One of IPIC, University College Cork (UCC) and Tyndall National Institute’s most successful collaboration projects has won Knowledge Transfer Ireland’s prestigious 2021 Industry Engagement Impact Award.

KTI’s annual Impact Awards recognise significant achievements in the commercialisation of publicly funded research nationwide and engagement with research systems across the third level and other similar State research institutions.

In particular, the awards acknowledge and celebrate the Innovation Offices / Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) and their staff on-the-ground who make this knowledge transfer and commercialisation happen. Key factors include scientific advance, commercial impact, and the role of TTOs in managing deal flow and driving technology transfer and licensing.

The winner of this year’s Industry Engagement Impact Award is a collaboration between Rockley Photonics – a leading global supplier of integrated optical chips and modules – and IPIC, the SFI Research Centre for Photonics in Tyndall at UCC.

Regarded as one of UCC’s most successful industry collaborations, the engagement has resulted in 11 commercial licences being signed in 2021. It also led to the establishment of Rockley Photonics Ireland in Cork, a venture which grew to 10 employees in 2021.

Rockley Photonics CEO Dr Andrew Rickman confirmed Rockley are “committed to continued growth and investment in Cork due to the collaboration with IPIC”

IPIC Centre Manager Dr Patrick Morrissey commented: “Investment in research helps us address today’s grand challenges, such as climate change and the health & well-being of citizens, while also creating opportunity for economic growth. Our partnership with Rockley is an example of this, where we are developing and deploying leading edge technologies, and Ireland is at the centre of this technology revolution.”

The win has been welcomed by Professor John Cryan, Vice-President of Research and Innovation, at UCC, who said: “This collaboration between Tyndall and Rockley Photonics showcases how industry engagement is at the heart of innovation at UCC, and how we take leading-edge research from UCC labs to the market through industry partnerships. I congratulate the teams involved in both UCC and Rockley for creating impact from their research.”

Dr Anthony Morrissey of UCC’s TTO added: “This award is a recognition of UCC Innovation’s commitment to supporting UCC and Tyndall researchers with their industry engagements, and to enabling the delivery of impact from excellent science. Rockley continue to be an excellent industry partner for our photonics researchers at IPIC.”

Dr Sally Cudmore, Interim Director of Innovation, UCC, said: “I am delighted that the project from Tyndall and Rockley Photonics has won the KTI Industry Engagement award. This one of UCC’s most successful and enduring industry engagements in terms of technology transfer. UCC Innovation has been part of the successful partnership by enabling the flow of ideas, IP and impact from the IPIC team to Rockley over the last 4 years. This award recognises the hard work of the research and management teams in Tyndall, IPIC, Rockley and UCC Innovation and I would like to thank all involved.”