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News Archive

24th July 2012: 2014: Developing new equine product and supporting business growth

Equiniche Sciences aims to develop and bring to market innovative solutions based on sound science and practical knowledge for the care and management of horses.

Equiniche Sciences, a participant start-up on Athlone Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Programme (now New Frontiers) in 2011, was established by Dr Michelle O’Connor, a Veterinary Physiotherapist, to develop a new way of feeding horses in training – the Harmony Equine Feeder ( Michelle had a concept for a hay feeder that would enable horses in a stabled routine to eat at ground level and throughout the day - thereby solving physiological and behavioural problems associated with intermittent feeding and eating in an unnatural position.

The challenge for AIT’s Centre for Industrial Services and Design (CISD) was to design for manufacture a plastic hay container incorporating a rubber mesh, which would control the delivery of hay and allow the horse to eat in an anatomically comfortable and correct head and neck position at ground level – thereby mimicking the natural grazing position.

CISD provides a range of services including rapid prototyping, mechanical testing, chemical analysis, product design and engineering – with a particular focus on design for manufacture and assembly techniques to provide a seamless transition from CAD to fi nished product with minimal risk. CISD hosts extensive facilities to design, build and test components using 3D CAD software, in-house high spec 3D printers, vacuum casting equipment and a full suite of mechanical and chemical analytical laboratories. CISD has supported 230 companies and completed over 1,000 projects in the last seven years.

Equiniche Sciences was a participant start-up on the Enterprise Programme at AIT’s Midlands Innovation and Research Centre (MIRC) in 2011. The Programme (now New Frontiers) provides entrepreneurs with the business skills, networks, facilities and supports necessary to navigate the business start-up process from  concept to successful commercialisation.

A key objective of the MIRC is to leverage the research and development resources of AIT to support innovative start-ups. The MIRC’s message to potential entrepreneurs is: “If you have an innovative business idea, AIT has the resources to both develop your product and to support you in developing your business and bringing your product to market.”

CISD designed and developed a prototype of the Hayfeeder. The main plastic parts were designed for the rotational moulding process and the rubber parts using the compression moulding process. 3D CAD models were built using Pro-Engineer software. A concept design was also drafted in 2D for a patent application. Work then focused on developing the rubber mesh system in terms of both material and configuration to ensure durability, safety and controlled access to the hay. The feeder unit was further developed and assembly and fixing details defined. Final design of the Hayfeeder by CISD enabled Equiniche Sciences to purchase tooling for the components, and initial units to be manufactured.

The work by CISD on behalf of Equiniche Sciences was funded by two Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers. Supported by the MIRC, Equiniche Sciences was awarded €50,000 Competitive Start Funding from Enterprise Ireland in 2012 to test the market for its product and progress its business plan for the global marketplace. The Harmony Hayfeeder was launched onto the Irish market at the Equus Live Exhibition held in Punchestown in November 2013 where it won the inaugural Innovation Award. Supported by the MIRC and Enterprise Ireland, a marketing strategy involves attendance at trade shows and exhibitions to provide exposure to the broader equestrian community in Ireland, the UK and Europe. The Harmony Hayfeeder has the potential to be a global product with significant equine populations in Europe, the US, Japan and Australia.



“AIT was fantastic. Conor Hayes at CISD brought the Harmony Hayfeeder from concept to prototype to final design for manufacture. We plan to continue to work with CISD on future projects. The Enterprise Programme gave us the focus, time and facilities to get started while the MIRC and Enterprise Ireland continue to support us in building our capabilities and securing markets.”

Dr. Michelle O'Connor, Equiniche Sciences

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Michael Lonergan
Midlands Innovation and Research Centre
Athlone Institute of Technology
Dublin Road, Athlone
Co. Westmeath, Ireland
T: +353 (0)90 647 1882
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Dr. James Kennedy
Centre for Industrial Services & Design
Athlone Institute of Technology
Dublin Road, Athlone
Co. Westmeath, Ireland
T: +353 (0)90 648 3028
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24th July 2012: 2014: Developing novel methods of reducing raw material costs in plastics processing

Mergon are innovators in technical plastic moulding solutions for the Automotive, Industrial and Healthcare sectors. They use the latest material and technologies to design, manufacture and test plastic components that meet the most demanding requirements.

