Top research in Ireland recognised at innovation awards

Tech firm Xilinx, SFI’s Connect Centre, and environmental firm Oxymem win US-Ireland Research Innovation Awards

Tech firm Xilinx, Science Foundation Ireland's Connect Centre for Future Networks, and Irish environmental firm Oxymem were the overall winners of the 2018 US-Ireland Research Innovation Awards, presented on Friday night.

Now in their fourth year, the US-Ireland Research Innovation Awards is a joint initiative of the American Chamber of Commerce and the Royal Irish Academy. They recognise excellence in research innovation that has taken place as a result of US business investment. There were eight shortlisted candidates across three categories: Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME), Higher Educational Institute, and multinational company.


Oxymem, an Irish wastewater firm, which has invented an innovative wastewater treatment system, picked up the SME award. The treatment saves energy, reduces sludge and adds additional capacity to existing treatment plants in shorter timeframes than leading competitors. In 2014 Oxymem was also the overall winner of The Irish Times Innovation of the year award.

In the multinational category this year’s research award went to Xilinx Ireland, the global technology firm which has designed software defined microchip technology to address the growing requirements of 5G cellular networks.


In the higher education category, the winner was SFI's Connect Centre For Future Networks, which in collaboration with Google has designed a software platform to evaluate audio quality on the internet by looking at sounds. The technology is called VISQOL.

Almost 700 guests gathered at the American Chamber's Annual Dinner in the Clayton Burlington Hotel, Dublin on Friday night as the awards were presented in the presence of Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys. Among the audience were leaders of many of the US companies in Ireland, representatives from academia and a range of Irish and international business leaders. The event was sponsored by KPMG, Ulster Bank and media partner The Irish Times.


Speaking at the event, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys said: “I know that innovation is something that the American Chamber cares passionately about. This is a passion that I share because research and innovation is fundamental to growing the Irish economy and the wider Irish-American business relationship. As a Government, we are committed to increasing investment in research and development and to use that as a pathway to future growth.

President of the American Chamber of Commerce, Barry O’Sullivan said: “Innovation is ultimately the difference between leaders and followers. It’s the practical application of our education, imagination and creativity, for our collective benefit. Nothing better showcases this than our US-Ireland Research Innovation Awards.”

President of the Royal Irish Academy Prof Michael Peter Kennedy said: "Lateral thinking is what is behind all great research innovations. We must foster and encourage lateral thinking in our scientists and engineers as we have in our poets, novelists and playwrights. It is the key ingredient that makes good work great."

At the event, the American Chamber presented a Special Recognition Award to BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition for its outstanding contribution to enabling students across Ireland to participate in science education.