University College Cork spin outs shortlisted for Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Awards

Awards showcase the best in research, innovation, and collaboration from public research. Two spin out companies at University College Cork (UCC) have been shortlisted by Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) in their 2021 Impact Awards, with the winners to be announced on November 26th, 2021, at a virtual ceremony from Croke Park. 

The Annual Impact Awards recognise significant achievements in knowledge transfer, the commercialisation of publicly funded research nationwide and engagement with research system across the third level and other similar State research institutions. In particular, these awards 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 academic research.

UCC and Rockley Photonics have been shortlisted for the Industry Engagement Award, which recognises and celebrates knowledge transfer success when publicly funded research performing organisations and companies work together through collaborative research or consultancy. Rockley Photonics – a leader in silicon photonics for use in consumer sensors, healthcare, and data communications – has collaborated with the ​IPIC SFI Research Centre for Photonics in Tyndall ​National Institute at UCC since 2017 and is regarded as one of UCC’s most successful collaboration partnerships. On the back of this success Rockley established Rockley Photonics Ireland in Cork in 2020 which grew to ten employees in 2021, 55% of which are w​omen. Rockley continues to collaborate extensively with Tyndall researchers.

UCC and Mirai Medical have been shortlisted in a new category for this year’s awards, the Future Forward Award, which seeks to recognise activities which have strong potential for future impact but may still be at the early stages of development or roll out. Founded in 2015 as a spinout from UCC, Mirai Medical is developing a breakthrough electrochemotherapy (ECT) that can treat cancers in an outpatient setting. By 2021, Mirai had raised significant levels of funding, including an award of €4.78M in 2021 under the state’s Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund, and is active in 45 hospitals around Europe and Asia.

Awards will be presented across three categories in the 2021 Impact Awards. The first category, the Commercialisation Impact Award, recognises successful outcomes from licensing rights to technology or intellectual property or through the creation of a spinout company.

“These nominations recognise the hard work & determination of our researchers and UCC Innovation team in translating our cutting edge research into technologies which can have major societal impact” commented Professor John Cryan, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at UCC. 

Alison Campbell, KTI Director, said: “It is hugely encouraging to see the breadth of activity on show for this year’s Impact Awards. The enduring commitment we see from industry to work with Irish researchers sends a positive message about the engagement model we have here in Ireland and the impact from spinout companies emerging from the system is really impressive. That is testament to the strength of the Irish knowledge transfer offices and the unique system of supports that we have in the country. I’ve been particularly pleased to see equity, diversity and inclusion reflected in so many of the submissions this year and I’m optimistic that this trend will continue. I wish all our shortlisted entries the best of luck and look forward to unveiling the winners in November.”

“I am delighted that both of UCC’s nominations have been shortlisted for the prestigious KTI Impact awards.  Mirai Medical is a UCC spin-out company that is developing ePORE® technology to treat cancer in an outpatient setting, making it more cost-effective for the healthcare system and accessible for patients. The treatment has minimal side-effects and preserves surrounding healthy tissue. The Rockley Photonics collaboration with the IPIC SFI Research Centre for Photonics in the area of silicon photonics devices has led to the establishment of an Irish base called Rockley Photonics Ireland in Cork, with ambitious R&D growth plans.  Both of these projects demonstrate how UCC researchers and entrepreneurs translate government research funding into real economic and societal impact, by creating new medical treatments and high-value jobs in Ireland. They are a testament to how research and innovation are flourishing in UCC” stated Sally Cudmore, Interim Director of Innovation, UCC.   

“Transfer of the outcomes from our excellent research to industry is a critical element of Tyndall’s impact and success within Ireland. The KTI Impact Award nomination is a visible endorsement of the commitment and dedication of our research teams to innovation. We are proud that Rockley Photonics is a strategic partner of IPIC SFI Research Centre and Tyndall National Institute” stated Professor William Scanlon, CEO, Tyndall National Institute.

Source: University College Cork

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