Plastic processing is Mergon’s core competence. Thirty years at the forefront of technical moulding and extensive research and development have led to a significant capability in assembly and finishing processes. Mergon’s technical expertise and ability to innovate continues to lead to superior products and competitive advantage for their customers. Mergon works hard to maintain this technical lead in a highly-competitive sector. Their corporate Research and Development facility is based in Ireland and they have worked closely with AIT since the company was established by AIT graduate and CEO Pat Beirne.

Mergon has successfully interacted with the Polymer group at the AIT Materials Research Institute for many years. They have utilised the polymer expertise, including material testing, characterisation, compounding, injection moulding and extrusion, to fulfil their R&D requirements for long and short term projects, ranging from Innovation Partnerships to final product testing.

At Mergon, the number one cost constraint is raw material. In order to remain competitive Mergon has undertaken a variety of projects with AIT to reduce raw material costs either though the incorporation of low cost fillers, reducing the density of the moulded parts or through the use of recycled polymers. These components are introduced into the polymer raw material through a compounding process.

Once the materials have been homogeneously combined, they are injection moulded into test specimens in-house prior to running a battery of polymer characterization tests including mechanical, thermal and chemical testing techniques. AIT successfully identified novel methods which can be utilized to reduce raw material costs.

AIT continues to develop these methods in order to produce a commercially ready additive for on-going manufacturing use. To date such collaborations between AIT and Mergon have been funded through: 

• Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership support for a Post-doctoral research fellow

• AIT President Seed fund support for a MSc student

• Environmental Protection Agency industry funding (Mergon as the applicant, AIT as a collaborator)

• Direct industry funding


Mergon works in a highly competitive manufacturing industry and is constantly under pressure from low cost economies. However, they have built long lasting relationships with their key customers to allow them to flourish. The research carried out in partnership with AIT has allowed Mergon to stay ahead of their competitors and remain the supplier of choice of some of the world’s most recognized brands.



“Working with AIT has allowed Mergon to leverage the extensive expertise and test equipment available within the Materials Research Institute to develop material and process improvements in order to remain at the forefront of technology in the Automotive, Industrial and Healthcare sectors”

Michael Daly, Mergon International

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Prof. Clem Higginbotham
Materials Research Institute
Athlone Institute of Technology
Dublin Road, Athlone
Co. Westmeath, Ireland
T: +353 (0)90 646 8050
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24th July 2012: 2014: Facilitating more effective mobile operating systems via development of new product

Openet delivers transactional intelligence to the world’s largest telecommunication service providers. The company’s solutions enable its customer base to extract the maximum value from activity on their networks.

This is achieved by gaining visibility into the usage of network services, deploying new business models to grow revenues and profitability, controlling access to and allocation of network resources and enabling end-user service personalisation.

ChattyApps is a commercial project undertaken to address the issue of signalling overload in modern mobile networks, which has been introduced by the proliferation of smartphone devices and their need to be constantly connected. ChattyApps attempts to reduce the resource demand on the Radio Access Network by only allowing full bearer services to Applications running in the foreground.

Modern mobile operating systems manage the lifecycle of applications in order to conserve resources on the device. Once a user finishes interacting with an App, it is often shifted into background mode, where the App relinquishes the User Interface of the device, but is still able to perform tasks such as networking. Many Apps rely on In- App advertising to generate revenue and constantly poll back end advert servers to check for new ads to display. They do so when they are interacting with the user and also when they are in background mode. This requires the setting up and tearing down of TCP sessions on an ongoing basis between the device and back end server, which in turn causes a signalling load in the SS7 network of the mobile operator.

The Software Research Institute at Athlone Institute of Technology conducts applied research in digital media communications and applications and network and infrastructure management. With the support of Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership funding, it began to work jointly with Openet on the project ChattyApps which aimed to alleviate this problem.

The approach taken in this project is to deploy agent software on the Android OS that mediates the data flows between the device and back end servers. Background data is permitted in certain cases for “whitelisted” Apps, but in general data generated from background Apps is blocked. The software Agent is controlled via policies set up on a backend server, to which the Agent connects periodically.

The Agent also collects statistics from the device relating to network communications and forwards these on to the server for analysis and display. As a result of this successful research partnership, a commercial product was produced which will generate a large return on investment for mobile operators, expand the product range of the company and increase its revenue stream and profitability.


