UCC honours innovators with Bridge Network Awards

Photos: Winners of the Bridge Network Invention of the Year Awards, presented at UCC, are Prof. Cian O’Mathuna (Tyndall, UCC), Dr. Helena McMahon (IT Tralee) and Dr. Mark Tangney (UCC).

A long-life smartphone battery; imaging technology that offers faster cancer results ; a new babies’ vaccine and a new skin-ageing treatment were among recent inventions by Irish-based researchers.

The scientists responsible for inventions that could make the world stage and solve “key challenges in today’s society” have been honoured by University College Cork’s 2018 Bridge Network Awards.

The UCC life sciences invention of the year went to Dr Mark Tangney, Dr Ian Curtin and Stephen Buckley of UCC college of medicine and health for new imaging technology that could make it “dramatically more affordable”.

The “BioBind” imaging system could be particularly useful in cancer diagnostics and life sciences research and rapidly accelerate research in even small laboratories.

Prof Cian Ó Mathúna and the Tyndall National Institute won the UCC ICT invention of the year award for a magnetics invention that improves the battery life of mobile devices.

“The innovation has global significance, solving one of the biggest limitations” currently facing batteries, according to Prof Ó Mathúna. Already, it has been licensed to three major multinationals.

Sound separation

Dr Derry Fitzgerald, whose spin-out company AudiosourceRE is based at Cork Institute of Technology Rubicon Incubation Centre, won the CIT ICT invention of the year award for so-called “sound-separating” technology.

So far, it has been used to remaster music such as the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations album and is currently being deployed by Capitol Records and others in the audio industry to remaster music.

The IT Tralee invention of the year was awarded to Dr Helena McMahon and Dr Aleksandra Augustyniak for a skin-ageing treatment, “NutraECM solution”. An oral, or topical treatment, it targets both collagen and elastin production. However, it could have far more extensive uses, since the researchers believe that it could be used for cartilage and bone regeneration.

The Teagasc invention of the year award was given to a team led by Dr Kieran Meade of Teagasc, Dr Ciarán Harte and Prof Ed Lavelle (both of TCD) for their new “neonatal vaccination solution”. Their patent-pending innovation will improve immunity in neonates (infants in the first weeks and months of life).

Read full article Irish Times

Inventors feeling good vibrations as projects gain commercial pace

Photo L-R: Colm O’Dwyer, Professor in Chemical Energy, UCC; Sharon Sheahan, Commercialisation Manager at UCC / Teagasc; Derry Fitzgerald, AudioSourceRE, CIT Rubicon; David Corkery, Technology Transfer Operations Manager at UCC

‘Good Vibrations’ will be among a selection of Beach Boys classics which will become available in stereo for the first time. A great calling card for Dr Derry Fitzgerald and his team at Cork School of Music, CIT and Rubicon, it’s just one of the innovative products bringing AudioSourceRE to global attention. It has also developed technology that can, for example, isolate a vocal or a guitar line from a recording.

This technology is set to become a mobile app, which could revolutionise karaoke and other wide use music formats. The RE stands for “reverse engineering”, which describes the way the software grabs single elements from previously engineered audio.

AudioSourceRE is also shortlisted for next Wednesday’s Bridge Network Invention of the Year Awards, which take place in UCC next Wednesday. This is the sixth year UCC has hosted the inventor awards, and their second year as a Bridge Network event.

Bridge Network is a technology transfer consortium comprising tech transfer offices from UCC, CIT, Teagasc, and IT Tralee. The Invention of the Year is sponsored by Purdy Lucey Intellectual Property.

Dr Fitzgerald is in a shortlist with innovations and inventions in agtech, anti-counterfeiting technology, audio engineering, biotherapeutics, nutraceuticals, sensor camera technology, and 3D printing technology.

“I am a huge fan of the Beach Boys,” said Dr Fitzgerald. “Getting my name on the sleeve of their album is really incredible. This remix has been done using our software to take the original mono recording into stereo.

