Trinity Innovation Awards 2018 – Celebrating Innovative Research

Posted on: 20 December 2018

Leading researchers and inventors were acknowledged for their innovative research and entrepreneurship at the Trinity Innovation Awards 2018 special awards ceremony. The highest accolade, the Provost Innovation Award went to Trinity’s Professor of Computer ScienceVinny Wade and Director of the ADAPT Centre for his outstanding contribution to innovation throughout his career.

A jubilant Professor Wade on receiving the award from the Provost.

Professor Wade is a recognised world leading expert on adaptive intelligent systems and personalisation. As the Co-Founder and Director of the SFI funded ADAPT Centre he has led the establishment of a world leading multi-institutional research centre, working with over 50 industry partners on next generation intelligent digital technologies. The Centre engages with a broad range of companies in Ireland and beyond, ranging from indigenous start-ups to multinational enterprises. His consistent contribution to innovation has resulted in highly successful industry collaborations, licences and the formation of new commercial ventures.

Congratulating him on the award, Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast said: “I am delighted to be presenting this award tonight to Professor Vinny Wade. Through his innovative research he is continuously exploring new ways to unlock the potential of digital content, empowering and enhancing online engagement between people. Trinity academics have consistently achieved excellence in discovery and innovation, and Vinny is one of our role models in converting breakthrough concepts into practical solutions.”

The Director of Trinity Research and Innovation, Leonard Hobbs said: At this year’s event, we celebrate our colleagues whose innovative research has led to commercial success, along with those  whose work has had a significant societal impact across a wide breadth of disciplines from nanoscience to neuroscience, digital humanities to creative technologies and immunology to oncology. We further recognise our colleagues who have demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit in founding high potential, investable companies which have achieved Campus Company status in 2018.”

Professor Wade was joined by seven other Innovation Award winners at the special ceremony:

The Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Professor Sean Corish, Fellow Emeritus in  Chemistry  who along  with his colleague Professor Owen Corrigan developed the world’s first transdermal nicotine patch in the 1980s in collaboration with Elan Pharmaceuticals. This technology was patented in over 20 countries and through its application has saved countless lives through smoking cessation. He has also served Trinity in many roles, notably, as Head of Chemistry, Dean of Faculty of Science, Bursar and was Trinity’s very first Dean of Research. He chaired the University’s first Business and Industry Committee which paved the way for our success in building partnerships with industry and our reputation as the partner of choice for academic-Industry collaborations.

Professor Corish on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Professor in Biomechanical Engineering, Bruce Murphy was awarded the Campus Company Founders award. Professor Murphy has excelled in developing innovative medical technologies, targeting major challenges in healthcare and improving the lives of patients world-wide. He leads and trains a highly successful group of researchers at the Trinity Centre for BioEngineering where he is deputy director, as well as engaging widely with industry as a principal investigator with the SFI AMBER Centre.  He has filed more than 15 patents and has founded two campus companies to date, based on technology developed in his laboratory.

The Inventors award is presented to those academics whose innovative research has led to the creation of intellectual property and has subsequently licensed to Industry. The award this year was presented to Professor of Chemical Physics Johnny Coleman, recognising his breakthrough work in practical solutions with graphene and to Dr Ramesh Babu Padamati who has had many successful engagements with industry working in polymer technologies.  Both are principal investigators at the AMBER Centre.

Professor in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Danny Kelly was recognised with the ‘One to Watch’ award which is presented to up and coming entrepreneurial academics whose research is most likely to result in the next campus company, commercial license  or industry engagement. Professor Kelly has won several prestigious research grants in the area of bio-engineering and he continues to collaborate with world leading companies in his field such as Johnson and Johnson and DePuy. He is also currently the director of the Trinity Centre for BioEngineering.

Professor of Neurology Orla Hardiman and Erasmus Smith Professor of Modern History Jane Ohlmeyer were presented with Societal Impact awards.

Professor Hardiman is a world leader in research in Motor Neuron Disease(MND). She leads a large multidisciplinary research group in MND and Multiple Sclerosis. As a consultant neurologist in Beaumont Hospital she sees first-hand how the advances in research impact patients.  She was Director of the Trinity Biomedical Science Institute up until recently and has been newly appointed as Clinical Lead of the National Clinical Programme for Neurology starting next month.  Her priorities in the role are to address neurology waiting lists; adequately resource multidisciplinary teams (MDT) for neurology outpatient services; provide timely access to appropriate inpatient neurology in all neurology centres, and ensure appropriate and timely discharge.

Professor Ohlmeyer has published extensively on early modern Irish and British history. She is a founding member of the Trinity Long Room Hub, arts and humanities research institute. She has made it her life’s work to restructure and rejuvenate not only Trinity’s but the world’s approach to the arts and humanities.  Professor Ohlmeyer has written multiple leading historical texts and spearheaded innovative historical projects like the digitisation of the 1641 Irish rebellion depositions.  She has also worked tirelessly to promote and protect research spanning the whole academic sector as Chair of the Irish Research Council.

Six spin out companies which attained Campus Company status in 2018, were recognised. These included:

  • CroiValve which develops a minimally invasive device for the treatment of a heart condition;
  • Junction Therapeutics which deliver treatments across the Blood Brain Barrier;
  • Selio Medical which are developing a novel technology to prevent pneumothorax, a common, costly, and sometimes deadly complication of lung biopsy impacting one in three patients;
  • Danalto which offer full application end to end solutions for next generation Low Power Wide Area Internet of Things;
  • DataChemist which make big data meaningful by building structured, consistent data stores;
  • Volograms which empower users to create their own content for VR/AR.

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