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News : Irish Last Updated: Apr 24, 2009 - 5:31:05 PM

Enterprise Ireland has invested €275 million in the Third Level Research and Innovation system since 2000; Funded 18 start-up companies
By Finfacts Team
Jun 4, 2008 - 2:11:40 PM

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Patrick J. Molloy (left), Chairman of the Board of Enterprise Ireland with Frank Ryan, Chief Executive Officer.

Enterprise Ireland has invested €275 million in the Third Level research and innovation system since 2000. During the 3 year period 2005 – 2007, the Third Level sector has produced 95 licences, 26 start-up companies and hundreds of patents and invention disclosures. 18 of the start-up companies were a direct result of Enterprise Ireland funding applied research. Last year alone saw 136 patents filed and 264 invention disclosures.

A Sunday Business Post survey in December 2006 found that Irish universities had obtained just 163 patents in major world markets since 1996. By comparison, the University of Bristol, a British institution with 13,000 students, filed 134 patents, while world research leader MIT secured 1,104 in that time, according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s patent database.

A major Forum to assist Third Level researchers in Ireland develop commercial possibilities from their work will be hosted by Enterprise Ireland in Dublin on June 18th next. The Forum will give researchers the opportunity to voice their opinion on the Irish research commercialisation system and what can be done to make it more effective.

This first Enterprise Ireland Applied Research Forum, entitled “From the Bench to the Boardroom – Commercialising Irish Research” will be held in the Guinness Storehouse.

It will also feature presentations by three researchers on how they brought their research to the marketplace, and a special “One to Watch” Award will be presented by the Tánaiste Mary Coughlan T.D. to the new researcher whose commercialisation efforts are deemed to have the most business potential.

Waterford Institute of Technology’s Barry Downes, a researcher who has successfully commercialised his research and a speaker at the event, has developed a software application which makes information syndication, and the usage of the massive amount of information available online, accessible by all types of computer users, according to Enterprise Ireland.

Downes says: “The world of information syndication has grown massively, and even though there are already over 9 million blogs, with over 40,000 new blogs per day, and a massive amount of other information being syndicated via feeds (e.g. news, stock prices, jobs, marketing information, etc.), no one seems to be making it any easier for the information to be used, found and merged”.

“With the funding and support from Enterprise Ireland we were able to turn our research discovery into a spin–out company http://www.feedhenry.com/”.

Feargal O Morain, Enterprise Ireland Executive Director, said that “Enterprise Ireland is committed to bringing research outputs to the marketplace and to do everything possible to support researchers engaging in the process”.

“Enterprise Irelands strategy is concerned with transforming Irish industry though innovation and making Irish companies competitive in global markets. To do this we work with our partners in the researcher system to spin off as much technology as possible. More innovative companies mean more opportunities for our young graduates and higher growth and prosperity for the economy as a whole.”

“The Forum will allow us to demonstrate the very high quality of the work being done by researchers around the country, and the real commercial possibilities that exist for researchers”, said O’Morain.

“As well as showing researchers what can be achieved with support from Enterprise Ireland, we want to ensure that companies are aware of the potential that exists for them within the third level research community”,
he added.

Enterprise Ireland said it supports the bringing to market of technology from the research environment. Teams in the areas of Biotechnology, Industrial Technologies and Informatics work with researchers interested in seeing their research work put to commercial use. Funding and expert support is provided for industry oriented research.

A limited number of places are available at the Applied Research Forum which will take place from 9.30am-1pm on June 18th at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin - visit http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/appliedresearchforum for further information.

In related news, about €30m is left in the Enterprise Ireland seed capital programme and is now available for co-investment.

To date €148.75m has been allocated to eight seed and venture funds, according to Enterprise Ireland. Of these, five have completed first closings, including Delta Partners, the AIB Seed Capital Fund, Atlantic Bridge Ventures, Kernel Capital Partners and Fountain Healthcare Partners. A further three funds have received commitments and are nearing closing, it said.

In total, these eight funds have already succeeded in raising in excess of €500m for investment in early stage and growing companies.

Feargal O Morain said: "Enterprise Ireland is now inviting applicants for the remaining funds and is seeking co-investors who can raise a minimum fund of €30m and have the ability to access private sector and institutional capital in Ireland and internationally."

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