More than €1 million has been secured by LIT researchers in the past two Enterprise Ireland calls for funding for new state-of-the-art research equipment, allowing the institution to enhance its support to Irish companies in the food, biopharma and cosmetics sectors.
Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre (ABC), which is co-located between LIT and IT Tralee and co-funded by Enterprise Ireland, were successful in the latest round of Technology Gateway Network Programme’s Capital Fund; with six successful applications, Shannon ABC secured over one eighth of the total funding on offer.
The Technology Gateway Network provides business with access to over 300 highly skilled and industrially focused researchers, together with specialist equipment and facilities.
The new equipment will allow Shannon ABC’s industrial partners in a number of industries – including the food, biopharma, cosmetics, farming and green energy sectors – to test their products with the highest degree of accuracy, license and release them to market.
The funding for these instruments will mean the LIT-based researchers are equipped to the highest possible industry standard, according to LIT’s Research Fellow Dr Lena Madden.
“As a result of our high-quality industrial engagements with Irish SME’s, Enterprise Ireland is continuously updating our technology base through the sponsorship of the state-of-the–art analytical equipment. This funding will equip us to the highest industry standard, allowing our industrial partners conform to the most stringent regulatory testing requirements. Expansion of our research capabilities will further enhance our research quality and output bringing LIT one step closer to the Technological University status,” Dr Madden said.
According to Principal Investigator Dr Sushanta Saha, the ‘food-grade’ Microalgae Cultivation Suite will be the first of its kind state-of-the-art facility to be established in Ireland, and will serve a range of companies including food, cosmetics, feed, and other companies related to human health and nutrition.
“This suite would put Shannon ABC in a much stronger position to deliver the on-going demand for microalgal biomass for these sectors. This facility would also motivate the budding researchers of this region to take Microalgal Biotechnology to the next level of exploration for human benefit,” Dr Saha added.
Shannon ABC’s Centre Manager, Dr Tim Yeomans commented: “This new equipment provides a significant support for Shannon ABC to respond to the needs of industry. We are very conscious of the challenging time that many companies are facing, and we are looking forward to putting this new equipment to work for these companies.”
Head of Research and Technology Transfer at LIT, Dr Paudie Murray said that the grant award will be ‘transformative’ for Shannon ABC, “acting as an open access point to these state-of-the-art resources delivering technology solutions for our Irish industry partners close to their market needs.”
Vice President of Research, Development & Innovation at LIT, Dr Liam Brown congratulated all involved with the funding call and added: “These vital pieces of equipment will allow us to deliver for our industry partners, our postgraduate and postdoctoral research communities. Our sector has been starved of Capital Equipment funding for a long time but with LIT’s Shannon ABC researchers having secured in excess of €1M in funding in the last two Enterprise Ireland Capital calls, the tide has now turned and I have no doubt but that this will result in significant economic, environmental and societal benefit.”