Prof Willie Donnelly one of four short listed nominees for inaugural Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) Research2Business Award

Award FinalistsProfessor Willie Donnelly, President of the Waterford Institute of Technology, Chairman of Technology’s Telecommunication Software and Systems Group (TSSG), was one of four short listed nominees for a prestigious award that recognises sustained engagement by a researcher who has delivered significant impact for business in Ireland.

Minister of State, Sean Sherlock, TD presented the inaugural Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) Research2Business Award to Dr Mark Southern of the University of Limerick at the launch of Knowledge Transfer Ireland on 28th May. Sixteen people were nominated for this inaugural award and due to the high quality of nominations received the judging panel decided to short list four nominees. Along with Prof Donnelly were Dr John Breslin, NUI Galway; Professor Luke O’Neill, Trinity College Dublin; and Dr. Mark Southern, University of Limerick.

Minister Sherlock said, “I am delighted to be here today to present the Research2Business award which recognises excellence in engagement between researchers and the business community. I believe strongly that effective industry-academic collaboration is essential for the successful translation of the best ideas from the lab into innovative new products and services and ultimately, the delivery of good quality, sustainable jobs.”

Professor Donnelly was nominated for the award on the basis of his hugely significant contribution to industry in Ireland, and in the South East more specifically. Professor Donnelly is the founder of the TSSG based in WIT and the driver behind the creation of the Institute’s knowledge campus at Carriganore established in 2004. Professor Donnelly’s major impact has been the creation of a research and innovation ecosystem which has led to the creation of mobile services software industry in the South East which would not have otherwise existed. The total number of jobs created as a direct consequence of the TSSG research and innovation activities is conservatively estimated as 500 over 6 years. The ecosystem has had major impact on product development in indigenous industries and multinational industries across Ireland.

In 2003, Professor Donnelly became the first Head of Research and Innovation in WIT creating a research and innovation support infrastructure with a service ethos strongly supporting industry and external collaboration. In the last 10 years he has effectively transformed WIT from a teaching-led to a research-led institute and in this period WIT has secured €130m of competitive funding from major national and European funding.

Caption: Pictured (l to r) are Prof Willie Donnelly, WIT; Prof Luke O’ Neill, TCD; Minister Sean Sherlock; Dr John Breslin, NUI Galway; Dr Alison Campbell, Director, Knowledge Transfer Ireland; and award winner, Dr Mark Southern, UL.