Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI researchers receive SFI Technology Innovation Development Awards

07 February 2019

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, today announced €4.5 million in funding for 38 research projects to support the commercialisation of government-funded research. Three projects led by RCSI researchers are among those to be successfully funded.

The RCSI recipients are:

  • Dr Olga Piskareva, Department of Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics (MCT) who has been awarded €128,233 to develop a tissue engineered tumour model that can be used in testing new cancer drugs and new combinations of existing drugs for neuroblastoma.
  • Dr Roger Preston, MCT and Irish Centre for Vascular Biology, who has received €123,313 to develop a new drug therapy to treat inherited and acquired bleeding disorders such as haemophilia.
  • Professor Sally-Ann Cryan, School of Pharmacy, who has been granted €116,723 to develop an artificial trachea (TracheoColl) using 3D printing technology that can be tailored for a specific patient, seeded with the patients' cells and then implanted to regenerate lost/damaged tissue.

The funding is provided through Science Foundation Ireland's Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme. The programme provides project development funding and training in entrepreneurship skills to third-level researchers, to support them in exploring commercial opportunities associated with their research. Researchers will demonstrate if an applied research project (that is, research used to find practical solutions to everyday problems, cure illness, etc.), is technically feasible, and has potential for further commercial development.

Professor Ray Stallings, Director of Research and Innovation, RCSI, said: "Promoting innovative research that leads to improved diagnostics, therapeutics and devices is central to our research strategy at RCSI. These SFI TIDA grants are a stepping stone to commercialising research findings so that they can make a real impact on patients and on society. I congratulate Dr Piskareva, Dr Preston and Professor Cryan on their achievement of securing funding, which is a testament to the high quality and potential practical applications of their research."

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, said "I am delighted to announce the recipients of the SFI TIDA Awards and commercialisation support for 38 research projects. The programme is aligned with a number of key Government strategies including Innovation 2020, the National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship in Ireland and Project Ireland 2040. It will develop important entrepreneurship skills and commercialisation capabilities, ensuring Ireland maintains its position as a leader in cutting-edge research."

Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said, "Science Foundation Ireland is committed to investing in the translation of world-class research from the laboratory to market. A key objective is to increase the number and quality of discoveries that have strong economic impact potential, that can secure follow-on public or private investment. The TIDA programme plays a key role in this process by providing funding to develop technologies, as well as fostering entrepreneurship skills among our research community."

The research projects supported by the SFI TIDA programmes will be funded through 12 research bodies, as follows: Trinity College Dublin (11), National University of Ireland Galway (5), University College Cork (4); University College Dublin (4); Dublin City University (3); RCSI (3), University Limerick (2), National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (2), Tyndall National Institute (1), National University of Ireland Maynooth (1), Dublin Institute of Technology (1) and Cork Institute of Technology (1).