May 12 2009 Posted: 00:00 IST
The winner of this year's Inter-college Technology Development Competition is Eoghan Clifford, Research Engineer from NUI Galway's College of Engineering and Informatics. The winning technology is based on developing a novel integrated process technology to convert organic carbon, solids, nitrogen, phosphorus, odours and greenhouse gases (present in municipal, industrial and agricultural biosolids) to high-value useful products in a market worth about € 3.5 billion per annum in Europe alone. The Inter-College Technology Development Competition is a collaborative programme between NUI Galway, TCD and UCC and is funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) under the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) which includes multidisciplinary teams and cross-university teams working together on the commercialisation of research and technology transfer. One of the competition organisers Fiona Neary of the Ignite Technology Transfer Office, NUI Galway said: "The standards were very high and the expert panel made up of Venture Capitalists, funding agencies, business and academic professionals were extremely impressed by the level of technologies showcased. It was an exciting event where feedback from the experts revealed that more entrepreneurial training with a strong focus on market validation and financial strategy is critical to deliver successful commercial opportunities". Throughout the programme participants from NUI Galway, TCD and UCC were given training and mentoring to assist them prepare and present their commercial opportunities to an experienced panel. The variety of technologies ranged from a bartering system for online services, the next Google, solar technologies, knowledge transfer algorithm and minute batteries. Ms Neary added: "These emerging technologies with the convergence of innovation, training and commercialisation will help deliver Irelands Smart Economy of the future". Dr Michael Rodgers from NUI Galway's College of Engineering and Informatics, and supervisor for the winning project, said: "It is very exciting to be part of the winning team. There is an urgent need to develop new technologies that can sustainably process increasing volumes of biosolids generated during the treatment of municipal, agricultural and industrial wastes. I would like to extend my congratulation to Eoghan and the other members of the team, Edmond O'Reilly, Eimear Ruane, Kathy Carney and Dr Aoife Keady".