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Exploiting Industry
and University Research,
Development and Innovation:
Why it Matters

June 2012

Dr Tim Yeomans, Shannon ABC Centre Manager, attended the recent InterTradeIreland All Island Innovation Conference, hosted by NUIG. InterTradeIreland is an organisation which supports SMEs across the island to develop North/South trade and business development opportunities for the mutual benefit of both economies. The theme of the Conference was “Exploiting Industry and University Research, Development and Innovation: Why it Matters”.

The Conference was held over two days on 12th and 13th June and was attended by approximately 180 delegates from academia, industry and state agencies. Professor Don Siegel from the University at Albany, New York, provided the Keynote Addresses on both days. He was followed by a range of parallel sessions covering everything from a study of entrepreneurship behaviour using cultural evolution behaviour to knowledge transfer from third level institutes to industry.

Aimee Brennan from Athlone Institute of Technology gave a particularly interesting presentation on the subject of her research – ‘Bridging the Gap: Towards Effective Knowledge Transfer between Institutes of Technology and Industry in Ireland”. A summary of her presentation indicates that a relatively high percentage of Industry does not really know about the wealth of technology, capabilities and personnel available for collaborative research at IoTs. As much as we would like to disagree with this, based on the number of companies we work with - numbers don’t lie, and whether we think we are doing a good job or not, the numbers would certainly indicate that more needs to be done in terms of communicating our capabilities and track records with industry – for all Institutes of Technology.

The Conference concluded with a lively panel discussion regarding Industry-University Research, Development and Innovation. It was chaired by Michael McAleer, Editor of the Innovation Magazine, Irish Times. The panel included Brendan Cremen, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, UCD, Professor Lokesh Joshi, SFI Stokes Professor at NUIG, Dr John McKeon, Co-founder and CEO, Allergy Standards Limited and Dr Paul Brewster, Chief Technical Officer, Pure Marine Ltd.

Discussions during the conference were very positive regarding Industry-Academia collaborations, and particularly the vital role that Enterprise Ireland play within this. For more information on Enterprise Ireland supports for R&D, please see http://www.shannonabc.ie/FundingOptions.php