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Posted 13 Dec 2012

UCD surface engineer receives NovaUCD 2012 Innovation Award

Dr Denis Dowling, Director of the Surface Engineering Research Group at University College Dublin, has been presented with the NovaUCD 2012 Innovation Award by Dr Hugh Brady, President, UCD.

The Award was presented to Dr Dowling, who holds a joint appointment between the UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering and the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, in recognition of his exemplary contribution to innovation at the University, over many years.

Dr Dowling has over 20 years of teaching and research expertise in multiple areas of surface engineering. His specialist research area is the use of plasma treatments for the surface modification of materials on a nanometre scale.

Technologies developed by his research activities have been licensed by UCD's technology transfer team to a range of national and international industry for product applications in multiple sectors.

Applications of his technologies include products to enhance the biocompatibility of implanted medical devices; to improve cell efficiencies in solar energy devices; to increase the shelf-life of foods stored in food packing trays; to enhance adhesion between carbon fibre composites used in the aerospace industry and to improve the durability of diamond tooling used in engineering applications.

In addition to multiple licences to industry Dr Dowling's intellectual property portfolio, consists of 8 invention disclosures and 6 priority patent applications. Four of these priority patents have progressed to the PCT stage and 1 is currently at the European regional phase.

"At University College Dublin, our key innovation themes are inspiring creative graduates, putting the knowledge to work, partnering with industry and supporting and growing new business. This award recognises and rewards Denis' innovation achievements in these themes over many years," said Professor Peter Clinch, UCD Vice-President for Innovation.

"Denis is one of those individuals who combines excellence in teaching and research with a demonstrated commitment to commercialising intellectual property. He has established and developed strategic links with industry, both large and small, in order to translate his research outputs into commercial applications which benefit the economy and society."

"This Award acknowledges him as an excellent innovation role model and an exemplar to young researchers and academics at University College Dublin and I would like to congratulate him and wish him continued success," added Professor Clinch.

Dr Dowling's Surface Engineering Research Group at UCD currently consists of 18 researchers. Since 2008 he has secured just under €5 million of research income for this Group. This has involved participation in over 25 projects funded through European Union, Science Foundation Ireland and Enterprise Ireland programmes as well as direct industry funding.

This research group typically has direct collaborative projects with 10 companies at any one time. Amongst these are companies such as Medtronic, Bombardier, 3M, Henkel, GenCell, Holfeld Plastics, SolarPrint and EnBio.

Dr Dowling has had a particularly active engagement with EnBio initially as part of an innovation partnership project which examined applications of EnBio's novel powder coating technology in the medical device industry and subsequently as part of the Precision CLUSTER.

Due to this strong and on-going collaboration EnBio decided in 2011 to relocate from Cork and spin-in to UCD. EnBio is now headquartered at NovaUCD and also has space in the Surface Engineering Laboratory in UCD's Engineering and Materials Science Centre.

Dr Dowling is also a Principal Investigator in a number of industry-facing R&D clusters and Technology Centres. This includes two Science Foundation Ireland funded Strategic Research Clusters; The Advanced Biomimetic Materials for Solar Energy Conversion, led by UCD, and the PRECISION cluster, led by DCU of which Dr Dowling is Deputy Director.

The NovaUCD Innovation Award was established in 2004 to highlight University College Dublin'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.

Previous award recipients are Professor William Gallagher (2011), The Fault Analysis Group (2010), Nicola Mitchell (2009), Celtic Catalysts (2008), Professor Ciaran Regan (2007), Professor Conor Heneghan (2006), Professor Barry Smyth (2005) and Professor Mark Rogers (2004).


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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