Four UCD research projects share in €65m disruptive technologies windfall

Posted 12 December, 2019

Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation; Minister Regina Doherty TD; Minister Heather Humphreys TD; Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland and Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact

Four projects at University College Dublin focused on disruptive technologies have received nearly €17 million under the second round of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF).

Making the announcement at NovaUCD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, along with Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty, said 16 innovative projects would share in €65m of funding over the next three years.

This latest round of DTIF funding brings the total amount awarded to date under the scheme to €140 million.

One in three jobs in Ireland are at risk of disruption from digital technologies, and to help future-proof against possible job losses, the Government created the DTIF as part of Project Ireland 2040.

Speaking at NovaUCD, Minister Humphreys TD said the newly funded projects “will bring significant changes and benefits across all sectors of society, both at a national and a global level”.

“Ultimately they will change how we work and live, enhance the competitiveness of the Irish economy and help us to create the jobs of the future,” she added.

The funded projects involving UCD are:

  • QCoIr Quantum Computing in Ireland, a software platform for multiple qubit technologies, to explore their potential to address challenging problems arising in areas such as financial services, logistics or drug discovery, which is to receive €7.3 million.

The members of this project consortium are Professor Robert Staszewski, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, with lead partner IBM Ireland and Tyndall National Institute, Maynooth University, Rockley Photonics Ireland, Equal1 Laboratories Ireland, a UCD spin-out headquartered at NovaUCD, and MasterCard Ireland.

  • Pharma Latch, a disruptive microneedle drug delivery platform, which is to receive €4.4 million.

The members of this project consortium are Dr Eoin O’CearbhaillUCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering with lead partner Latch Medical, a UCD spin-out headquartered at NovaUCD, Blueacre Technology and TheraDep.

  • EyeVU, will deliver a miniaturised ‘eyeball’ endoscope camera, which will allow clinicians to see around corners, with unparalleled precision, which is to receive €3.2 million.

The members of this project consortium are Dr Jufan Zhang, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering with lead partner Tympany Medical, and Genetian Services and NCAD.

  • Transpire, a trained AI platform for regulation, that combines human expertise with artificial intelligence to demystify laws and regulations making it easier to do business while protecting consumers, which is to receive €2 million.

The members of this project consortium are Dr David LillisUCD School of Computer Science and CeADAR, with lead partner Corlytics, a NovaUCD graduate company now headquartered at NexusUCD, and Singlepoint Solutions.

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said: “UCD has been a strong proponent of key government initiatives such as the DTIF to help drive collaboration between the higher education sector research base and enterprises to support the development and adoption of new technologies and applications to deliver impact.”

“I am also very pleased to see two UCD spin-out companies, Equal1 Labs and Latch Medical, both headquartered here at NovaUCD, along with NovaUCD graduate company Corlytics, as partners in projects funded under the scheme.

"This strong involvement of UCD researchers and UCD companies reflects the strength of research and innovation activities taking place across UCD.”

Minister Regina Doherty TD added: “The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is exactly the kind of fund that Ireland needs right now as we embrace the opportunities and challenges that disruptive technologies bring to our workplaces and homes. 

“This is all about preparing Ireland and the Irish workforce for the jobs of the future. We need to future-proof our existing employment base and we need to prepare for new types of jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. The DTIF is a critically important element of our Future Jobs agenda.”

The 16 projects funded in this DTIF round cover life sciences, medical devices, ICT, artificial intelligence, blockchain, manufacturing and environmental sustainability, including in the waste and energy sectors.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland, who administer the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, said this latest set of DTIF projects “illustrates Irish SMEs at their best, demonstrating the originality and creativity for which Ireland is renowned.”

By: Staff Writers, UCD University Relations