Launch of new four-year knowledge transfer funding programme will increase the commercialisation of Irish research boosting innovation in our enterprise sector

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney TD, and Enterprise Ireland today launched KT Boost, a new four-year, €33.4 million knowledge transfer funding programme for Irish universities and technological universities (TUs). Its objective is to support an increase in research commercialisation outcomes from within this sector – both regionally and nationally – and to develop consistent practices across the knowledge transfer (KT) sector.

The programme is administered by Enterprise Ireland, and co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which aims to promote economic, social and territorial cohesion across all European regions.

The Managing Authorities for the ERDF in Ireland are the Northern & Western Regional Assembly and the Southern Regional Assembly.

KT Boost will support and provide resources to Innovation Offices/Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) around the country to further support knowledge transfer activities, outputs and performance.

KT Boost was launched at an event in the Hyatt Centric in the Liberties, Dublin 8.

Speaking at the event, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney, TD, said:

“Ireland has a very strong reputation globally for our capabilities in research, innovation and knowledge transfer. In this continuously changing environment, it is important that we match the pace of change and maintain our position of implementing best practice in knowledge transfer. Designed to make the most of Ireland’s significant investment in high performance research at university level, KT Boost will further build on that success to drive research commercialisation and bring more Irish ingenuity to the world.”

Welcoming the launch, the Cathaoirleach of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, Cllr John Naughten said:

“KT Boost is another positive instance of European Funding being delivered by the Northern & Western Regional Assembly to assist our HEIs to establish links with companies and investors to assess new knowledge and expertise and drive innovation in the region. This is a fantastic opportunity to provide much needed investment in the human capital base, which is one of the most pressing infrastructure challenges restricting the northern and western region’s growth.”

Marina Donohoe, Head of Research and Innovation at Enterprise Ireland, said:

“The new KT Boost programme will build on Enterprise Ireland’s existing supports and will help bring the firepower to Ireland’s research system to ensure we maximise its economic and social impact. It will support innovators and researchers to investigate, establish and develop new ideas, accelerating the development of innovation capability in Irish enterprise across all regions. This investment will also help to ensure enterprise and industry engages with the deep and applied research that is already under way in the HEIs and unlock its commercial potential.”

Cllr Terry Shannon, Cathaoirleach of the Southern Regional Assembly, said:

“The universities and technological universities play a critical role in supporting regional development and innovation. KT Boost will complement wider investment, including significant investment under the ERDF Regional Programmes, in building research, development and innovation capacity in HEIs and in SMEs throughout the regions.”

On the ground, the KT Boost programme will fund recruitment, skillset development and training within Innovation Offices. It aims to ensure HEIs have the right people with the right skills to propel research commercialisation in our universities and technological universities.

The specialists funded by the programme will support knowledge and technology transfer activities including IP Management and prospective licensing, and spin-out creation. The programme also aims to speed up and simplify transactions with Innovation Offices.

Ultimately, KT Boost is expected to accelerate the rate of high potential start-up (HPSU) companies evolving from research spin-out businesses. It also aims to increase the volume of intellectual property (IP) licences and research collaboration agreements for these companies.