"The objectives of the research project in delivering a first to market and innovative commercial product is a real life output of what an Innovation Partnership should deliver.”

Joe Hogan, CTO and Founder, Openet

To download this case study please click here

Dr. Brian Lee
Software Research Institute
Athlone Institute of Technology
Dublin Road, Athlone
Co. Westmeath, Ireland
T: +353 (0)90 648 3035
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24th July 2012: 2014: Developing a new design process and new products for a luxury textile manufacturer

Jem Textiles was set up in 1997 and is owned and managed by Ms. Jacinta Edge-Moody. She designs and creates luxurious fabrics for interior designers, architects and international fabric houses, using hand printing, appliqué and embroidery creating unique and aesthetic pieces. These fabrics are used in both the international contract and domestic markets.

With the changing market conditions, Jem Textiles was keen to explore innovative methods, using new technologies, to develop their product lines and bring them to the market place to expand the business. However, the company was unsure how technologies, traditionally used in other industry sectors, could be adapted to benefi t their craft designs. Lacking the resources and access to specialised equipment or expertise to achieve this, Jem Textiles turned to DesignCORE at IT Carlow to help.

DesignCORE is an industry facing applied research centre that works across different sectors of the economy, including the craft industry. DesignCORE’s philosophy and expertise in rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing technologies encourages the development and implementation of new product development methodologies within small to medium-sized enterprises. The Centre’s facilities provide access to digital design technologies, introduce industrial design principles and encourage experimentation and engagement as process.

Jem Textiles and DesignCORE collaborated on a number of research design projects, putting in place an augmented approach that merged the industrial design and craft design methodologies. By building on traditional craft methods, modern materials were combined with digital techniques and incorporated the company’s textile and interior knowledge to develop and produce innovative designs. By then deploying DesignCORE’s rapid manufacturing techniques, fabric designs were translated to acrylic, opening up a potential new product range to take to market.

The collaborative research activities between DesignCORE and Jem Textiles were supported by Carlow County Enterprise Board (CCEB) through the Industrial Design Partnership Programme. The collaboration resulted in a new approach to the design development process, combining craft and industrial design  methodologies, through the development of an innovative lighting design using laser cut acrylics, which are side lit with LEDs. The partnership also produced a new product range combining 3D printing with fibre optics, expanding Jem Textiles product portfolio and increasing their exposure in the market place, both in Ireland and abroad. The new designs developed were chosen by Pantone as part of their Radiance Mood Board for 2013 Trends, while another design was featured in the Spring issue of What’s Hot in Irish Interiors.

Following the collaboration, Jem Textiles has increased their product lines and exhibited two new lighting ranges at 100% Design, the UK’s largest design trade event in London. The partnership has resulted in expanded business opportunities for their new designs, ensuring they have a stronger footing in the marketplace, improving the viability of the business going forward.



"Before engaging with the Institute, my work involved predominatelyhand drawn designs which were transferred onto fabric by hand painting using old traditional skills. Production methods were slow and costly, making it difficult to make a living. In the previous year, I had been trying to combine my bespoke fabrics with fibre optics and LED lighting, wishing to expand my technical abilities, while creating a very unique product. Working with the Institute provided a fantastic opportunity to embrace digital design with manufacturing techniques. Their attributes of visualisation, ease to adapt ideas, great communication skills and their in-depth knowledge of digital design and process made the collaboration easy. This type of collaboration allows craftspeople and designers opportunities to develop their products making them affordable and available to a wider market. Engaging with the Institute was a very positive and enlightening experience and has been instrumental in changing the course of my business with the expansion of the business in new products I design and make.”

Jacinta Edge-Moody, Jem Textiles

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Hilary Dempsey
Institute of Technology Carlow
Kilkenny Road, Carlow
T: +353-59-917 5000
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24th July 2012: 2014: Identifying bacteria strains for application in industrial bioremediation

Microgen Biotech is a research-orientated spin-out company from IT Carlow that provides bioremediation solutions for the cleaning of contaminated soil,groundwater and toxic sediment.

The company uses an exclusive combination of natural soil degrading bacteria and site specific organisms coupled with biopile engineering in their unique treatment process. The company was established by Dr Xeumei Germaine, a PhD graduate from IT Carlow, and focuses primarily on the Chinese market.  

