Dr Martin O’Halloran, Investigator at the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) and Director of the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway.
Apr 04 2017 Posted: 10:10 IST

An Taoiseach announces transatlantic collaboration partnership to provide entrepreneurship training for SFI researchers that includes NUI Galway-based CÚRAM Investigator and Translational Medical Device Lab Director

Dr Martin O’Halloran, Investigator at the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) and Director of the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway, has been announced as one of the first twenty Irish researchers funded through Science Foundation Ireland’s new I-Corps programme.

The researchers will travel to the US to undertake entrepreneurship training as part of the NSF I-Corps Curriculum. Dr O’Halloran, Mr Atif Shahzad and Dr Neil Ferguson from CÚRAM will work alongside their clinical lead, Dr Conall Dennedy, Consultant Endocrinologist and Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at NUI Galway. The researchers will travel to the US this summer as one of the first Irish teams to receive training on opportunity-discovery and business model development. This applied training course is based on the ‘Lean LaunchPad’ methodology, developed by renowned Silicon Valley serial-entrepreneur, Steve Blank of Stanford University.

The programme will involve teams participating in an intensive and immersive boot camp, delivered at some of the most prestigious universities in the US. This will be followed by a mentored programme that will see teams interview up to 100 potential customers over a six-week period, using collected observations to arrive at a viable and validated business model for a proposed technology.

Announcing the investment in Washington DC on the 16 March, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, said: “I am delighted to announce this international collaboration led by Science Foundation Ireland, which will support and cultivate entrepreneurship in the research community in Ireland. This is a significant step towards achieving the innovation and entrepreneurship skills outlined in the Irish Government’s science strategy, Innovation 2020.

“This programme aligns well with our commitment to having one of the most highly skilled and innovative workforces in the world. By fostering increased entrepreneurship, we will also see greater commercialisation of cutting-edge research, giving us a globally competitive advantage.”

Dr O'Halloran’s Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway explores the use of low-power electromagnetic waves for medical imaging and therapeutic applications, and his research ranges from basic science to the clinical evaluation and commercialisation of novel medical devices. Speaking about the award, Dr O’Halloran said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to develop new skills within our team, to facilitate the efficient translation of our research into viable commercial products that ultimately improve quality of life for patients.”

The NSF’s ground-breaking I-Corps Curriculum will prepare scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broaden the impact of research projects. The announcement marks Science Foundation Ireland becoming the first European Funding Agency to implement the highly regarded NSF entrepreneurship programme.

Speaking at the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “This extremely prestigious programme builds on Ireland’s international reputation for research excellence, and on the long-standing relationship that exists between Science Foundation Ireland and the NSF. It will greatly enhance Ireland’s innovation potential, with SFI-funded researchers receiving immersive, real-world training in bringing scientific and technological research to market.”

“The NSF I-Corps program has already enabled researchers to expand their horizons far beyond the lab into the marketplace, and has bolstered the US national innovation ecosystem,” said Barry Johnson, acting NSF Assistant Director for Engineering, which oversees the NSF I-Corps program. “The new SFI-funded teams will contribute to the global innovation environment, providing new opportunities for international collaborations and helping to provide novel approaches to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.”

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