“Until now, there has been equivalent to Photoshop in audio. With our technology, you can grab the singer out of a recording. You can take it from a CD, use it in a sample. You can grab just the drums and make them into a loop.

“People have been sampling from vinyl ever since the 1980s; they were doing some filtering, tidying it up a bit, but no more. This allows you to pull out just one element. There are many potential uses. An RTÉ crew could use it to remove the sound of a car driving by during a news report.

“For karaoke backing tracks, you might want to be a Beatle. You could pull out Paul, then sing along with George, John, and Ringo.”

Dr Fitzgerald and his team have developed this software over 18 years, working with musicians at Cork School of Music.

AudioSourceRE will pitch the technology to industry leaders at the Audio Engineering Society Conference 2018 in New York in October.

“I have been working on this for 18 years, so I have a lot of expertise in the area,” he said. “The software behind this has never been published. It would be very hard for someone else to reverse engineer what we have done.

“The record companies are very slow to let anyone get near their assets. Capitol Records agreed to give us access to the Beach Boys because they knew we could do something which would be useful for them. In terms of name recognition, the Beach Boys certainly gives us great credibility.”

Of course, the network has a stunning list of success stories. These include Atlantia Food Clinical Trials, the UCC and Teagasc collaboration on human diet. Luxcel Biosciences was acquired by Agilent Technologies. Oculus acquired InfiniLED in a deal which will see Irish-developed LED technology applied to virtual-reality devices. Moreover, Bridgenetwork.ie lists some incredible technologies which are currently available.

Significant global attention will be paid to all of next week’s Invention of the Year contenders.

On the Invention of the Year shortlist is LiOSKIN, a 3D printed battery created by Colm O’Dwyer, professor in chemical energy in UCC and academic member at Tyndall National Institute. The battery can be made into any shape, it can be 3D printed. The battery could revolutionise wearable technology, medical devices, IoT, wireless technology, and other areas that use up a lot of small-sized batteries.

“The importance of this battery is that you can 3D print it, so you never have to get another replacement battery for things like medical devices or a range of other technologies,” said Prof O’Dwyer. “It can be attached to the outside of anything.”

Prof Anita Maguire, UCC’s vice-president for research and innovation, says the Bridge Network, rather than fostering competitive rivalries, has created powerful relationships between the partners in UCC, CIT, IT Tralee, and Teagasc.

She said the knowledge transfer offices in each institution deserve huge credit for the collective support they offer researchers in the consortium. The commercialisation of this research is a good indicator of its focus on outputs and collaboration.

UCC continues to be the best-funded research university in Ireland, having won competitive R&D investments of €99.9m in 2016/17, up 27% (€21.5m) over the last five years; of that €10m came from industry partners.

“The contenders for this year’s Invention of the Year come from a wide breadth of fields,” said Prof Maguire. “All of these innovations represent great commercial opportunities. There is a lot of great work behind the scenes in the technology transfer offices in bringing these great creative inventions forward for patent.

“The relationships that are developed in the network are very strong and have great long-term benefits,” said Prof Maguire. “Next Wednesday’s event serves a number of purposes. It brings attention to the research. It also brings together a lot of different stakeholders, people from a range of business environments.

“There are tremendous collaborations in the network, with all of the partners working together. On Wednesday, people will get to see the business opportunities in the inventions. The discussions after the event are often the most important part of the experience.”

Invention of the Year conders

Smart Camera: What if we could see the unseen? Well, Prof Nabeel Riza’s invention makes that hypothesis a reality. His CAOS (coded assisted optical sensor) camera will capture previously invisible scenes, which has immense implications for all sorts of applications from road safety and autonomous cars to deep surveillance. Based in UCC, Prof Riza’s CAOS camera transforms incident light into signals that undergo light detection and extreme dynamic range decoding via electronic wireless technology. This ‘smart camera’ also features full optical spectrum viewing from the UV to near InfraRed with special security features, and has won Riza a finalist slot at the 2018 AutoSens Award in Game Changer Award Category this month.

