UCC & Precision Biotics, Trinity & Intel Ireland, NUI Galway and Waterford Institute of Technology win this year’s Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Awards

 27th November 2020 

Over 170 people from technology transfer offices, academia, industry as well as investors and the wider business community logged on to hear the outcome and celebrate the much anticipated Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Awards which were being presented virtually for outstanding research that has been commercialised and outstanding engagement between companies and Research Performing Organisation’s (RPOs), who have worked together to transfer knowledge into real impact and benefit to the economy and society.


The winning entries from universities and institutes of technology around the country were recognised for their achievements. The awards were across three categories:  Commercialisation Impact, Industry Engagement and a new category for 2020 heralding achievements in COVID-19 response and the pivotal role played Ireland’s technology transfer offices is bringing these to fruition. In addition, and for the first time, there was a People’s Choice Award, chosen at the awards ceremony via an online poll:- 

University College Cork & Precision Biotics scooped the Commercialisation Impact Award, for the success achieved by a spin-out company from the university. Formed almost two decades ago from UCC to develop probiotics for human and animal health, Precision Biotics has built sustained value with a range of healthcare products brought to market. This year it was acquired by Danish biotech multinational Novozymes in a deal worth more than €80 million that looks set to protect high value jobs in Cork and further strengthen collaborative links between the company and UCC.

Trinity College Dublin & Intel Ireland secured the Industry Engagement Award, for an enduring research partnership that has delivered value to the company and the university including employment opportunities for Trinity graduates and profiling ground-breaking academic research from the university. In 2020 agreement was reached which will see the two organisations working together for another six-year period as part of the multi-university SFI Amber Centre which is hosted by Trinity.

NUI Galway won the COVID-19 Response Award, for the development of Familylink, a project that connects patients, families and   the clinical teams providing care in the constraints of the ICU setting. The TTO supported an open access strategy for the technology, which places  it in the public domain which has made ICU Familylink accessible for other hospitals to use during the pandemic.

Waterford IT’s CoronaVRus app won the People’s Choice Award – a new feature for this year through which attendees at the event voted in a live poll for their preferred project from the nine finalists. The CoronaVRus app is designed to educate children, specifically those with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), on COVID-19 and safety guidelines.   

Full details on the above entries are included here.   

The Annual Impact Awards recognise significant achievements in knowledge transfer and the commercialisation of research carried out in Irish higher education institutions and research performing organisations (RPOs) nationwide. In particular, they pay tribute to the work of those within Ireland’s Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) around the country who provide a vital link between industry and the academic research. 

Commenting Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar saidThe results from our knowledge transfer system are encouraging. The KTI Impact Awards highlight some of the more recent successes and the entries demonstrate that there are opportunities for Irish SMEs, multinationals and start-up companies to see real benefits from working with Irish universities and institutes. The shortlist for today’s awards is impressive and I commend the  hard work and focus of all who have been involved in each of the projects – the researchers, companies, investors, entrepreneurs and, of course, the teams in the technology transfer offices.”

Commenting, KTI Director and Chair of the Judging Panel Dr Alison Campbell said, “Today is very much about recognising some of the significant achievements across the Irish knowledge transfer system. The finalists and winners of these awards are real examples of the compelling work being undertaken in the Third Level to support innovation and to help Irish companies thrive in challenging markets, delivering benefit to the economy and for people. It’s a delight to be able to bring the work of the Technology Transfer Offices in the universities and IoTs to the fore and to recognise the value of the Enterprise Ireland Technology Transfer Strengthening programme that helps support these offices.”

The shortlisted entries were evaluated by a panel of international experts that included: Rich Chylla, Executive Director of MSU Technologies, Michigan State University, USA and immediate Past-Chair AUTM, the global technology transfer association, based in the USA;  Brendan Hogan, Senior Vice President of Engineering & Operations at Aerogen Ltd. Ireland;  Laura McDonald, CEO at the pan-European association of knowledge transfer professionals, ASTP, Netherlands;  Richie Paul, VP & Head of Intellectual Property at Alkermes Pharma Ireland Limited;  Santiago Romo Urroz, International Relations Advisor, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain and ASTP Board member; and  Jennie Shorley, Head of Engaged Scholarship, Faculty of Business & Law, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK and Board member of PraxisAuril, the UK’s national knowledge transfer association.