News Column

Industry and IoT Collaboration Will Have Economic Dividend

July 2, 2014

WATERFORD, Ireland, July 2 -- Waterford Institute of Technology issued the following news release:

Institutes of Technology Ireland (IOTI), in partnership with Ibec, today launched a new R&D and innovation strategy and set out 33 examples of how their work with industry and other external partners is generating growth and jobs, and making a major contribution to economic recovery.

Speaking at the launch event in Ibec head office, Dublin, Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn said the new IoT shared 'Strategy for Impact-focused Research, Development and Innovation', along with the case studies, reinforce the key role Institutes must play in driving regional innovation.

Professor Willie Donnelly is leader of Ireland's most successful research centre in generating EU funding, the TSSG, is Vice President for Research and Innovation at Waterford Institute of Technology, and serves as Chair of the IOTI Heads of Research group. Professor Donnelly stated: "The IoTs currently generate about Euros40-Euros50 million in external research funding per annum, but their impact in terms of working with industry runs far deeper. IoTs have a proven ability to engage SMEs in innovation for the first time via short, practical projects, and then build that relationship into longer-term research projects that can deliver real growth and transformation. IoTs have a key role to play in driving regional innovation, which will be critical to ensuring future economic growth."

The case studies include work with multi-nationals like UTRC, well-established indigenous companies like Mergon International and Tridelta, and young enterprises which began life in the programmes and incubation centres in the IoTs themselves, like Equiniche Sciences, Radisens Diagnostics and Microgen Biotech. They also reflect the wider social impact of many of the IoT research projects, showcasing project partnerships with Irish Aid, UNESCO, the Daughters of Charity and hospitals. Presenting evidence of this success and their future commitment to greater industry-academic cooperation is reflected in the choice of Ibec as IOTI's partner in this launch.

Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn continued: "The new strategy and case studies clearly demonstrate the important role the Institutes of Technology have working with industry and other external partners. The fact that the IoTs have come together to set out a clear and ambitious shared strategy for their future work in research, development and innovation is welcome and provides a fantastic foundation to further grow their contribution. The IoTs are at the forefront of change across the education sector."

Paul Hannigan, Chair of Institutes of Technology Ireland and President of Letterkenny Institute of Technology said: "The new strategy sets out a shared vision to deliver strategic and impactful research across the institutes of technology. The new case studies show how the institutes of technology, working with business, can make a major difference to the economic life of their regions. The case studies also profile some of the excellent researchers who are forging international reputations for excellence."

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said: "Enhancing the links between business and higher education is key to Ireland's plan for economic recovery. The new strategy is will play an essential role in this process. For companies of all sizes, the most likely collaboration partner for R&D is academia. Collaborations, such as those highlighted in the case studies, will help companies become more competitiveness, develop new products and services, and exploit new markets."

The strategy document is available here (

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