Battery Technology from Tyndall: Another really cool invention is that of the Magnetics team at Tyndall UCC. This world- leading integrated magnetics technology can improve power management efficacy of mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops and thus extend battery lifetime upon charging. This solves one of the biggest limitations currently experienced by users of mobile devices, and a major technical challenge for the industry. There is huge interest in this technology with a number of licences on the technology with major multinationals.

By Joe Dermody, Irish Examiner

Full article



Research, Innovation, Invention

Shortlist announced for 2018 Invention of the Year Awards

Photograph L-R: Dr. Sandra Lenihan, Dr Keith Bryan and Dr. Ken O’Connell from Cork Institute of Technology (CIT)

Innovations and inventions in agtech, anti-counterfeiting technology, audio engineering, biotherapeutics, biotech, nutraceuticals3D printing technology and sensor camera technology, have been recognised as finalists for the 2018 Invention of the Year Awards 2018 by the Bridge Network. 

Bridge Network is the largest technology transfer consortium in Ireland and comprises of the technology transfer offices from University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, Teagasc and the Institute of Technology Tralee. 

Today, the consortium announced the nominees from each of the consortium member institutions that have been shortlisted for the 2018 Invention of the Year Awards, which celebrate and recognise excellence in innovations and inventions whose benefits add significant impact to the economy and society.  

Previous Invention of the Year Award winners recognised by the consortium include the research team who invented the microLED technology behind InfiniLED, which was acquired by Facebook company Oculus in 2016. 

Announcing the 2018 Invention of the Year Awards shortlist, Vice President of Research & Innovation, University College Cork and Chair of the Bridge Network Governance Committee, Professor Anita Maguire said 

“The Invention of the Year Awards highlight the creativity and excellence of work by our researchers and recognise the impact of their innovations and inventions; this event provides an opportunity for us to showcase the quality and calibre of our people and their research discoveries to industry and to the broader research community. 

Outputs from our research in UCC, CIT, Teagasc and IT Tralee not only lead to breakthrough innovations and pioneering technologies across all industry sectors, but in addition through our knowledge transfer activities, we support our researchers on the journey of commercialisation ensuring the potential economic and societal impact of their work is optimised by the technology transfer capabilities of consortium member institutions. 

Examples of success stories resulting from this combined and collaborative effort across consortium members in the healthtech sector alone include the creation of world class companies such as Luxcel Biosciences recently acquired by Agilent TechnologiesOrthoXel and Loci Orthopaedics”. 

A judging panel comprising of Irish and international experts in research, innovation, commercialisation, knowledge transfer and industry, will consider the finalists for awards from each institution in the categories of bioscience, ICT & physical sciences. 

Full details of the finalists from each institution are detailed below. Congratulations to all: 

University College Cork 

Andrew Moore 

Sean O’Mathuna

Colm O’Dwyer 

Graeme Maxwell

Hugh Smiddy

John Cryan 

Joseph O’Brien 

Maria Bardosova 

Mark Tangney 

Martyn E. Pemble 

Maura Naughton 

Mikhail Parchine 

Nabeel Riza 

Paul McCloskey 

Paul Ross 

Santosh Kulkarni 

Ted Dinan 

Thomas Walther 

Tomas Kohoutek 

Willie Lawton 

Zoran Pavlovic 



Anne M Mullen 

Carlos Alvarez 

Catherine Stanton,  

Ciaran Harte  

Conor Warren 

Ed Lavelle  

Ismael Marcet Manríque 

Jonathan Lane  

Kai Man Tang  

Kieran Meade. 

