Molecule RnD - UL

Molecule is a US investment company that engages directly with scientists to develop technologies that have the potential to be cutting edge, effective solutions by solving grand challenges facing humanity and the planet such as clean water, energy, sustainable development. As a direct result of a research of a research collaboration at the University of Limerick it established Molecule RnD Ltd in Limerick to accelerate the commercialisation of the research results.

In 208, Molecule fully funded a collaborative research project with Prof Michael Zaworotko of the Department of Chemical & Environmental Sciences at the University of Limerick to develop one of his patented energy efficient water capture technologies into new materials.

This research project has resulted in a novel means through which traditional dehumidifiers can be transformed into water generating equipment thus helping the global energy efficiency and water crises. Speaking of this discovery, Professor Michael Zaworotko said

“This is a very exciting development, both for me personally and our research team, as it demonstrates how quite fundamental research can have a very high impact in addressing global scale problems.”

Such was the success of the collaboration hat in 2019 Molecule established Molecule RnD Ltd in Limerick to accelerate the commercialisation of the research results. The company has built working prototypes, has a vertical supply chain in the USA, and is offering pilot-project demonstration programs during 2020 to approved interested parties.

It is currently accepting applications for funded demonstration unit pilot programmes for 2020-21

Speaking of the value of collaboration, Kurt Francis, Molecule’s CTO said

“We approached Mike to develop a material for us that could help solve the global water crisis. Our teams meshed to bridge the gap between academic scientific research with real world product development, engineering and business development.”

The Innovation Office/TTO at UL has involved from the outset of this collaboration having advised on the development of the initial work packages and having negotiated the research agreement with Molecule and two subsequent research agreements for the projects that followed. The office has dealt with patent applications arising from the projects and negotiated license agreements. It helped secure Ireland as a preferred location for Molecule’s R&D facility which directly led to the formation of Molecule RND Ltd in the Nexus Innovation Centre on the UL campus. In addition, the TTO has facilitated access for the company to legal financial and other Irish based advisors and researchers.

Professor Zaworotko recognised the support received from the TTO

“Margaret Lawlor [at the TTO in UL] played a pivotal role in enabling the engagement between my research team and the company. Her support was very proactive, highly professional and she showed enormous persistence and stamina to make this arrangement happen.”

 Publish date: 2019 

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