Trinity Innovation Awards celebrate academics’ contribution to research and innovation

Posted on: 08 November 2023

Dr Bruce Murphy, a prolific innovator and translational researcher working in medical device design, received the headline Provost’s Innovation Award at the annual event that brings Trinity’s stellar innovation and enterprise community together.

Hosted by Trinity Innovation and Enterprise, the Trinity Innovation Awards recognise outstanding contributions to research and innovation. 

Dr Bruce Murphy receives the Provost Innovation Award from Dr Linda Doyle

Dr Bruce Murphy receives the Provost's Innovation Award from Provost, Dr Linda Doyle.

Dr Murphy is one of Trinity’s most prolific innovators and translational researchers, who runs world-leading medical device design incubator labs. Spinouts including Croívalve, Selio Medical, Proverum and One Projects, which develop patient-focused medical device therapeutics, have raised over €100 million in capital and employ the equivalent of 100 full-time positions. Two more devices are currently in clinical trials.

Dr Linda Doyle, Provost and President of Trinity, said:

“Innovation in Trinity is distinguished by its basis in deep academic research and these awards illustrate the breadth of that innovation across the university. This year’s awardees represent multiple disciplines: from classics to chemistry, from psychology to physics, and I want to congratulate each recipient on their success.

“These innovations tackle a wide range of issues such as energy storage using nanotechnology, monitoring stroke risk, treatments for rare neurodevelopmental, psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, and digital inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities. In addition, we are honouring the value of industry collaboration, as demonstrated by the exciting Trinity Quantum Alliance.

“In particular, I am absolutely delighted to present Dr Bruce Murphy with the Provost’s Innovation Award. Bruce’s innovative output is truly remarkable and has resulted in fantastic medical applications as well as significant employment.

“I would like to thank our Chief Innovation and Enterprise Officer, Dr Michelle Olmstead, and her team for organising this event and for providing such excellent support to our research community in key areas such as technology transfer.”

On receiving the Provost’s Innovation Award, Dr Bruce Murphy said:

I am delighted to receive the Provost’s Innovation Award; it’s an honour to be recognised by my peers and colleagues at Trinity, amongst many great achievements in research and innovation created at Trinity in the past.  Translating or ‘valorising’ research and development to the benefit of patient’s health is above all a team effort, and I must express my gratitude for the contribution of the excellent students and researchers at my lab over many years, together with my colleagues in the Trinity Centre for Biomedical Engineering at the Department of Mechanical, Manufacturing and Biomedical Engineering. 

“We are fortunate in Ireland to have superb innovation support programmes at Enterprise Ireland, at the SFI Centres such as AMBER, and needs-led innovation initiatives such as BioInnovate at the University of Galway.  The team at our Knowledge Exchange Office (KnEx), supported by KTI, were key to managing our IP assets, licensing, and spin-out development processes, helping to engage with our Entrepreneur and Investor partners and co-founders who are taking our work onwards to benefit the most important group that is patients in need.”

Trinity’s Chief Innovation & Enterprise Officer, Michelle Olmstead said:

“This is my first year as Trinity’s Chief Innovation and Enterprise Officer and it is my great honour to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our innovation and enterprise community at the Trinity Innovation Awards. I look forward, with my teams, to building on this success. A Portal is being created for our innovation community to enter and come together for improved collaboration, welcoming everyone to curated research, innovation and enterprise spaces.  This will take our innovation to the next level, by creating more corporate partnerships and commercialisation opportunities that will support our world-renowned researchers in bringing their solutions to life to the benefit of society, the planet, and our economy.”

A number of researchers received awards across the many different categories at the event, which included:

Lifetime achievement Award

Professor John Boland received the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his career-long contribution to innovative research. Professor Boland, School of Chemistry, is Director of the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN).

Professor John Boland receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from Dr Linda Doyle

Professor John Boland receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from Provost, Dr Linda Doyle.

Prof Boland co-founded the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), a leading neuroscience research hub, and his work in nanoscience and nanotechnology, particularly with materials like graphene, has spurred innovation in electronics and energy storage. He directed Trinity's AMBER Research Center, driving material science innovation and fostering academia-industry collaborations, and actively engages with industry partners, with his collaborations leading to tech advancements and real-world applications.

Additionally, Prof. Boland's teaching and mentoring have cultivated the next generation of innovators, ensuring his legacy endures. He has also promoted interdisciplinary research, spurring innovative solutions through diverse expertise.

