25 July 2016
By Tom O’Sullivan
Tyndall National Institute in Cork has announced the publication of its 2015 Annual Report, which reveals the ICT research institute’s rapidly growing role on the European research stage. As well as strong financial performance, highlights of the report include Tyndall’s crucial part in three Europe-wide research and enterprise programmes launched in 2015, participation in 26 EU Horizon 2020 projects worth over €140 million, and a significantly increased level of engagement with indigenous and multinational companies.
“Tyndall has been one of the highest performers on the national landscape in European programmes,” says Dr. Kieran Drain. “We see ourselves as a partner to industry and to other research institutions, and our vision is to make those partnerships even more effective. Our excellent standards of research and development along with our ability to cover a broad range of Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) help us to support industry, the national economy, and the wider European RTO community.”
Tyndall has been recognised by the European Commission as one of 23 Competence Centres in the Components and Systems arena in Europe. This is testament to the Irish government’s sustained investment in building scientific excellence through Science Foundation Ireland and Enterprise Ireland and to the excellence of Tyndall researchers in core disciplines of Photonics and MicroNano Electronics systems. As part of an EU-supported plan, Competence Centres will be at the core of regional European Digital Innovation Hubs. These hubs will be a one-stop shop for any industry to get support in understanding digital technologies and how to finance necessary investments.
Muriel Attané Secretary General of EARTO commenting on the role of RTOs says “The core mission of the European Association of Research Trade Organisations, EARTO is to harness science and technology to improve quality of life and build economic competitiveness. Tyndall is a great RTO example showing how this mission is being translated in reality bringing impact. EARTO has about 350 members and we are glad to count Tyndall as an active member of our network. Tyndall’s CEO Dr Kieran Drain has also taken a seat on our Board, we are very happy to have his relevant expertise with us and are sure Tyndall will bring great added-value to our network bringing along the perspective of Irish RTOs”.
“As a growing innovation hub and leading RTO, our role is to practically translate research excellence for our partners, bringing them to the manufacturing process and proof of concept,” says Drain . “We also work with industry partners along all steps in European programmes, and act as consultants to SMEs to help them link up with the European funding ecosystem through instruments like Horizon 2020.”
Tyndall’s work with SMEs brought notable successes in 2015. For instance, Cork-based PMD Solutions, a long-standing partner of Tyndall, secured over €4m in funding from the EU Horizon 2020 SME instrument. The funding will be used to commercialise ‘RespiraSense’, its respiratory monitoring device. Fleming Medical, who have developed innovative ‘smart dressings’ for wound care, took advantage of Tyndall’s partnership with Phillips on the Horizon 2020 InForMed program to access funding for medical technology projects.
Tyndall reported total revenues of over €31.6 million in 2015. This includes EU funding of €5m, and industry funding increased to €8m, a leap of 65% from 2014. Tyndall’s expertise in fundamental research is crucial to over 200 industry partners, from local to multinational, in areas such as the Internet of Things, life sciences, AgriTech, communications, energy, and the environment. Tyndall also maintains excellence in its research output, with over 220 peer-reviewed publications in 2015.
Looking ahead to the end of 2016 and beyond, Tyndall’s role as a leading RTO and innovation hub on the Irish and European stages seems set to continue growing.
Tyndall leads the ASCENT programme, established in conjunction with CEA-Leti in France and imec in Belgium to provide the European nanoelectronics research community with access to Europe’s most advanced nanofabrication facilities. According to Dr. Kieran Drain, CEO at Tyndall, “Tyndall is coordinating access to key European research infrastructure, making the Institute a leader, a research portal and a gateway to the most advanced technology in Europe.”
“Tyndall is crucial to ASCENT” says Giorgos Fagas, European Programme Manager at Tyndall. “The programme delivers an open science concept with not just European value but global value, opening infrastructure access and making core tech platforms readily available for development and the validation of tools.”
Tyndall is also providing its technology platforms and fabrication expertise to SMEs that are bridging the gap from R&D to market-ready products through the EU-funded Gateone programme. As part of a Europe-wide consortium of research institutes, Tyndall is working one-on-one with four SMEs through the Smarter-SI programme in 2015, helping them to develop products with commercial applications.