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CALIN event `Spotlight on SMEs: Routes to Innovation & Growth` brought together academics, experts, businesses and funders across the life sciences sectors in Ireland and Wales

The day before the Ireland vs Wales rivalry on Six Nations rugby pitch, `Spotlight on SMEs: Routes to Innovation & Growth` successfully demonstrated the strong collaboration between the two countries in supporting life science businesses.

The event was enabled by the Celtic Advanced Life Science Innovation Network (CALIN), the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, the Welsh Government, Grant Thornton and the UK Department for International Trade. 

On 23 Friday 2018, Spotlight on SMEs: Routes to Innovation & Growth took place in the elegant meeting rooms of Grant Thornton overlooking River Liffey. From 2pm in the afternoon when the event started until 8.30pm in the evening when it ended, participants not only enjoyed the discussions and the opportunity to meet people from a broad range of backgrounds but also the stunning views of Dublin City Centre in daylight and in radiant colours of the night.

Spotlight on SMEs: Routes to Innovation & Growth was CALIN`s first event in Dublin and it aimed to introduce CALIN to life science businesses, to discuss opportunities in the Irish and Welsh markets and to provide an informal atmosphere for networking with experts and funders in the arena. Centre for BioNano Interactions, UCD played a key role in bringing the event to life.

From members of the CALIN academic team Prof Kenneth A. Dawson, Prof Steve Conlan and Dr Paul Galvin to Mel Crisp - Head of Life Sciences Team of the Welsh Government, to Sinead Ryan of Marigot Ltd., Dr Bernadette McGahon of IRDG, Dr Majella Maher of Enterprise Ireland, Marco Rubinato of EASME and Elaine Daly of Grant Thornton, the programme had an excellent line of panellists and speakers. They addressed the challenges Small and Medium Enterprises face in academia – industry collaborations and in accessing funding and growth opportunities. Comments and guesses on the next day`s big game matched the casual code of the day.

John McGrane, Director General of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, brilliantly summarised the importance of cross-border collaboration in his closing remarks and with great honour, welcomed Robin Barnett, British Ambassador to Ireland, who highlighted the need to strengthen the bonds even further in the times ahead.

The evening networking reception that concluded the day proved to be a delightful culinary experience and a time of reward for the hard work put into the organisation. Thrilled with the positive feedback they received post-event, the CALIN team is already planning the next one in Ireland to continue supporting SMEs in their research and innovation activities. Details to follow shortly on CALIN website