31 May 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
The search for the most innovative business on the island of Ireland is one step closer following the announcement of the shortlist of The Irish Times Innovation Awards.
This year two Cork firms Reproinfo and Sothic Bioscience are among the 21 finalists from established companies, innovators, start-ups and academia which have been nominated.
There are seven categories in total and Reproinfo has been nominated in the Agri-Food category while Sothic Bioscience has been nominated in Life Sciences & Healthcare.
The aim of the awards, which are now in their seventh year, is to showcase and reward excellence in innovation across a range of products and services.
Fermoy-based Reproinfo has created the CADMan software system that applies cutting-edge vision recognition to diagnose potential problems with reproductive tracts in cattle.
Developed in conjunction with DCU the application has global potential to resolve a major issue in the dairy sector.
Sothic Bioscience, which is based in Blackrock, has set out to revolutionise current lab tests for pyrogens, which are life threatening bacteria. Such tests currently depend on a reagent derived from the blood of the endangered Atlantic Horseshoe Crab. Sothic has produced a bio-identical alternative to the use of the crab. (Details of all the nominated companies are in the Note to the Editor)
The winners of the competition will be announced at a high profile awards ceremony in early October in Dublin. Each category winner will secure a €10,000 media package with The Irish Times and an iPad with a subscription to The Irish Times e paper.
The overall winner of ‘Innovation of the Year’ will win a communications and advertising package from The Irish Times, worth in excess of €150,000. In addition, they’ll also win a UCD Smurfit Business School scholarship for an Executive Education programme commencing in 2017 and a state of the art laptop with subscription to The Irish Times e paper.
Michael McAleer, innovation editor at The Irish Times, described the calibre of this year’s entries as extremely high.
“This has been one of the most challenging, yet interesting years I can remember since we started the awards, with incredibly strong candidates fighting for a finalist spot in every category. I don’t envy the final judging panel who will have to pick a winner for each category, as well as an overall ‘Innovation of the Year’.
While over 300 companies registered for the awards it is now just down to the 21 shortlisted entries who will present their innovations before a distinguished panel of judges in Dublin in June. The final judging panel includes: Dr Chris Horn, the co-founder of IONA Technologies, Norman Crowley CEO & founder Crowley Carbon Ltd, Kevin Neary, co-founder of the GameStop Group, Helen Kirkpatrick MBE, Ivan Coulter the founder of Sigmoid Pharma, Patrick T Gibbons, Jefferson Smurfit Professor of Strategic Management of UCD School of Business and Anna Scally, Tax Partner KPMG.