UL research fellow wins inaugural Knowledge Transfer Ireland Research2Business Award

Dr. Mark Southern, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Limerick has won the inaugural Knowledge Transfer Ireland Research2Business Award. The inaugural Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) Research2Business award recognises excellence in engagement between researchers and the business community.  The award was presented by Sean Sherlock T.D. Minister for Research & Innovation at the launch of the office of Knowledge Transfer Ireland and its web-portal, the first resource of its kind in Europe which took place in Dublin today (28th May 2014).

The Research2Business award recognises the researcher whose interactions have delivered exceptional impact for businesses and for their host institution.  The University of Limerick was also recognised with an award as the winning researcher’s university for its role in encouraging and facilitating Dr. Southern’s industry collaborations and for promoting and supporting knowledge transfer at institutional level.

Presenting the award Minister Sherlock said, “I am delighted to be here today to present the Research2Business Award to Dr. Mark Southern of the University of Limerick.  Dr Southern and his team have supported a substantial number of research collaborations with companies across a range of sectors, leading to the creation of over 100 high end manufacturing jobs in Ireland, in addition to sustaining core employment in these companies and enabling them to secure tens of millions of euro in new export sales”.

Dr. Southern is a Senior Research Fellow within the Enterprise Research Centre, at the University of Limerick. He is an experienced senior manager with a ten year track record in project management, managing research teams, new product and process development, procurement and installation of complex manufacturing systems in the electronic and automotive sectors in both multinationals and SMEs.

Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) is the State-funded central technology transfer office, located in Enterprise Ireland and operated collaboratively by Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Universities Association.

Congratulating Dr. Southern on his achievement, Dr. Alison Campbell, Director of Knowledge Transfer Ireland said; “Deciding on a winner from the eighteen entries was a tough one for the judging panel, with many compelling submissions. Ultimately the panel selected Dr. Southern on the basis of evidence provided of his sustained interaction and impact. Knowledge Transfer Ireland is keen to see more activity like this in Ireland’s Higher Education Institutes as it will contribute greatly to the growth of Irish enterprise”.

Mark and his team are considered one of Ireland’s leading groups in enabling manufacturing change; boosting productivity, output and profit. Mark has received research funding of over €4.6 million of which 23% has been from industry. His group helps manufacturing companies through applying their cutting edge research and expertise to matching companies’ technical issues and challenges. The group are able to provide state-of-the-art solutions in manufacturing measurement, simulation, software and statistical know-how.

Mark has supported a substantial number of research collaborations with companies across a range of different sectors. For example, with companies such as Vistakon (J&J), Stryker, Aerogen, Oglesby & Butler, Ceramix Ireland, Shannon Coil Springs. These collaborations have led to the creation of over 100 new high-end manufacturing jobs in Ireland, in addition to sustaining core employment in these companies and enabling the companies to secure tens of millions of Euro in new export sales.

Dr. Southern was selected from a short list of nominees (in alphabetical order):

  • Dr. John Breslin, NUI Galway
  • Professor Willie Donnelly, Waterford Institute of Technology
  • Professor Luke O’Neill, Trinity College Dublin
  • Dr. Mark Southern, University of Limerick