The creative minds behind some of Ireland's greatest innovations were gathered in Dublin last night for the inaugural US-Ireland Research Innovation Awards. The Awards, jointly presented by the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and Royal Irish Academy, recognise excellence in research innovation that has taken place on the island of Ireland as a result of US foreign direct investment.
Speaking at the event, Eamonn Sinnott, President of the American Chamber said "Ireland is a country that fosters and celebrates innovation. Today, many of the innovations that emanate from the island of Ireland, and have an impact on a global scale, come from the community of US FDI here. Linked of course to our partners both in Irish business and the Irish research community. Tonight's event is all about celebrating this
"This impact is being seen across the full spectrum of industry with countless innovations being seen in areas such as ICT where Irish designed computer chips and software programmes are powering systems worldwide. In Life Sciences Irish treatments and devices are improving and saving lives worldwide. While ‘Created in Ireland' is now synonymous with quality innovation in emerging sectors like online media; data; clean technology; fintech and many more."
The winners of the 2015 US Ireland Research Innovation Awards were:
SME Award, Alimentary Health
Alimentary Health developed the patented Irish probiotic B. infantis 35624 the No. 1 Gastroenterologist Recommended Probiotic in the US that is helping millions of suffers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome manage this debilitating condition in Ireland and the US.
HEI Award Winner Dublin City University
DCU pioneered fundamental research into how nerves control muscle activity, establishing platforms to develop effective treatments for debilitating movement disorders with Allergan Inc., who supply such neurotherapeutics worldwide.
MNC Award: Xilinx
Designing a new class of microchip to enable next generation high-end electronic equipment.
Amongst the 700 strong audience was leaders of many of the US companies in Ireland, representatives from academia and a range of innovation stakeholders. In addition to hearing from the Presidents of the American Chamber (Eamonn Sinnott) and Royal Irish Academy (Mary E. Daly) there was also addresses from US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O'Malley and Damien English TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation.
A special Lifetime Achievement Award was also presented to Martin Naughton by the American Chamber. Eamonn Sinnott described Mr Naughton as "an engineer, an innovator and a visionary who has built one of the most successful Irish companies operating on the global stage. I think it is very fitting that as where we are celebrating the wonderful innovations that have resulted from the remarkable Irish-American business relationship, we honour one of Ireland's greatest innovators who has done so much to strengthen that relationship."
Each of the winning companies received an award specially commissioned trophy by renowned designer Shane Holland is inspired by one of Ireland's greatest ever scientists, William Rowan Hamilton who was President of the Royal Irish Academy (1837-46). His discovery of quaternion algebra in 1843 is used today by scientists to position satellites in space and in the most advanced computer graphics.
The US Ireland Research Innovation Awards 2015 are sponsored by KPMG & Ulster Bank.