, national and international context. We thank Minister McHugh and Minister Mitchell O’Connor for their continued support.”

President of WIT, Professor Willie Donnelly, said: “We warmly welcome this allocation of funding as an indication of confidence by government in WIT and IT Carlow to deliver a university for the south east. This funding allocation will allow us build on the momentum to date and accelerate the project to completion. Together with all our stakeholders across the region, we are impatient for the delivery of a much-needed university for the south east, a critical element in delivering on the government’s ambitions for the region as set out in Project Ireland 2040 and absolutely essential to secure the economic future of the region.”

The release of this landscape funding follows the announcement in Budget 2020 of €90 million in funding in support of Technological Universities for the period to 2022.

The funding allocated is earmarked for supporting the appointment of key personnel to manage and direct the TU project, specifically to complete the application process and oversee the validation of the application by an international review group. The funding will also be used to support staff involvement and engagement in the process through a detailed change management project.

Prof Donnelly added “We are very clear in our planning that the staff of the two institutes have to be central to the future organisation; after all, it is through the efforts of staff over decades that we are in a position to make a legitimate claim to be operating at university level.”

Dr Mulcahy added “Throughout all of our work towards the creation of TUSEI, we have remained deeply learner centred and inclusive. As we continue our important work, we acknowledge and thank all of our staff and our many supporters for their invaluable contributions and commitment.”

Winterval Santa ChildrenWaterford city will get a sprinkling of Christmas magic as Winterval presents a brand-new interactive Wizards and Dragons exhibition for its 2019 festival. Featuring animatronic dragons, Winterval, Ireland’s largest Christmas festival, will be the first location in Ireland to host the Wizards + Dragons exhibition. Attracting over 500,000 visitors each year, the programme for Ireland’s Christmas Capital will also see Santa’s Grotto returning to the enchanting 750-year-old Choristers Hall and Undercroft, located at Waterford’s Medieval Museum.

The announcements come as the eighth annual Winterval festival launches its jam-packed programme of over 60 free and ticketed events, running from 23 November to 23 December. For more details see www.winterval.ie.

This year’s magical festival kicks off on 23 November at 4.15pm, with Santa and the Mayor of Waterford City & County Council Cllr. John Pratt turning on the city’s Christmas lights at 5pm. WLR will broadcast the event live with music provided by Brass & Co at John Roberts Square.

On the announcement of this year’s action-packed programme, Festival Director Tommie Ryan said: “Christmas is all about magic, and what is more magical than mythical creatures and some wonderful wizardry. Wizards + Dragons, running from 29 November to 5 January at Waterford City Hall, The Mall will give visitors of all ages the chance to immerse themselves in another world, building an awareness of mythology and culture, and harnessing the power of imagination.

“We are also delighted to see Santa, Mrs Claus and the elves return to Choristers Hall, for what will be another magical experience. We always want to ensure all children can enjoy a visit to Santa and so, have created a dedicated autism friendly and sensory evening on Thursday, 12 December. This will see the Grotto specially adapted to create a calm and relaxing environment, providing a stress-free evening for all guests.” 

Further highlights include a never-before-seen free festive wonderland by Ireland’s renowned street theatre company, Spraoi. Spraoi na Nollag will be held during Winterval at Constitution Square. Further new events include a free Outdoor Cinema at The Applemarket, with The Polar Express on Saturdays and It’s A Wonderful Life on Sundays. There will also be a Star Flyer at the Tower Hotel for the first time.

Winterval On Ice, the 600sqm ice rink of real ice will be located at the new location of Bolton Street Car Park, while visitors can journey through the heart of Winterval on the Winterval Express Train and Horse Drawn Sleigh. The iconic big wheel, Waterford Eye, is at Merchants Quay and a brand-new 3D music and lights show for Winterval Illuminates takes place at Cathedral Square. There will also be Winterval Christmas Markets and pop-up shops at Arundel and Cathedral Squares, along with the Garter Lane Christmas Craft Fair at Garter Lane Arts Centre.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, Winterval welcomes the Exploration Dome at Bolton Street Car Park, a fun and educational mobile planetarium with a brand-new show. Santa’s Giant Post Box is at The Applemarket, with special shows on Saturdays and Sundays during Winterval from Waterford Academy of Music & Art.

