TechInnovate’s 2018 in Review

It was another great year for TechInnovate at NUI Galway… Here is a review of our 2018 activities in the areas of entrepreneurship education and technology innovation!

  • We kicked off our €1M STARTED Project in January to teach researchers how to create startups, funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliances programme. Our consortium partners are EYIF, IESE Business School, RomaTre University, Translated/Pi Campus and VentureHub, and the project is led by Gabriel Mullarkey. Prior to joining us, Gabe worked as lead designer and researcher with the innovation and ecosystem group of Intel Labs Europe for over six years.
  • In January, EY was announced as a key sponsor of TechInnovate (Irish Tech NewsGalway Advertiser).
  • Dr Paul Flynn ran the very successful START ME UP innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship bootcamp for 30 transition year students in January, with organisation by Arline Broder.
  • Dr Flynn was selected for and took part in MIT’s prestigious Entrepreneurship Development Program in January, an intensive executive education program designed for CEOs, academics and government leaders who want to develop entrepreneurial skills within their organisations or regions.
  • Dr John Breslin gave an invited talk to the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences on Disciplined Entrepreneurship for Researchers, and another on Technology Innovation to the MaRITec-X Horizon 2020 Project, also in January.
  • Dr Breslin was quoted in TechIreland’s “State of the Innovation Nation” January report on the need for more agritech innovations and idea-stage agritech companies (Silicon RepublicIrish Times).
  • Dr Breslin participated in the Thematic Cluster Meeting on University-Business Cooperation at the European Commission in Brussels at the end of January/beginning of February.
  • In February, Dr Breslin visited Capital Factory, the largest startup space and accelerator in downtown Austin, Texas, where he met with CEO and serial entrepreneur Joshua Baer. He also had a meeting with Cam Houser, professor at the University of Texas at Austin and founder of 3 Day Startup (3DS).
  • Drs Flynn and Breslin visited The Yield Lab Galway agtech accelerator in February, where they met with Director of Operations Nicky Deasy.
  • In February, Dr Breslin presented on the Western AgInnovation Ecosystem at the Ryan Institute Annual Research Day.
  • Gabriel Mullarkey attended the University-Business Forum in Sofia in February to explore how universities and businesses cooperate for modernisation and growth.
  • Also in February, Drs Flynn and Breslin spoke to participants on the Youth Academy run by Dr Rachel Hilliard at NUI Galway, where many great young minds were working on important social innovation issues.
  • In March, Dr Breslin was a member of the Judging Panel for the Irish Defence Forces Chief of Staff’s Innovation Award.
  • The TechInnovate Industry Training Programme was held in March, with 15 participants from various organisations including the Irish Defence Forces, WDC, and GMIT.
  • Also in March, Dr Breslin gave a workshop to students on “Who is Your Customer” at Blackstone LaunchPad in NUI Galway.
  • Gabriel Mullarkey was a member of the Judging Panel for Startup School in March, run by the Entrepreneurship Society at NUI Galway.
  • Also in March, TechInnovate Fellow Kelsey Roberts gave an inspiring talk on her entrepreneurship experience as part of the #InnovateHER series at Blackstone LaunchPad.
  • Dr Breslin taught a one-day workshop on Disciplined Entrepreneurship as part of a course on “Applying Innovation” to 40 PhD students at the University of Minho, Guimarães in Portugal during March.
  • Dr Breslin mentored Irish participants in the SAP.iO Accelerate programme in March at SAP in Galway (and again in November at the PorterShed).
  • Dr Breslin also mentored teams during a March session at Bank of Ireland’s startlab Galway.
  • Dr Flynn and Gabriel Mullarkey judged the first Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Academy Bootcamp (West) in Galway in May.
  • In May, the team behind “I Can See You Now”, which evolved out of the TechInnovate TRICS module in 2017, won 2nd Prize at the inaugural NUI Galway Explore Innovation Awards. Gerard Comerford from the PGDip in TechInnovation also pitched as part of the competition. Drs Flynn and Breslin mentored the Coink team who took part.
  • Gabriel Mullarkey and Dr Flynn co-organised a TY Hackathon in May for 40 students in the PorterShed to create future smart city solutions for Galway 2040.
  • Dr Breslin gave an invited talk on “Collaborative Leadership to Increase the Northern & Western Region’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Capacity” at a Masterclass in Collaborative Leadership and Regional Development in Sligo in May. He also took part in a discussion panel on accelerating growth with Siobhán Bradley (IPA), Gerard Brady (Ibec) and Brendan McCormack (President, IT Sligo).