Mariarosaria Marotta,  

Rita Hickey  

Sinead Morrin 

Steve Carrington 



Cork Institute of Technology 

Derry Fitzgerald 

Keith Bryan 

Ken O’Connell 

Sandra Lenihan 


Institute of Technology Tralee 

Aleksandra Augustyniak 

Helena McMahon 


The 2018 Invention of the Year Awards ceremony will be held in University College Cork on Wednesday 19 September 2018. If you wish to attend the event, please email bridgenetwork@ucc.ie 

To find out more about Bridge Network eventssubscribe to our newsletter at www.bridgenetwork.ie   Read more

Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property

Collaborative response to HEA Intellectual Property Management Review

The Bridge Network is actively responding to the Review of Intellectual Property Management and Conflicts of Interest Policies published in February this year by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The review by the Higher Education Authority and commissioned by Knowledge Transfer Ireland includes a number of recommendations for Higher Education Institutions regarding Intellectual Property Management and Conflicts of Interest Policies with a view to ensuring effective and high-quality governance of their knowledge transfer activities.

A series of initiatives have been undertaken by the Bridge Network consortium members in response to this review. UCC hosted a half-day workshop in May 2018 led by Cengiz Tarhan, Managing Director of UCLB, the commercialisation company of University College London and its partner NHS Trusts.

Following on from this workshop, each member institution of the consortium which includes UCC, CIT, Teagasc and IT Tralee, have reviewed their policies and as necessary, have begun drafting new policies to assure good practice and the implementation of the recommendations in the review.

This item was a key item for discussion at the Quarter 2 Governance Committee meeting held in July. Dr. David Corkery, Operations Manager for the Office of Technology Transfer, UCC, the lead consortium partner, commented “These efforts will further ensure the benefits of the consortium relationship is maximised for all partners and assure high quality of IP and Conflicts of Interest management in each member institution”.

University College Cork has established over 20 companies in the last number of years and has a body of experience to inform the discussion.  These draft policies and the thinking behind the adjustments will form part of the ongoing Bridge Network governance committee meeting discussions.

For more information please contact Dr. David Corkery: D.Corkery@ucc.ie

Minister announces €5M investment for Teagasc Prepared Consumer Food Centre

Mr Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine announced a €5M investment in the Teagasc Prepared Consumer Food (PCF) capability. The announcement was made at the Teagasc Gateway event organised for the Irish Food sector on Tuesday 12 June in the Teagasc Ashtown Food Research Centre.

The PCF Centre will support industry in piloting industry led collaborative research and innovation capability to create the new products that global consumers demand.

Over 200 people attended the event featuring discussions with the Minister of Agriculture and a panel of speakers on Brexit-proofing the Irish Food Industry.

The event highlighted how the role of research and innovation has never before been more important for the Irish food sector. The need for an innovative capability that can exploit existing pre-competitive research expertise was highlighted as a key success factor. The prioritisation and development of such research by public research organisations was agreed.

Teagasc showcased its capability to meet this innovation challenge with attendees touring the specialist facilities and services on the Ashtown site.

For more information, contact Sean Mulvany, Head of Technology Transfer, Teagasc at  Sean.Mulvany@teagasc.ie


Bridge Network Newsletter – Spring 2018

Welcome you to the first edition of The Bridge Network news update on behalf of University College Cork and our consortium partners in Teagasc, Cork Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Tralee. Our mission is to create an effective link for knowledge transfer expertise to be shared and used in the member institutions, enhancing the innovation ecosystem regionally and nationally. We combine our expertise to support the commercialisation of research, early stage spin-out companies, licensing and ultimately effective relationships with industry.

Read more


Multimillion euro deal for UCC spin-out company SensL Technologies

On 10 May 2018 UCC spinout company SensL Technologies was bought by On Semiconductor, a Fortune 500 company listed on the Nasdaq

The Cork-based tech firm, whose sensors are being used by firms developing driverless cars, has been acquired in a multimillion euro deal.

SensL Technologies, which also develops products for medical, industrial and consumer markets, has been bought by On Semiconductor, a Nasdaq-listed Fortune 500 company headquartered in Arizona.

However, in recent years a key area of growth has been developing light detection and ranging (Lidar) products, which are a cornerstone of the technology behind autonomous vehicles.

Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed but industry insiders told The Irish Times it was a “high double-digit deal”. A statement from On Semiconductor said it expected the acquisition would immediately add to its earnings per share.

