Friday 20 January 2017

Breslin leads new initiative to unlock tech innovations

Sean Duffy

Published 02/11/2016 | 02:30

Greg Payne, Ciara Shields, Paul Flynn and NUI Galway’s Dr John Breslin will all take part in the TechInnovate initiative and will seek to develop new ideas to bring to market over 10 months
Greg Payne, Ciara Shields, Paul Flynn and NUI Galway’s Dr John Breslin will all take part in the TechInnovate initiative and will seek to develop new ideas to bring to market over 10 months

The Galway based academic behind online brands including boards.ie and adverts.ie is to lead a new initiative at NUI Galway aimed at bringing technological innovations in the agricultural and defence sectors to market.

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Engineer, researcher and entreprenuer Dr John Breslin will lead the TechInnovate initiative which aims to help selected entrepreneurs to commercialise their ideas.

The initial roll-out of the programme will see six entrepreneurs working in two teams. The entrepreneurs will carry out a needs analysis with end users, identify a pressing technological need, and then develop a solution.

Dr Breslin has a strong history in the area of identifying opportunities in the tech arena. In 1998, while still a postgrad student, he founded the internet forum that eventually become Boards.ie, one of Ireland's most popular online chat rooms.

He also founded the successful Adverts.ie website, and recently launched Portershed, a shared workspace in Galway that he hopes will become an innovation centre in the city.

Dr Breslin said this new initiative was indicative of a strong desire nationally to take the area of product design in a new direction.

"The impetus for the development of this fellowship programme emerged from the Government's Innovation Taskforce Report," he said.

"It made recommendations on how to embed product design teaching and research in Ireland's engineering schools and how to shift design education in Ireland to a model where creativity and innovation in product design are encouraged.

"The BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme was created as a result of these recommendations which, in turn, inspired the development of TechInnovate."

Each interdisciplinary team will be made up of an engineer, a businessperson and a designer. All members are industry professionals with extensive expertise in different sectors.

The defence team is made up of Ronan Boyle, an electronic engineer with industry experience in medical devices, Greg Payne, who has expertise in financial services, compliance and a background in sports science, and Leon Butler, a visual-narrative designer.

The agriculture team will consist of Niamh Lynch, an expert in quality and risk management for the medtech and pharma industries, Ciara Shields, a marketing and international business development executive with a background in startups, and Paul Flynn, a design specialist with an education and engineering background. As part of the programme professional-development workshops will also be offered to companies. The programme is run through NUI Galway and the Galway University Foundation and is sponsored by Bank of Ireland and the Western Development Commission, and more sectors will be added as it develops.

Irish Independent

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