  • Dr Breslin chaired a panel in May with Jan Rutherford (leadership and entrepreneurship professor at the University of Colorado Denver), Carmel McGroarty-Mitchell (CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices) and Dave Cunningham (Priviti) on “Leading by Innovating”, part of the InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Programme. Dr Breslin also met with 12 visiting MBA students from UC Denver after the event.
  • Dr Breslin gave a Keynote Talk on “TRICS: Teaching Researchers and Innovators How to Create Startups” at the 14th Annual Conference of the International Society for Design and Development in Education (ISDDE) in May.
  • He also spoke about “Accelerating Regional Entrepreneurship” to the Enterprise Subgroup of the Atlantic Economic Corridor Taskforce in May.
  • Dr Breslin opened the first 3D Printing Seminar run by the MakerSpace at NUI Galway in May, with talks from Ultimaker and 3DGBIRE.
  • In June, Gabriel Mullarkey facilitated a Design Thinking Workshop at CELT in NUI Galway, with prototyping material provided thanks to LaunchPad.
  • In July, Dr Flynn received his LEANSTACK Certification after taking part in a hands-on workshop led by Ash Maurya, author of Running Lean and creator of the Lean Canvas.
  • Dr Flynn ran the second annual TRICS course for 30 PhD students at NUI Galway in August. Guest speakers included Ian Gallivan from the Innovation Office (TTO) who gave much needed insights into pathways to commercialisation.
  • Dr Breslin spoke on RTÉ’s Nine O’Clock in August for a piece with Will Goodbody on the opportunities and challenges for the Irish app economy.
  • Dr Breslin was invited to talk about TechInnovate/AgInnovate to the Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) Team at East Point, Dublin in September.
  • In September, TechInnovate filled 25 places on the new HEA Springboard+ funded MSc in AgInnovation (agricultural innovation and entrepreneurship; Irish IndependentIrish Tech News), and also began a new MSc in TechInnovation, with two scholarships funded by EY.
  • Also in September, Dr Flynn was joint winner of the 4th Innovation & Entrepreneurship Teaching Excellence Award for “Innovate21: An Innovation & Entrepreneurship Teaching Methodology for the Development of 21st Century Skills” at the 13th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ECIE) in Portugal. The STARTED Project also won the Runner-Up Poster Award at the Conference.
  • In October, Edel Browne from the MSc in TechInnovation attended the NDTP Health Innovation Spark Summit at RCSI with Health Innovation Hub Ireland.
  • Dr Flynn and Gabriel Mullarkey presented on TechInnovate, AgInnovate and STARTED to visiting BEEHIVE Erasmus+ consortium partners in Galway in October.
  • Dr Breslin gave a presentation on go-to-market strategies and the cost of customer acquisition to SAP.iO Accelerate Teams in Potsdam, Germany in October, where he took part in team mentoring sessions. Dr Breslin also gave an invited talk to the SAP.iO Venture Partners Team on building the Galway startup ecosystem.
  • Gabriel Mullarkey was a workshop speaker at the first Empathy Jam in Galway, and also attended the IRDG Annual Conference in October.
  • Gabriel Mullarkey and Dr Flynn were part of the organising team for the second successful Climathon Galway climate change hackathon in October (Engineers Journal).
  • Dr Breslin gave an online tutorial on “What Can You Do for Your Customer?” to global teams on the BonBillo Social Impact Incubator in November.
  • In November, Dr Breslin met with the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel and Digital Single Market Director Gerard de Graaf at the Startup Europe Summit in Sofia, and talked to them about developing entrepreneurial spirit, skills and spaces for the Galway startup ecosystem.
  • Dr Breslin also joined participants from Universum College Kosovo, Startup Olé Accelerator and University of Warsaw for a discussion panel on “Transforming Universities into Entrepreneurship Engines” at the Summit.
  • About 25 graduates from the HEA Springboard+ funded Postgraduate Diploma in TechInnovation were conferred at NUI Galway in November.
  • Dr Flynn, Arline Broder and Gabriel Mullarkey organised the NEED-Ed symposium at NUI Galway, as part of the Startup Europe University Network’s “Startup Europe Comes to Universities” (SEC2U) week of events in December. Speakers from Blackstone LaunchPad (Natalie Walsh), Health Innovation Hub Ireland (Aisling Dolan) and EY (Paraic Waters, Marie Donnellan) joined others from the TechInnovate team.
  • Finally in December, two participants from our MSc in AgInnovation were selected to participate in Phase 2 of Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers business development programme.

Thank you to all of our sponsors, staff (Arline Broder, Gabriel Mullarkey, Dr Paul Flynn) and students for your support during the year… We are looking forward to an exciting 2019!


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