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Posted 21 September 2010

NovaUCD 2010 Innovation Award for UCD Geology Research Group

The Fault Analysis Group, a research group within the UCD School of Geological Sciences, has won the NovaUCD 2010 Innovation Award. The accolade acknowledges the Groups successes in the establishment of strategic and collaborative research links with global industry partners and its achievements in commercialisation activities.

Since 2000, the Group has secured €6 million in research funding predominantly from industry partners, including British Gas, Shell, Statoil and Tullow Oil. It has also received funding from Enterprise Ireland, IRCSET, Science Foundation Ireland and the European Union.

Picturd far right: Dr Tom Manzocchi, Professor John Walsh and Dr Conrad Childsco of the UCD Geology Research Group

The Group’s research output is embodied into software systems which have been licensed to Badley Geoscience, a leading UK software vendor, resulting in the joint development of commercial software products such as TransGen and TrapTester. The TransGen software system has become an industry-standard package. TransGen is routinely used by many of the world’s major oil companies to predict the impact of faults and to analyse the flow of hydrocarbons in geological reservoirs. The software licences have provided a significant royalty income to both University College Dublin and the University of Liverpool (where the Group was originally based). The most recent software package has generated royalties of €350,000 over the past few years.

“This Award acknowledges the Fault Analysis Group as a leading example of the scientific community building successful collaborative networks with industrial partners, and through this enhancing the practical application of scientific discoveries,” said Dr Hugh Brady, President of UCD, who presented the Award.

“I would like to sincerely congratulate all the members of the group and wish you every continued success.”

The Fault Analysis Group was founded in 1985 by Professor Juan Watterson and Professor John Walsh within the Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences at the University of Liverpool.  Professor John Walsh succeeded as Director in 1996 and oversaw the re-location of the Group to University College Dublin in 2000. The Group is now jointly directed by Dr Conrad Childs, Dr Tom Manzocchi along with Professor John Walsh.

The Group has also published more than 120 articles in leading international journals and special publications, and is the most cited structural geology research group in the UK and Ireland.

“This is the first time the NovaUCD Innovation Award has been presented to a research group,” said Dr Pat Frain, Director, NovaUCD. “The presentation of this year’s award is particularly timely in that it recognises the role played by the Group over several years in developing long-term strategic partnership with industry. Such partnerships are critically important in facilitating the successful commercialisation of university research and maximising its contribution to innovation.”

“Bridging the gap between academic research and industry and building relationships with industry is a key element of NovaUCD’s commercialisation strategy,” he added.

The Fault Analysis Group has recently embarked on a major collaboration with Tullow Oil, in which Tullow Oil is funding a lectureship in Structural Geology within the Group. Tullow Oil will benefit from access to the Group’s expertise on faults, which can have a major impact on Tullow Oil’s prospects and assets. UCD will gain support for their teaching of students who will also have the opportunity to become involved in some of the exciting technical challenges and datasets investigated by Tullow Oil.

Established in Ireland in 1985, Tullow Oil has become a leading independent oil & gas exploration and production group employing 900 people worldwide. Quoted on the London and Irish Stock Exchanges, it is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index and has a market capitalisation of €13 billion. Tullow Oil has interests in over 85 exploration and production licences across 22 countries.


The NovaUCD Innovation Award was established in 2004 to highlight UCD’s commitment to innovation. The Award is presented annually to an individual, company or organisation or group in recognition of excellence in innovation or of success achieved in the commercialisation of UCD research or other intellectual activity. The previous award recipients are Nicola Mitchell (2009), Celtic Catalysts (2008), Professor Ciaran Regan (2007), Professor Conor Heneghan (2006), Professor Barry Smyth (2005) and Professor Mark Rogers (2004). 

The Award has been designed by Colm Brennan, Sculptor of CAST Bronze Foundry. The award is a sculpture composed of a triangular form of polished Kilkenny limestone and a tapering spiral of bronze. The bronze spiral commences as a three-stepped path that resolves into a point as it ascends. The formal stone element represents existing knowledge while the dynamic spiral is a metaphor for research striving towards innovation.


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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Pictured with the NovaUCD "010 Innovation Award - Dr Tom Manzocchi, Professor John Walsh and Dr Conrad Childsco
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