Inventors Award

Dr Lewys Jones, Ussher Assistant Professor in the School of Physics, received the 2023 Inventors Award, having won the Trinity Innovation ‘Ones to Watch’ Award 12 months ago. Since joining Trinity in 2017 he has worked very closely with Trinity's Knowledge Exchange Office, proving to be an extremely innovative scientist and valued collaborator, who has fostered fruitful engagement with a number of industry partners. He has submitted 11 IDFs and is named as an inventor on five patent applications.

Student Entrepreneurs of the Year Award

Mike Ryan and Matthew Campbell, students in biomedical engineering and co-founders of NeuroSonic, which finished second in the 2023 edition of LaunchBox, jointly received the Student Entrepreneurs Award. Founded in 2023, NeuroSonic is the world’s first at-home stroke risk monitoring system. NeuroSonic offers a revolutionary and personalised approach to empower individuals in taking control of their cardiac health and gaining a deeper understanding of their bodies and an individual’s risk of stroke.

Matthew and Mike have already prototyped hardware that not only serves a vital function but also boasts an innovative and practical design. Their dedication to practical application is evident in their ongoing research and experimentation in the Trinity Lab, with a focus on quantifying the impact of their innovation, promising further advancements in the field.‚Äč

Campus Company Founders Award

Dr Max Bianchi, Adjunct Professor in the School of Psychology at Trinity, and President/CEO of Ulysses Neuroscience at the Trinity Institute of Neurosciences (TCIN), received the Campus Company Founders Award. Ulysses Neuroscience creates innovative treatments for rare neurodevelopmental, psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. It bridges the gap between researcher and patient in clinical and pre-clinical research, improving patient experiences and outcomes.

Dr Bianchi thought there was a need for a new way to do business in neuroscience; not as a pure contract research organisation, but as a private research and development organisation able to work with patients and to then provide the pharmaceutical industry this bridge with patients.

Ulysses Neuroscience was founded in 2019 and now employs 14 people, works with 15 worldwide pharmaceutical companies and generates over €2 million in revenue per year. The company became an Enterprise Ireland HPSU in 2022 and a Trinity campus company in 2023.

Societal Impact Award

Dr Esther Murphy, Principal Investigator in the School of Engineering and academic collaborator at the SFI Adapt Centre in the School of Computer Science and Statistics, was awarded the Societal Impact Award. Dr Murphy is the Principal Investigator for two research projects with a focus on digital inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities (ID). Her work is person-centred and focused on principles of inclusion, accessibility and well-being for people with ID.

Dr Murphy is passionate about promoting digital and social inclusion via the co-creation of a digital skills education programme for adults with ID. The goal is to ensure nobody is left behind in today's increasingly digital world. She is working in partnership on real projects with Big Tech companies including Alphabet, EY and Microsoft to reach that goal and has secured extensive European funding to make the cultural changes required, by empowering people to provide the training required to and for their peers. 

Industry Engagement Award

Professor Stefano Sanvito, Professor of Condensed Matter Theory and Director of CRANN, and Dr John Goold, Associate Professor in the School of Physics, were jointly awarded the Industry Engagement Award for establishing the Trinity Quantum Alliance (TQA) in May 2023, which includes leading industry partners Microsoft, IBM, Horizon Quantum Computing, Algoririthmiq and Moody's Analytics as founding partners.

The TQA is the first major step to building an organised network for quantum professionals and researchers in Ireland integrating research, education and industry. Stefano and John have been instrumental in building the MSc in Quantum Science and Technology and pre-doc programme that will provide a pipeline of skilled quantum graduates to this under-resourced sector. The Trinity-IBM predoctoral programme offers Trinity PhD students the opportunity to work as an employee in IBM while being co-supervised at Trinity – a collaboration that has already seen a Nature publication in quantum simulation.

The TQA will embed research activity across quantum networks, HPC integration and basic quantum science in the university. There are also broader benefits to the Irish research eco-system as one of the founding partners, Horizon Quantum Computing, is using the alliance to build its presence in Ireland with the creation of new jobs, and co-location in the TQA premises.

Consultancy Award

Dr Rebecca Usherwood, Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics, won the Consultancy Award for her work on the Consult Trinity programme.

Dr Usherwood is one of CONSULT Trinity's first PIs and has been using the service since 2018. She applies her knowledge about Ancient Rome to advise on a historical TV drama and has been advising the scriptwriters for over six years. She has provided support for many of CONSULT’s marketing campaigns and giving real life examples of how the consultancy has enhanced her career at Trinity.

Trinity Innovation and Enterprise supports investigative research from concept to implementation, enabling discovery and innovation and connecting researchers with a community of innovators. Trinity Innovation and Enterprise is supported by Enterprise Ireland.

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