Microgen Biotech’s bioremediation products compose of bespoke pollutant degrading microbial consortia, concentrated in a novel biodegradable bead form. Currently in the European and US markets, microbial based bioremediation products are applied as liquids. The microbes often have very low survival rates when applied in this way and thus do not perform the bioremediation process effectively.

Microgen Biotech’s technology allows site-specific microbes to adapt quickly to their soil environment and facilitate a slow release system for the introduction of huge numbers of highly active pollutant degrading cells, ensuring a highly effi cient remediation process.

EnviroCORE at IT Carlow is involved in strategic applied research and education in innovative environmental biotechnology with a view towards sustainable economic and social development. Through collaboration with the researchers and technical expertise in EnviroCORE, Dr Germaine identified a number of bacteria strains. She believed that these strains, developed via her own work as a student and by other researchers at IT Carlow, could be applied to industrial bioremediation projects in China. Microgen Biotech was set up as a spin-out company to commercialise these strains in addition to providing technical know-how and site-specific project management through collaborations with Chinese companies.

To help further develop her business acumen, Dr Germaine participated on the IT Carlow New Frontiers programme for entrepreneurs which focused on structuring the business model and developing an investor ready business plan for the new enterprise. Following completion, Dr Germaine was awarded assistance from Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund in recognition of the potential of the new business. Microgen Biotech is currently in negotiations with a number of Chinese companies to secure contracts to develop the infrastructure necessary for bioremediation projects and to provide their microbial bead technology, product development and project design services. Microgen Biotech chose to initially enter this market as China has many environmental issues which severely affect its biophysical environment, eco-system functions, and impact adversely on human health.

The Chinese government has acknowledged the seriousness and scale of the environmental problems and has made national commitments to tackle these issues. As a result of recently implemented government policy and regulation, it is predicted that the commercial remediation industry in China will experience major growth. 

As a spin-out, Microgen Biotech is located at IT Carlow’s Enterprise and Research Incubation Centre and uses the Institute’s laboratory facilities to conduct its ongoing research and commercialization activities. 

Companies currently providing remediation services in China are using methods which are extremely costly, may destruct natural habitats, can cause secondary pollution and often prove infeasible for large contaminated sites. The technology and processes devised by Microgen Biotech provide a cheaper and more environmentally sustainable solution.


“Working with IT Carlow has been extremely helpful for MicroGen Biotech. Our relationship with the Institute facilitated ease of access not only to the scientific expertise, but also to the other experts and supportive advice required for a start-up including financial, business and engineering, as well as top class physical facilities.”

Dr Xeumei Germaine Microgen Biotech

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Brian Ogilvie
Research and Commercialisation Support Manager
Institute of Technology Carlow
Kilkenny Road, Carlow
T: +353-59-917 5000
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24th July 2012: 2014: Development of technology for an animal health monitoring system

Alanya operates in the animal health monitoring market. Alanya utilises worldclass advanced technologies in the development of its animal health monitoring systems. These systems provide a comprehensive real-time view of the health and reproductive status of animals which enables the owners to maximise their outputs, performance and profitability.

Failure to detect three common occurrences in cows has huge (annual) cost implications on US farmers:

1. Estrus $300m (when female is ‘in heat’)

2. Lameness $850m

3. Heat stress $900m (elevated body temp)

Alanya needed a real-time health monitoring device that would communicate data (raw data packages transmitted every 100th of a second) from the host animal to a cloud application for analysis. Alerts sent from the cloud application to farm management highlighted optimum breeding time, heat stress, lameness and other health problems.

The Nimbus Centre at CIT developed a proof of concept product for Alanya which it then used as the backbone for development of a commercial product. The Centre is home to 60+ researchers and houses the TEC Technology Gateway. As a result there is a broad range of research expertise including radio frequency, programming, user interface design, mechanical and biomechanical engineering.

Alanya were able to dip into this wide range of resources as and when required. As Alanya is based in the Rubicon Incubation Centre, which is co-located with Nimbus, on-going dialogue was possible. In addition to access to Nimbus staff, Alanya utilized lab space, rapid prototypers, environmental chambers and pressure plates for product prototyping and commercial product testing.

