Minister launches Technology Transfer Initiative

Wednesday, 6 February 2002

Release date: 4 February, 2002

Minister launches Technology Transfer Initiative

Mr. Noel Treacy T.D., Minster of State at the Department of Education and Science, launched the Atlantic University Alliance / Technology Transfer Initiative, today (Monday, 4 February at 2.30 p.m.), in National University of Ireland, Galway.

The Atlantic University Alliance (AUA) is an inter-regional University collaboration involving UCC (University College Cork), NUI, Galway (National University of Ireland, Galway) and UL (University of Limerick) and was formally launched in May 1999.

The Technology Transfer Initiative (TTI) programme is the first project to be carried out under the aegis of the AUA and is intended to provide an innovative support structure for Irish indigenous companies and act as a gateway for Irish companies into the universities. It will also facilitate the effective transfer and commercialisation of technology within the universities and between industry and university. The TTI programme has now been funded for three years by Enterprise Ireland to the value of €1.12 million.

The main objectives of the Technology Transfer Initiative are:

  • To develop the capability of indigenous industry in the target regions
  • To make available to Irish companies the combined research resources and expertise of the three universities
  • To encourage and facilitate interaction between industry-industry and academia and industry.
  • To facilitate regional and inter-regional "technology transfer"
  • To encourage companies to engage in R&D projects which will ultimately enhance their competitiveness.

Critical to the success of the Technology Transfer Initiative is the need for the project to be industry led and that the companies are involved in every aspect of the programme. Recognising the concerns and constraints of small industries and other Irish firms is the key to the progression of the project together with the provision of an easy-to-access entry point to the resources and expertise within the three universities. As a prime source of knowledge, universities have a significant role in the process of technology transfer to Irish Industry.

The Technology Transfer Initiative will target the four industrial sectors that represent the main growth sectors within the Atlantic seaboard region: Information Communications Technology (ICT), Engineering, Biomedical-Healthcare and Food.

The aim is to build strong relationships with these sectors and to apply new knowledge and technologies within them for the economic benefit of the region. It is intended to increase the number of indigenous companies in the target regions that are technology literate and to encourage these companies, where possible, to include a research and development dimension in their operation.

Companies can receive financial assistance to undertake R&D projects. Currently within Enterprise Ireland a number of support schemes operate - Feasibility Study funding, Innovation Partnerships, Research Innovation fund to support Industry- University Collaboration. Assistance is provided to university researchers to undertake collaborative research and development projects between networks of companies and universities.

During its pilot phase, Technology Transfer Programme promoters have found that by accessing network structures they are better able to propose, develop and implement technology transfer actions between AUA and industry. Establishment of inter-regional market driven technology networks is also being used as a means to identify industry needs and communicate relevant information to key company employees. A catalogue of expertise and resources (across the three universities) that are relevant to industrial needs is also being established as part of the TTI programme.

Dedicated TTI Programme staff have been appointed on each of the three university campuses. They will provide the necessary links and facilitate contact between indigenous industry with academic staff in the AUA universities to implement the objectives of the TTI. They also act as catalysts for the development of the sectoral networks and facilitate access to R&D opportunities.

The TTI team will achieve their objectives by engaging in the following activities:

  • Focusing on the technological needs of small and medium sized companies by creating a cadre of academic scientists and engineers with strong links to Irish companies who are willing and capable to contribute to their technological development.
  • Bringing together clusters of companies to identify common constraints to their development.
  • Using the networks of companies to allow interchange of knowledge to occur between firms with a strong technical base and those who wish to learn to apply technology. Enterprise Ireland is committed to working with the TTI to identify appropriate companies, capable of benefiting from such interaction.

Ends

Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091 750418

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