Trinity College Dublin has been successful as a key partner in two milestone EU consortia that will boost innovation and tackle health and raw materials. The European Institute for Innovation and Technology yesterday announced the winning consortia for two new Knowledge Innovation Communities (KICs) − large scale partnerships made up of academic institutions and innovation stakeholders.
The winners of the EIT’s 2014 Call for Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) proposals are the pan-European consortia InnoLife (EIT Health) and RawMatTERS (EIT Raw Materials), bringing together more than 150 partners from 20 EU Member States.
The decision by the EIT Board was made following a shortlisting of consortia by independent international experts. The overriding criterion for selecting the consortia was the potential of the winners to create innovation that link businesses, research institutes, and universities to create the future European innovation ecosystems.
Commenting on its significance, Trinity Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast said:
This is a milestone for Ireland securing core participation in both of the two new European Institute of Innovation and technology (EIT) strategic partnerships that will grow two crucial sectors: health/ageing and mining/refining. Trinity is one of only three universities to secure partnership in both consortia. Our participation in the EIT consortia is crucial for creating jobs in Ireland and will contribute to positioning the country on the global stage for high quality innovation and education. It will attract foreign direct investment, sustaining and growing Ireland’s health and raw materials Industries.
It is anticipated that at full implementation the KIC can benefit from EIT with an opportunity of €90m new funding for which Ireland can compete. It is, by far, the biggest funding programme there is in Europe. EIT has a total fund of €2.7 billion.
Ireland’s effort to secure participation in these two consortia was Government supported through the Departments of Education and Skills, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Geological Survey of Ireland. The initiatives were spearheaded by Trinity College Dublin, which has worked on both KIC bids over the last two years.
Dean and Vice President of Research at Trinity College Dublin, Professor Vinny Cahill, commented:
We are delighted to see this positive outcome in the two bids. Trinity looks forward to working with our national and international partners in these consortia, which also have the potential to contribute significantly to achieving the national target of €1.25 billion in European funding from the Horizon 2020 programme. Both proposals are directly in line with the commitment to promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the College's recently launched Strategic Plan by promoting the creation of knowledge-based businesses; as well as its commitment to addressing current societal challenges, such as those posed by ageing and sustainability.
Trinity College Dublin joins exceptional players from industry, higher education and research institutions of Europe including the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, K.U. Leuven, and Imperial College among others.
It is the only Irish institution forming part of InnoLife, and in RawMatTERS it is joined by the University of Limerick and the companies, Aughinish Alumina Ltd and Boliden Tara Mines.
Trinity is the first Irish university or academic institution ever to be part of a KIC.
Winners bring Pan-European impact
InnoLife Consortium – winner of EIT Health (healthy living and active ageing) – is a consortium of more than 140 partners of leading businesses, research centres and universities from 14 EU countries, including Abbott Laboratories from Spain, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and the University of Oxford from the UK.
Professor Richard Reilly, Professor of Neural Engineering and Ageing and a Director of the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering and who led the Irish input to the successful InnoLife consortium, described the EIT KIC-HEALTH programme as the “perfect framework to accelerate near-to-market healthcare related research projects and promote developed concepts to an expert global audience to secure additional funding, support, network and commercialization opportunities.”
The EIT KIC-HEALTH programme also has a large educational component, creating educational modules to provide new and experienced graduates as well as aspiring entrepreneurs with skills and training in innovation and entrepreneurship for healthcare solutions. This will allow graduate researchers to ability to maximise the commercial success of their projects. For Ireland this will see students from renowned European universities coming to take graduate courses, summer schools and workshops in innovation and entrepreneurship at Irish universities.
Atlantic Philanthropies by empowering ageing research in Ireland and Trinity College Dublin through Trinity EngAGE – Centre for Research in Ageing, has played a key role in enabling Trinity’s success in this process.
RawMatTERS Consortium – winner of EIT Raw Materials (sustainable exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution) – brings together more than 100 partners from 20 EU Member States, including the KGHM Polish Copper S.A. from Poland, the RISE Research Institute of Sweden and the University of Milano-Bicocca from Italy.
Professor Michael Lyons, at the School of Chemistry and AMBER (Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research), in Trinity College Dublin, who lead the Irish bid for Raw MatTERS, through the Irish raw materials platform IFOSTER, said: “KIC membership presents an unparalleled opportunity to fully participate in a pan-European world class partnership which will transform the important raw materials sector internationally. This membership will also give AMBER the opportunity to foster new, and develop existing, industry partnerships in the area of raw materials.”
He added: “This KIC will provide access to an additional key funding source, and generate a significant number of new high value jobs for professional graduates with a mindset for innovation and business in sustainable Mining, Recycling and Substitution of Raw Materials. We believe that this membership will allow us the opportunity for future collaborative applications for funding from significant sources such as Horizon 2020.”