Favourite fairground rides return for 2019 with the Helter Skelter at Constitution Square, while the Vintage Ferris Wheel will be located at Arundel Square; the Golden Gallopers Antique Carousel at John Roberts Square, and for little visitors, the Mini Carousel at The Mall. A Circus Exhibition, full of miniature replicas of these Winterval favourite attractions, will be on display at George’s Court Shopping Centre.

For music lovers, Declan O’Rourke takes to the stage for a special evening at Theatre Royal, 23 December. The House of Waterford Crystal and Project Music presents Christmas Music Soirées with four jazz and classical concerts — jazz quartet Rough Edges (28 November); concert pianist, Peter Regan (5 December), soprano Valerie Leahy and pianist, Marian Ingoldsby (12 December) and soprano Orla Forristal (19 December).

Winterval 2019 also champions charitable events, with the Rotary Club Memorial Christmas Tree, in support of Waterford Hospice, at John Roberts Square. The Cartamundi Giving Tree at Georges Court Shopping Centre will donate a toy to St Vincent de Paul for every decoration made, while Christmas Busk Aid takes place in various locations across Waterford city, donating all proceeds to Tinteán Housing Association to help raise awareness of homelessness.

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. We invite everyone to come to Waterford city during the festival and experience a truly magical winter wonderland.”

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

Facebook: @WintervalWaterford

Twitter: @Winterval_WAT

Instagram: @winterval_waterford

WIT main campusResearchers at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) have secured funding of almost €300,000 to lead a two year pan-European research project ‘Student Stress Training e-Mobile Management (SSTeMM)’.

Research over the last five years and recent news reports have highlighted that there is a rise in problems of mental wellbeing amongst people attending college, and the most marked increase in the rise in work stress is in the age group 18 to 25. In Ireland, the Government’s recent announcement in the Budget 2020 to fund work in the area of student health and well being reinforces the concerns for this group of young people.

The SSTeMM project aims to develop an end-user accessible digital mobile platform providing work based education, competency training and practice based stress management support tailored to the immediate needs of student nurses whilst they are in their clinical placement.

It is anticipated that a minimum of 200 student nurses, as well as their internship mentors, will participate in this project across Ireland, Spain, Slovenia and Kosovo.

Speaking at the recent project launch meeting, Project Co-ordinator, Professor John Wells, Head of the School of Health Science at WIT said “Mental distress amongst college students has considerably increased over the last 20 years or so. We also know that work-based stress is a major public health problem across Europe and that  the health care sector is one of the most significantly stressful employment environments. Student nurses have to attend college based and work in the health care environment to complete their nurse education. They are therefore subject to both college and work based stress at the same time during their education. The purpose of SSTeMM is to examine this potential double whammy faced by student nurses and develop supports for them to manage stress when it arises.”

SSTeMM will support student nurses to develop personal resilience to enhance their work engagement experience. It will equip these student nurses and the clinical staff who support them when on placement with stress management skills and competencies that will develop and support their personal wellbeing whilst in training and once they have qualified.

The School of Health Science, in collaboration with the Telecommunications Software Systems Group (TSSG) and the School of Humanities, at WIT is partnering UPMC Whitfield Hospital in Waterford; the University of Maribor Faculty of Health Sciences (UM FHS) in Slovenia; the School of Health Sciences Tecnocampus affiliated center, University Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, Spain; IBK Management Solutions in Wiesbaden, Germany and the University for Business and Technology in Kosovo. SSTeMM is funded by Erasmus Plus - Strategic Partnership for Higher Education - through the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in Ireland - to the value of €297,000.

The School of Health Science at WIT has a significant expertise in the field of work related stress in the health care sector having already led two major EU funded projects focused on the issue. This expertise considerably informs the current project. It is anticipated that SSTeMM’s impact will extend beyond student nurses, providing lessons on student stress management and support for a range of disciplines where work placement forms a significant part of the curriculum.

Congratulating the team on their success, Dr Mark White, Vice President for Research, Innovation & Graduate Studies at WIT said “this Erasmus Plus project is another great example of how researchers at WIT are at the forefront of significant projects that seek serious solutions to important social challenges and as a result have considerable societal impact.”

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