The project with Nimbus was successful and a prototype animal health monitoring device was produced which comprised of an electronic unit on a collar fitted to a cow. This device collected a variety of information markers including movement and temperature. This was tested on a local farm. The data was communicated wirelessly or by 3G to a base station and then forwarded to a cloud application where it was analysed. Realtime alerts were then sent to the appropriate farm management outlining necessary actions to be taken. The commercial product was then developed based on the specifications from the prototype designed by Nimbus.

Nimbus personnel attended presentations to potential distributors (as far afield as USA) showing the depth of the partnership between the company and the research centre. Attending these presentations ensured that any technical questions posed were answered effectively and added considerable weight to the overall Alanya proposition.

This work with the Nimbus Centre enabled Alanya to bring a project from concept stage to working prototype through to a fully functional commercial product with a worldwide partner distribution network.

In addition to this support from Nimbus, Alanya also benefited from a range of other assistance from CIT. As a start-up business in the Rubicon Centre the two co-founders were on the Genesis programme (now New Frontiers) accessing training, space, mentoring, networking and other start-up supports. Access to the CIT Entrepreneur in Residence has enabled Alanya to raise funding and this help is on-going. The CIT Technology Transfer Office assisted with patent searches.

Alanya recently won the it@cork “High Potential Start-Up” award in recognition for their progress to date and Alanya’s future potential. From a start-up with just two employees when Alanya first entered the Rubicon Centre there are now an additional 8 full-time people on the payroll.


"It was a pleasure working with Nimbus to develop a proof of concept animal health monitoring device. As a start-up, we had limited finance available and lacked the necessary skillset to develop a product of this magnitude. Having a demonstrable proof of concept product enabled Alanya to attract significant private investment, grow our in-house team and ultimately develop a world-class, cutting edge animal health monitoring product”

Donald Cronin, CEO, Alanya

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Dr. Richard Linger
Cork Institute of Technology
Bishopstown Cork
T: +353-21-432 6100
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Paul Healy
Rubicon Centre
Cork Institute of Technology
Bishopstown Cork
T: +353-21-432 6100
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24th July 2012: 2014: Supporting development of new Point-of-Care diagnostic technology

Radisens Diagnostics develops disruptive Point-of-Care (PoC) diagnostic platforms and multiplexed test panels, which diagnose and monitor patients for multiple chronic and acute care conditions.

This is the only point-of-care platform to integrate immunoassay, biochemistry and cellular hematology onto a single test panel. Using a finger-prick of blood, the analyser returns laboratory-grade results in the doctor’s office within minutes. 

Radisens’ platform utilises a Lab-on-disc approach where a disposable disc, with pre-stored reagents, takes the blood sample. A pathway of micro-fluidic channels, chambers and valves performs all sample preparation on-disc and delivers it to a test chamber where the optical interrogation will take place, using the centripetal force created once the disk is spun at high speed. The challenge presented to CIT by Radisens was to explore optical schemes for sample excitation, collect scattered and fluorescent light and detect low light for their Lab-on-disc platform.

This challenge has been addressed for large scale laboratory equipment but these incumbent systems have comparatively no constraints in terms of footprint and in reality no limits in the choice of optical components or subsystems with respect to cost or performance. Therefore the challenge is to provide the required  performance in a cost effective manner.

The Centre for Advanced Photonics & Process Analysis (CAPPA) engages in industry focused applied and fundamental research in optics and photonics. CAPPA’s expertise and facilities in optical design, numerical modelling and advanced optical characterisation were of particular relevance to Radisens’ research needs. 

The research focused on investigating novel integrated optical schemes designed to meet the needs of the next generation of Point of Care (PoC) diagnostic technologies currently under development by Radisens Diagnostics.

The activities were concentrated in a number of key technical areas:

• Laser sources for optical excitation of the sample under test.

• Numerical modeling, design, realisation and testing of candidate optical schemes.

• Design and modeling of approaches to increase the efficiency of fluorescent light extraction

• Realisation of a novel micro-optic array element using a low cost injection moulding process

• Integrated testing of the micro-optic array in Radisens’ cytometer test bed.

This project was jointly funded by Radisens Diagnostics and Enterprise Ireland under the Innovation Partnership programme. Apart from the financial contribution to the project costs, Radisens also provided dedicated engineering resources, equipment and facilities as necessary during all stages of the research.

