A scheme to help communities generate their own electricity, new treatments for sepsis, and advanced 3D printing of medical implants are just some of the projects to share €75 million in Government funding for “disruptive technologies”.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Innovation Heather Humphreys unveiled the 27 projects to share the first tranche of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund at the Royal College of Surgeons on Monday.
The projects range from life sciences, medical devices, ICT, manufacturing, food, agriculture, energy sustainability and the creative industries. All include collaborations between start-ups, SMEs, multinationals and academic institutions.
Some €500 million will be allocated to projects over the next decade through the fund, which was announced as part of Project Ireland 2040. The projects can use the funding to develop and deploy their products commercially.
“The creation of this fund is particularly timely when we consider the vast and rapid technological advancements that are taking place,” said Mr Varadkar. “Today everything is faster, more efficient, and more easily accessible.
“We must adapt to a future of greater digitalisation and automation. Today’s school children will be employed in jobs and industries that don’t exist yet. Technology will eliminate or transform existing occupations.”
Mr Varadkar said the fund was “our way of stimulating private investment in new technologies and ways of doing business, and building stronger links between higher education, multinationals and Irish SMEs”.
More than 300 applications were made under the first round. Projects were screened by a panel of international experts.
The company which received the most funding was biopharmaceutical group Amryt Pharma, which is to get €8.4 million over three years.
Amryt said it would use the funding to develop its AP103 gene therapy platform from pre-clinical testing to proof of concept in humans. The project could provide new treatments for diseases with a “significant unmet medical need”.
The funding will be matched by the consortium partners at various funding levels over the three-year term of the project. The consortium comprises Amryt, University College Dublin, Curran Scientific, and DEBRA Ireland.
Elsewhere, genetics company IdentiGEN, which provides DNA traceability for the meat and seafood sectors, received €1.8 million which it said it will use to “advance food quality and integrity”.
IdentiGEN managing director Ciarán Meghen said food labelling was “a major cost to industry” and is vulnerable to abuse and fraud. “IdentiGEN has identified an approach to transform and industrialise the use of DNA profiling in food labelling,” he said.