South East industry to benefit from equipment worth almost €1million awarded to WIT under the Enterprise Ireland Capital Call
Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is unique to the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway network as it hosts three of the sixteen technology gateways; SEAM (South Eastern Applied Materials), PMBRC (Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biology Research Centre) and TSSG in the Walton Institute. Each gateway works in conjunction with industry to aid the research and development of innovative products and services through a dedicated team of full-time researchers and engineers.

Each gateway within WIT specialises in very different areas from advanced manufacturing, pharmaceutical science to ICT creating a diverse ecosystem of innovative research within the region. Since 2019, WIT’s technology gateways have secured over €2.9 million in funding from the Enterprise Ireland Capital Call, meaning new state-of-the-art equipment will be available for industry to access right here in the South East.

Kathryn Kiely, Head of Industry Services in WIT credits funding programmes such as this Capital Call to the continued success and growth of industry in the region. “Investment in research infrastructure in WIT and the South East region is key to enhancing the innovative and productive capacity of the region. Funding which WIT’s technology gateways have secured in recent years through this programme has played a critical role in enabling our research centres to very effectively collaborate with companies on a range of R & D activities. Much of the equipment we provide companies access to is unique to the south east and, in some cases, unique to Ireland and we would like to thank Enterprise Ireland for supporting our research and regional business.”

Martin Corkery, Enterprise Ireland Regional Director for the South & South East Region, comments on the importance of this new infrastructure in the region as organisations of all sizes strive to innovate and advance their competitive edge. “This important investment coupled with the support and expertise of our technology gateways in WIT will enable industry across the region to pursue their own innovation agendas particularly on challenges where they don’t have all of the resources ‘in house’. This capital investment is essential to serving the R&D needs of industry across the South East region and will give them an opportunity to utilise state of the art equipment as they look towards developing new innovative products and services.”

Through the Technology Gateways in WIT, the expertise of almost 120 industry focused researchers, together with the specialist equipment and facilities of the wider institute are being leveraged to access near-to-market innovation and solutions. Since 2013, over 2,500 Irish based companies have used the Technology Gateway network to complete more than 4,500 innovation based projects at a total value of over €40.5 million, 49% of which has come directly from industry. These figures outline the requirement for industry gateways such as the three in WIT to support the economy, growth of the region, employment and FDI.

Technology Gateways are accessed by companies of all sizes. Typical projects focus on the development of a new product or service or the optimisation of a process. The project sizes vary from small short term, of which 60% are €5,000-10,000, to larger projects which range to over €900,000 typically funded from the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme. For businesses – and for Ireland INC – the impact of these collaborations can be big.

To further develop collaboration and optimise the power of the Network, 3 sectoral clusters were established to deliver market lead innovation solutions for Irish companies, in the areas of Applied Internet of Things, Engineering, Materials & Design and Food and Beverages. Walton Institute, SEAM and PMBRC are members of all three clusters as they work to consolidate the considerable amount of expertise and technologies available throughout the network and deliver market lead innovation solutions in a collaborative and responsive fashion.

The new equipment will be available in 2021 and includes:
- Digital Photogrammetry Unit (TSSG Technology Gateway)
- Near-Infrared Spectrometer (PMBRC Technology Gateway)
- X-Ray Fluoroscope (SEAM Technology Gateway)
- Coordinate Measurement Machine (SEAM Technology Gateway)
- White Light Interferometry (SEAM Technology Gateway)