The research has demonstrated low cost optical schemes required to develop a PoC flow cytometer. Specifically a novel micro-optic array capable of direct  integration into the microfluidic flow channel has been designed, modelled, realised and tested. The micro-optic array was fabricated using a standard injection moulded process and is capable of scaling up to high volume manufacturing. Initial tests have demonstrated increased collection of fluorescent light for the array over standard channels.

The developed technology has the potential to be commercially exploited by Radisens to help underpin their Lab-on-disc flow cytometer technology platform. As part of the close collaboration and knowledge transfer fostered by the programme CAPPA has also provided optical support and input into other areas of the company’s ongoing technology development.


“Radisens Diagnostics were very happy with the work performed by CAPPA for us on this project. CAPPA provided very thorough and timely feedback and regularly met and communicated with us to ensure a well run project. Radisens were able to test a specific laser source using CAPPA’s optical test infrastructure. The company demonstrated to potential overseas customers that we have access to larger facilities, overcoming their reservations about working with an early stage SME. The research confirmed that the laser could be used and proved that a lensed microarray will work for our system. Having a design for such a lensed microarray that is manufacturable was an important output. Additionally the work confirmed that our choice of plastic material is suited to the intended  application. CAPPA also developed methods for pumping and handling the fluids that will be directly applied to Radisens’ next stages of development – even though these were not explicitly part of the workplan. Radisens now have fully detailed models of our optical system that can be used to improve overall system design”

Lee Barry, Radisens Diagnostics

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Dr. Eamonn O'Neill
Centre for Advanced Photonics and Process Analysis (CAPPA)
Cork Institute of Technology
Bishopstown Cork
T: +353-21-432 6100
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24th July 2012: 2014: Building energy management solutions: national sustainable building energy test bed

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) delivers advanced technologies to the businesses of United Technologies Corporation (UTC), a diversified global leader in high-tech aerospace and building systems products/services.

UTRC-Ireland serves as UTRC’s European hub to accelerate the development and demonstration of technologies that address security, energy efficiency and  integrated building systems. 

Integrated energy management solutions for energy-effi cient buildings represent a key strategic area within UTC’s business portfolio. To this end, in partnership with CIT, UTRC-Ireland has developed a ‘National Sustainable Building Energy Test Bed’ on the CIT campus, which integrates thermal and electrical systems, and facilitates the demonstration of whole building energy management solutions in areas of controls, optimization, diagnostics and power electronics.

UTRC is relying on CIT’s proficiency in Wireless Sensor Networks and Embedded Systems, which are a key element of those solutions. In that regard, the objective is to develop a middleware platform that supports self-configuration of wireless constrained devices providing a set of basic resources used in HVAC, lighting and access control applications.

The Nimbus Centre for Embedded Systems Research, overseen by Dr. Dirk Pesch, is a 60 person research centre on the CIT campus. (see and The proficiency of Dr. Pesch and his group includes: wireless sensor network design and tools; communication protocols for wireless sensor networks; middleware platforms for embedded systems; cloud-based service platforms. 

In the area of building energy management solutions, the work with CIT has primarily involved the development of a ‘National Sustainable Building Energy Test Bed’ for integrated thermal/ electrical energy management systems. However, other collaborative activities between UTRC and CIT include: research into  communication protocols and middleware for automatic discovery of machine-to-machine communication services in wireless embedded systems, and  development of wireless network design tools.

The activities with UTRC were funded directly through the company as well as through two FP7 project awards e.g. FP7 SCUBA (co- ordinated by CIT) and FP7 COOPERATE. CIT and UTRC also collaborated on the SFI strategic research cluster ITOBO and are actively involved in joint International Energy Research Centre projects.

The key output from the partnership to date is the National Sustainable Building Energy Test Bed based at CIT. This has served as the demonstration platform for a number of awarded proposals for Irish and European funded research projects (e.g. FP7 COOPERATE, GENIC and SPARKS), in addition to conference publications and journals. Additional partners are being attracted by UTRC, based on UTRC’s positive experience with CIT.

The partnership with CIT has enabled UTRC to scale research operations in Cork. Furthermore, it has allowed UTRC to deliver on their internal research and  innovation targets and meet co-financing objectives. The company has recruited research staff from CIT as a result of the partnership. In addition the project resulted in several peer-reviewed conference and journal publications, including a demonstration at the Sensys ’12 demo session (leading conference in Wireless Sensor Network domain) and an IEEE Communications journal article (most cited Telecommunications journal).




