A partnership between scientific and agricultural industry bodies has been recognised by Knowledge Transfer Ireland for their work to help the Irish dairy industry improve its detection of chlorate residues.
The KTI Impact Awards celebrate the work of the Higher Education Innovation Offices around the country, and their role in helping transform academic research into commercial impact.
Three prestigious awards were up for grabs across Commercialisation Impact, Industry Engagement, and the Future Forward Award at the ninth annual Impact Awards.
The agricultural group, which consisted of Teagasc, Independent Milk Laboratories (IML), FBA Laboratories and Kerry Group, clinched the Industry Engagement Award, for an enduring research partnership through which industry consulted with Teagasc in relation to specialist expertise in testing for chlorate residues.
Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI), is the Irish body that helps connect businesses of all sizes to publicly funded research opportunities.
Chair of the judging panel, Imelda Lambkin, Manager of Disruptive Technologies, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer at Enterprise Ireland, said: “The quality of collaboration between businesses and publicly-funded research continues to improve year-on-year, and the calibre of award entries reflect this, making 2022 a challenging one for the judging panel.
"It is important to pay particular credit to the work of the technology transfer offices around the country who provide the vital link and support structure so knowledge transfer can deliver meaningful outcomes to society. The teams in these offices around the country are key to the successes being celebrated by the KTI Impact Awards.”
The dairy partnership's winning entry was based on Teagasc consultancy work to develop proprietary testing methods for chlorates for the Irish dairy industry.
Chlorate residues present potential health concerns, especially for infants, that could have a negative bearing on Irish infant formula exports currently worth €1bn annually.
As the sole Irish commercial provider of accredited chlorate testing of milk samples to the Irish dairy industry, Teagasc worked with these companies to establish new analytical laboratories, thereby ensuring increased demands by Irish dairy industry for testing were met.
Consultancy included bespoke training to staff in the operation of equipment, test methods and data analysis and establishment of new laboratories. As well as allowing Kerry Group to rapidly test its own milk samples, this has resulted in the establishment of high-quality commercial testing labs for, FBA and IML with combined testing of 80,000 samples, revenue exceeding €1m and 8 jobs created as a result.
Other winners included Trinity College Dublin and SilverCloud Health which scooped the Commercialisation Impact Award, for success achieved by a spin-out company from the university. SilverCloud Health Ltd spun out from Trinity College Dublin in 2012 having developed a system that helps patients suffering with mental health conditions.
University College Dublin and PlasmaBound won this year’s Future Forward Award. PlasmaBound has developed a ground-breaking, environmentally friendly, lightweight composite bonding technology that poses real potential as a key solution in advanced manufacturing.