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He explains why universities are joining hands with investors to create a new wave of fuel-rich businesses on Irish campuses. Explains Diormoid O’Brien and Professor Orla Phili.

Minimally aggressive high-tech treatment for severe heart disease. Portable systems that help athletes achieve their goals and democratize the sports performance business. River sensors that monitor bees also, most importantly, help bee owners increase their productivity. The connection between these innovations? All were born on the Irish campus. They all have the potential to have a real global impact.

The ability of Irish universities to commercialize new research findings took a major step last week with the launch of the world’s fourth-largest university co-operative fund to invest in new campus companies.

The University Bridge Fund was established in 2015 by Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin in collaboration with Atlantic Bridge. It initially raised $ 60 million to invest in research commercialization from Irish higher education institutions.

The second fund, with a target size of 80 million, was launched with the welcome participation of University College Cork and the continued support of the European Investment Fund, Enterprise Ireland and AIB.

“This is the largest consolidated private investment supporting the commercialization of university research.”

Since its inception, the Fund has invested in a number of technology companies, such as those mentioned above.

The University Bridge Fund connects university researchers with experienced entrepreneurs. It provides ‘smart’ working capital from the very beginning and helps our college campus businesses to focus on global markets from day one. The new fund will translate up to $ 400 million in private and competitive investment with the goal of creating new businesses from university research over the next decade.

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The size of this fund is a testament to the desire and quality of research in Irish universities.

From an Irish perspective, it is the largest consolidated private investment supporting the commercialization of university research.

As a first step, it will invest in more than 50 new college campus companies in areas ranging from medical devices to artificial intelligence and new therapies. Other investments will follow.

Growing companies as a result of these investments will help enhance Ireland’s reputation as a European leader in innovation. It will help strengthen Irish business as it emerges from Kovid-19 and Brexit, creating new markets, services and products.

We have come a long way in building innovative supports such as the University Bridge Fund and the Enterprise Ireland-funded Technology Transfer Stronging Organization (TTSI), which can translate leading research into leading companies. As John Collison, an Irish-born billionaire and co-founder of Stripe, recently said: “It’s quite credible that you can now move Stripe to Dublin.” This must be our desire for the next decade.

But this is huge, but we need to do a lot to achieve our National Innovation 2020 policy goal of becoming a global innovation leader. The latest figures show that Irish investment in research and development is at its lowest in Europe, at 1.2% of GDP, compared to the OECD average of 2.4%.

“Ireland can now combine the strength of our capabilities and innovation to connect them with Startup Capital”

For decades, Ireland has been recognized as a world leader in foreign direct investment. However, with this success, it is essential to develop the capacity to grow our leading Irish businesses globally.

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This new fund will further advance this aspiration. This approach, along with other ambitious projects such as the Grand Canal Innovation District in Dublin, the development of the AgtQCD Innovation Center in Kildare, and the creation of an Innovation Corridor in Cork, demonstrates how universities are committed to translating research into social impact. .

Universities recognize the need to develop a strong base of local innovation-driven businesses to complement and operate with the global FDI community to support a sustainable economy. Through this fund, Ireland can now combine the power of our capabilities and innovation to connect them to seed capital, thus supporting our transition to a globally competitive innovation economy.

The success of the University Bridge Fund is largely due to the research projects inspired by the perspectives of curious researchers and their teams. These companies point out that the quality and scope of research in Ireland is important in fostering the work of new companies.

Research Minister Simon Harris recently announced TD’s vision for an “innovation island”. The academic sector is ready to respond to this aspiration. We are ready to lead and collaborate to lead the transformation initiatives that will place Ireland on the global stage.

The University Bridge Fund is an example. By enabling millions of private capital investment to enable the economic and social benefits of publicly funded research, we can become an important part of building an economy through innovation.

Dr. And Diarmoid O’Brien Prof. Orla Philly

Dr. Diormoid O’Brien is the Director of Innovation and Business at Trinity College, Dublin. Professor Orla Phili is Vice President of Research, Innovation and Impact at University College Dublin.

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