SensL, whose clients include the European Space Agency, was spun out of the Tyndall National Institute in 2004. It was founded by Carl Jackson and Joe O’Keeffe, the latter of whom went on to enjoy success as a founder of Infiniled, which was acquired by Facebook-owned Oculus VR in 2016.

It’s one of the leading suppliers of silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) sensor technology for light-sensing applications. These sensors are used with extremely low levels of light and are deployed across medical imaging, 3D ranging and sensing, biophotonics and hazard and threat detection.

“We built the company making optical sensors that can be used in a whole bunch of different products,” Mr Jackson told Charlie Taylor of The Irish Times.

Read full story

Bridge Network Launch New Website

​L-R: Josette O’Mullane, Innovation & Enterprise Manager, Cork Institute of Technology; Dr David Corkery, Technology Transfer Manager, University College Cork; Sean Mulvany, Head of Technology Transfer, Teagasc and Dr Alison Campbell, Director Knowledge Transfer Ireland.

The technology transfer consortium Bridge Network is pleased to announce the launch of its new, mobile-friendly website: www.bridgenetwork.ie

The new website showcases the Consortium’s work with industry partners and academic researchers in promoting innovation, knowledge transfer and commercialisation of UCC, CIT, Teagasc and IT Tralee inventions through licensing, patents and start-up and spin out companies.

The clean uncluttered design, shares content focused on the consortium’s combined expertise including a catalogue of available technologies, a show case of success stories with industry partners as well as news items and upcoming events supporting researchers and start-up companies.

“The new website launch will ensure quick and easy access to information for researchers, inventors, industry partners and other stakeholders, and, as a result, will facilitate better understanding and awareness of the impact of the Bridge Network” said Professor Anita Maguire, VP of Research & Innovation, UCC, and Chair of the Bridge Network Governance group.  “With the new website, we aim to reach more industry partners and to commercialise more inventions to continue our contribution to creation of employment both locally and nationally, building on research excellence and creativity,” added Professor Maguire.

About Bridge Network

Bridge Network is a technology transfer consortium that comprises of the technology transfer offices from University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, Teagasc and the Institute of Technology Tralee.

The collaboration is a key driver in the development of Ireland’s knowledge transfer system, supporting innovators and entrepreneurs and ultimately creating jobs for the economy.

Funded by Knowledge Transfer Ireland and supported by Enterprise Ireland , the Bridge network was established in 2017 and it is Ireland’s largest technology transfer consortium.

Bridge Network Governance Meeting hosted by IT Tralee

​L-R: Dr DeclanTroy, Director of Technology Transfer, Teagasc; Orla Flynn, VP External Affairs, Cork Institute of Technology; Dr Oliver Murphy, President IT Tralee; Professor Anita Maguire, VP Research & Innovation, University College Cork; Brid Mc Elligott, VP Research & Development at IT Tralee, Derek Waddell, Director of Technology Transfer, University College Cork.

Last month the Bridge Network held our quarterly governance meeting in IT Tralee at the invitation of Vice President for Research, Development and External Engagement, Brid McElligott. A key agenda item was the recent HEA/KTI Review of IP Management and Conflicts of Interests Management leading to a discussion on how the consortium can ensure consistency in the implementation of the recommendations in the report across all institutions.

Quarterly governance meetings are used by the Bridge Network Partners to ensure that the consortium is achieving its mission and they underpin the strategic relationships between the partners.

Bridge Network shortlisted for National Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Awards

The Bridge Network has been shortlisted in three categories for the National Knowledge Transfer Impact Awards 2018.

The three categories are: The “Meet the Investor” progamme for Best Technology Transfer Initiative; Teagasc has been shortlisted in the “Collaborative Research Impact award” together with industry partners Dairy Concepts IRL. and UCC Technology Transfer Case Manager, Anthony Morrissey, has been nominated for the Knowledge Transfer Achiever Impact Award.

This success follows on from the Bridge Network success at the awards over the last 2 years of the awards where the Bridge Network has won 5 awards.

The winners will be announced at the National Knowledge Transfer Impact Awards that will take place at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin on 26 April 2018.