“The collaboration between UTRC Ireland and CIT has led directly to our partnership on a number of successful European FP7 proposals, in addition to CIT providing outputs, through direct contracts, which have advanced our company’s strategic research agenda”

Sarah O’Connell Senior Research Engineer, UTRC

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Dr. Dirk Pesch
Cork Institute of Technology
Bishopstown Cork
T: +353-21-432 6100
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24th July 2012: 2014: Improving access to clean drinking water in Uganda

Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) is the lead institution for the Water is Life Amazzi Bulamu project ( which aims to improve access to clean drinking water and understand the role of water in the health and well-being of populations in rural Uganda.

Nine million people in Uganda do not have access to safe water; this represents almost a quarter of the population. Without access to safe water, Uganda’s many farmers struggle to grow crops or earn a living and the lack of clean water and safe sanitation traps them in poverty. The incidence of waterborne diseases such as malaria and childhood diarrhoea can be reduced significantly if an improved clean water supply is available.

The partnership aims to explore innovative approaches to sustainable water management in rural Uganda. This project is ensuring that technical and social expertise in relation to water management is being built up through strategic partnerships spanning Ireland and Africa simultaneously. The project is hosted in the Centre for Freshwater and Environmental Studies in the Department of Applied Science but also involves the Departments of Nursing and Mechanical Engineering in DkIT. Much of the proposed research has drawn on lessons learnt from already well-established projects here in Ireland, ensuring a fast-track approach to outputs.

The Water is Life project is funded by the HEA and Irish Aid as part of the latter’s Programme of Strategic Co-Operation. This aims to promote innovative research across a range of subjects in support of Irish Aid’s mission and develop higher education capacity in Ireland and Uganda for developmental research. The project involves a consortium of Irish and Ugandan Higher Education Institutes and NGOs, with a goal to conduct research that supports sustainable water resource management as a catalyst for sustainable economic and social development in rural Uganda.

Irish Aid/HEA awarded a total of 1.5M to DkIT  for this project. In addition funding was secured from Irish Aid’s ‘Simon Cumber Media Fund’ in 2010 for dissemination purposes – a photo exhibition took place in 2011 which documented the activities of the project both in Ireland and Uganda. Funding was also awarded by The Science Gallery in TCD to one of the PhD research projects (hand pumps) and this resulted in the development of an exhibit ‘Water Wear’ which formed part of the hugely popular ‘The future of water ‘ exhibition which ran in the gallery in 2011.

Outcomes from the project include:

• PhD theses (8)

• Geographical Information Systems (GIS) database

• Jointly developed (all academic partners) Certificate in Sustainable Water Management

• Contribution to a Master’s in Development Studies (Makerere University)

• Project Publications (Project book published)

• Peer-reviewed papers

• Community water improvement programme

• Participation at international and national conferences

The experience of the PhD researchers and their research outputs will provide case studies that can be built into courses both in Ireland and Uganda at primary, secondary and third level across a wide range of disciplines. The project has facilitated research capacity building among Irish and Ugandan academics and the 8 PhD researchers based in Uganda will contribute to the training of future African researchers.

The strong links, inter-institutional collaboration and mutual understanding built-up during this project will help to inform future research and also guide policy and social understanding to allow better advice and knowledge to be imparted to Irish Aid to inform its approach to international development.


“The holistic approach taken by DkIT to the problems of safe water was of crucial importance. In Uganda water is vital and lays the foundation for health and well-being. The regular visits to Makondo by the project team acted as a stimulus and encouragement to the committees in Makondo (Uganda) to actively participate and their contribution to safe water management was recognised at a higher level"

Medical Missionaries of Mary Makondo, Uganda and Drogheda

“UWASNET has been involved with DkiT under the Water is Life Project as a member of the Advisory Committee. Under Water is life great insights have been gained from the research findings and studies of the PHD students which have had a great contribution to the network in terms of providing evidence to generate advocacy issues in the sector and with eventual improvement and increasing knowledge base to enhance water and sanitation services delivery”

UWASNET Ugandan Water and Sanitation Network

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Dr. Suzanne Linnane
Centre for Freshwater and Environmental Studies
Dundalk Institute of Technology
Dublin Road, Dundalk
T: +353-42-937 0200
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