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The Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre

An Lárionad Nuála agus Aistrithe Teicneolaíochta

Geology Research Group Scoops NovaUCD 2010 Innovation Award

The Fault Analysis Group, a leading research group within the UCD School of Geological Sciences, was today presented with the NovaUCD 2010 Innovation Award. The Award was presented to the Group in recognition of its successes in the establishment of strategic and collaborative research links with global industry partners and in acknowledgement of its successful commercialisation activities.

The Group, which includes 13 researchers, is recognised as one of the leading international teams studying the geological and engineering properties of faults and in applying its research outputs to solve practical problems encountered in hydrocarbon and mineral exploration and production activities.

 Dr Tom Manzocchi, Dr Conrad Childs and Professor John Walsh, joint Directors of the Fault Analysis Group

Since 2000, when the Group relocated from the University of Liverpool to University College Dublin, it has been awarded €6 million in research funding. This funding has been secured predominantly from industry partners, including British Gas, Shell, Statoil and Tullow Oil. The Group has also received funding from Enterprise Ireland, IRCSET, Science Foundation Ireland and the European Union.

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 UCD and the University of Liverpool. The most recent software package has generated royalties of €350,000 over the last number of 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. I would like to sincerely congratulate all the members of the group and wish you every continued success,” said Dr Hugh Brady, President of UCD, who presented the Award.

Dr Pat Frain, Director, NovaUCD, Dr Tom Manzocchi, Dr Hugh Brady, President, UCD, Professor John Walsh and Dr Conrad Childs

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 one of the most cited structural geology research groups in the world.

Dr Pat Frain, Director, NovaUCD congratulating the Group on receiving this year’s Award said, “This is the seventh occasion at which the NovaUCD Innovation Award has been presented and the first time it has been presented to a research group. 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.”  He added, “Bridging the gap between academic research and industry and building relationships with industry is a key element of NovaUCD’s commercialisation strategy.”

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.

Tullow Oil, established in Ireland in 1985, 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.


2 September 2010

For further information contact: Micéal Whelan, NovaUCD, t: +353 1 716 3712, e:

Editors Notes

The Fault Analysis Group is a leading research group within the UCD School of Geological Sciences. Originally established in 1985 in the University of Liverpool it re-located to University College Dublin in 2000. The Group, which includes 13 researchers, is recognised as one of the leading international teams performing scientific research on the geological and engineering properties of faults and applying the research outputs to practical problems encountered principally in the fields of hydrocarbon and mineral exploration and production. The Group’s current industrial partners include British Gas, BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxonmobil, Marathon Oil, Statoil, Total, Tullow Oil and Woodside Energy. The Group’s research is also supported by Enterprise Ireland, Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, GNS Science (New Zealand), IRCSET, Science Foundation Ireland and The Petroleum Affairs Division, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.  

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.

NovaUCD, the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre, is the hub of innovation and knowledge transfer activities at University College Dublin. NovaUCD is responsible for the commercialisation of intellectual property arising from UCD research and for the development of co-operation with industry and business. NovaUCD as a purpose-built centre also nurtures new technology and knowledge-intensive enterprises. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx.