Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD, together with Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, TD, announced during an event held (on December 7) at NovaUCD, that 16 innovative projects have been successful under the second round of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF).

University College Dublin (UCD) is a partner in 4 of the 16 funded projects which all together will share €65 million over the next 3 years.

The €65 million announced today brings the total funding awarded to date under the DTIF to €140 million. The Fund, which was announced as part of Project Ireland 2040, will see an overall amount of €500 million of Government funding allocated over the ten years from 2018 to 2027 alongside enterprise co-funding.

Speaking at NovaUCD Minister Humphreys TD said, “Yet again I am amazed at the quality and originality of the projects that are receiving funding under the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund today. These 16 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.”

“I am especially pleased to see the quality of the collaborations involved, with SMEs, multinationals and research organisations combining to share their expertise and knowledge. As a small nation with limited resources, we must work together to maximise the opportunities from the investment in our enterprise sector and research institutions.”

“These projects involve partners based all around Ireland, from Leitrim to Waterford and Dublin to Galway. It shows the strength of our enterprise and research base across the regions and will bring high-quality jobs and investment to these areas.”

A total of 63 full applications were entered under this second call of the Fund. The eligible projects received went through a rigorous and highly competitive evaluation process involving screening and interview by panels of international experts.

The successfully 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 over 3-years. The members of this project consortium are; Professor R. Bogdan Staszewski, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, with lead partner, IBM Ireland Ltd, 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 over 3-years. The members of this project consortium are; Dr Eoin O’Cearbhaill, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering with lead partner, Latch Medical a UCD spin-out headquartered at NovaUCD, and 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 over 3-years. 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 over 3-years. The members of this project consortium are; Dr David Lillis, UCD School of Computer Science and CeADAR, the Centre for Applied Data Analytics Research, 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, “I warmly welcome Minister Humphreys TD and Minister Doherty TD to NovaUCD for the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund announcement.”

“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.”

She added, “I am delighted that UCD researchers are partnering in four of the successful disruptive projects which will be funded under the second tranche of this highly competitive fund.  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.”

She concluded, “Next year Government will begin the development of the successor strategy to Innovation 2020. The Government’s commitment to initiatives such as the DTIF into the future are vital in positioning Ireland as a global innovation leader.”

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, said, “As a Government, we have invested heavily in the enterprise and research sectors as drivers of the economy, building capacity in those sectors so that we create and maintain high quality employment in our economy. These DTIF projects are excellent examples of the innovation and creativity that is all around us in our companies and our colleges.”

The DTIF is delivering on Pillar 1 of the Government’s ‘Future Jobs Ireland’ initiative – Embracing Innovation and Technological Change – by funding the development and deployment of disruptive innovative technologies on a commercial basis. It is one of the first funds of its type in the world and is aimed at tackling national and global challenges to secure the jobs of the future.

Minister Regina Doherty TD said, “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.

They all involve collaborations of between three to seven partners, with at least one SME being involved in every project and 13 being led by an SME. The other partners include other SMEs, as well as multinationals and academic institutions.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland, who administer the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, said, “This significant funding initiative is future proofing Ireland to ensure that we become leaders in the face of disruptive technologies.The transformational nature of this fund will help to realise the ambitions of Irish companies and ensure Ireland’s growth is maximised.”

“The collaborative focus marries expertise and innovative ideas with like-minded partners to ensure the future growth of enterprise in Ireland. In the second call of awardees announced today, we are seeing a step up in the calibre and size of projects coming through with a greater level of collaboration between SMEs and MNCs. This latest set of DTIF projects illustrates Irish SMEs at their best, demonstrating the originality and creativity for which Ireland is renowned.”