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120 'Big Ideas' unveiled - from better hospital hygiene to avoiding brain damage in babies: Minister Sean Sherlock presents Awards to new companies

The Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock today [Monday}announced that 120 inventions developed by publicly-funded researchers will be introduced to potential investors at the Enterprise Ireland Big Ideas Technology Showcase in the Convention Centre, Dublin.

Opening the event and announcing the winners of the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Awards, Minister Sherlock said;

"It is exciting, highly encouraging and very promising for the future to see such a range of high end technologies emerging from publicly-funded research. I am delighted to see that many of the Big Ideas being presented to the investor community today have the potential to become vibrant new companies.

"Enterprise Ireland and the Higher Education Institutes working together have built 185 spin-out companies from State-funded research to date.

Besides creating jobs, it is uplifting to see that many of the "Big Ideas" can help people here in Ireland and across the globe with health and lifestyle issues.

"These discoveries and this process of commercialisation is vital to job creation. Although spin-out companies take time to grow, a recent sample assessment of these spin-out companies showed that some 12 companies are now employing a total of more than 250 people. One of the best examples is FeedHenry Waterford, established in 2010, is already employing 27 people," Minister Sherlock added

The Big Ideas event is the largest annual gathering of inventors and investors in the country. 120 new technologies being developed for the marketplace, will be unveiled and, of these the promoters of 18 ‘investor ready’ technologies will be vying for the attention of 200 potential investors attending the event. The "Big Ideas" Showcase is a key event funded by the Government to help develop publicly-funded research into new companies, technologies and services.

Among the ‘Big Ideas’ being pitched to potential investors are technologies that will; - avoid brain damage in premature babies caused by seizures, - help physiotherapy patients perform their exercises properly, - provide ‘real’ learning material for students of the English language, - produce manufacturing moulds for the smallest medical devices, -pick up the 1 in 5 cases of colon cancer that are currently missed during screenings -cram more information on to existing telecoms bandwith to avoid laying new fibre optic cables.

Feargal Ó Móráin, Executive Director of Enterprise Ireland said: "the focus of the Big Ideas event is to get some deals done between the inventors and investors during the 150 one-to-one meetings which will take place.

Enterprise Ireland, in partnership with the Higher Education Institutes, is providing the right environment for investors to explore options to either licence these new technologies from researchers or use them as the basis to form new companies in the energy, life sciences, medical, engineering and IT sectors".

While the Irish system for transferring technology from Third Level Education Institutes into industry is relatively new, the outputs compare favourably with the latest available data from the US and EU authorities in this area – Ireland is creating 4 spin-outs per $100m invested by the State compared to 2 in Europe and 1 in the US.

The Minister presented Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Awards to 3 companies that showcased their technologies at similar events in the past and have since successfully established a spin-out company. The winners are;

Winner of the Enterprise Ireland ICT commercialisation award:

Dr. Gerard Lacey who co-founded Glanta Ltd. in 2010, a spin-out from his research at Trinity College Dublin. Gerard invented the image processing technology on which the company’s hand hygiene training and assessment system – Surewash – is built.

Winner of the Enterprise Ireland Lifescience commercialisation award:

The team that has established Clinicial Support Information Systems Ltd - a UCC spin-out 2009 around StoppStart technology which is now located in Limerick. Stopp-Start is a screening tool of prescriptions for older people which can reduce the incidence of adverse reactions for patients on multiple medications. It will also reduce prescriptions costs for the healthcare systems as it will help avoid medicines being incorrectly prescribed.

Winner of the Enterprise Ireland industrial technologies commercialisation award:

Michael Cunningham, CEO Sonex Metrology Ltd., a DCU spin-out 2010 around photoacoustic testing equipment, located in DCU Invent. Sonex technologyfocuses on detecting mechanical defects in semiconductor and solar cell wafers that currently cost manufacturers millions of euro.