Knowledge Transfer Ireland has announced the winners of the 6th annual Impact Awards

Competition was fierce

At the end of November, Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) announced the results of its annual Impact Awards for 2021. Having now run for six years, the awards recognise the work done by innovation offices at universities across Ireland and their role in collaborating with businesses to commercialise academic research.

What’s it all about?

The KTI Impact Awards look to enhance business competitiveness and innovative capacity by partnering with academic institutions. The awards celebrate the links forged between academic research into commercial impact.

Since KTI was launched back in 2014, more than 240 new products and services have been brought to market thanks to companies being able to access technology and ideas from research.

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

The winners

This year, the awards were centred around three categories: Industry engagement, commercialisation and, for the first time, the Future Forward award. This new award recognises activities that clearly have huge potential, but which are still in the early stages of being developed or rolled out.

The winner of the Commercialisation Impact Award was the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and LocateBio, an orthobiologics company. It proudly marks the success achieved from three bone and cartilage restoring technologies that were licensed to Locate Bio, helping injuries heal faster.

This fascinating new technology can even use the patient’s own cells and healing system to fix injury damage. It’s also already been given FDA breakthrough device designation, validating the technology and helping it to meet regulatory requirements more quickly.

The next award - the Industry Engagement Award - went to the University College Cork (UCC) for their collaboration with the Irish Photonic Integration Centre & Rockley Photonics. The company focuses on the use of data chips and apps for use in machines, healthcare and wearable devices.

The research carried out was not only valuable to the company, but also the university and the broader community by creating jobs. It has been a hugely successful partnership that began life back in 2017, allowing Rockley to establish Rockley Photonics Ireland in Cork in 2020. By 2021, it employed 10 members of staff.

The new Future Forward Award

The inaugural Future Forward Award was won by Dublin City University (DCU) and Inclusio.

Founded in December 2020, Inclusio is a new spinout from DCU that focuses on transforming workplace culture through an incredibly innovative AI engine. It means that companies can now take a data-driven approach to diversity and culture within their organisation. The technology also supports bite-sized, personalised learning and engagement that empowers employees to make positive changes in their workplace culture.

"Across diversity and inclusion, health technology and cutting-edge photonics our winners today are delivering economic and societal benefit," said KTI Director and Chair of the Judging Panel Dr Alison Campbell.

"I applaud the hard work and dedication in the Innovation Offices in our Higher Education Institute, who are driven by the desire to make a difference and see research translated for public good," she added.

Collaboration drives innovation

When academic research institutes and businesses come together, the results can really take innovation to the next level.

Firstly, it widens the pool of knowledge, experiences and backgrounds, allowing unique skills and resource sets to work together. It also brings about joint ownership, spreading any risks across a larger group.

Secondly, this wider range of people from different backgrounds and disciplines can mean prototyping, selection and testing of new innovations is improved. It also helps ensure everyone gets a say, with the additional chance to share new knowledge across social and professional networks.

Then there’s the buildings and facilities themselves. By partnering in this way, there’s more space, equipment and specialist resources to throw at the project, ultimately boosting its chances of success.

Essentially, collaborative working fosters a culture of support and resilience that helps innovators and disruptors bring their best ideas to market. Okay, so not every idea will be a good one. But a well-cultivated collaborative system of innovation gives the most marketable solutions a chance to make it. This is what Knowledge Transfer Ireland is all about.

Is Ireland innovative?

Of course! In fact, This Is Ireland recently put together a fascinating piece on how innovation has helped to create an Irish advantage.

Ireland is proud of its world-leading reputation when it comes to innovation. Internationally renowned sectors include medtech, agritech and fintech just for starters. The country has indeed become a global hub in medtech alone, with some of the most dynamic, ambitious medtech companies basing themselves here. This includes 18 of the top 25 global medical device manufacturers.

Various knowledge clusters and hubs in both Cork and Galway have also sprung up organically over the last 15 years, particularly working in supply chains.

Is your business looking to innovate?

One of the biggest hurdles is funding it.

R&D Tax Credits is a Revenue-backed scheme that means your business can claim back 25% of qualifying expenditure against its Corporation Tax bill. No matter the size or industry your business is in, if scientific or technological discoveries have been made recently then you could well have a claim.

But knowing what costs can be included and how they can be maximised is tough. This is why it’s so important to work with specialist R&D tax consultants like Myriad Associates who can guide you in maximising your claim along the way.

With Tax Cloud (developed by the Myriad team) all you need to do is follow the clear steps to file your R&D claim yourself. There’s advice on hand whenever you need it, and Myriad experts will even check your claim before submission to Revenue.

As part of the portal you’ll find our Tax Cloud calculator. It’s a handy, simple to use tool designed to show companies in the Republic of Ireland what R&D Tax Credits they can claim. You may just be surprised!

For further advice or information, phone +353 1 566 2001 or use our contact page and we’ll call or message you back.

Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA
Author Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA CEO, Tax Cloud
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Barrie Dowsett Barrie Dowsett ACMA CGMA Chief Executive Officer
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