New Frontiers participant’s concept selected for eDIGIREGION event

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Pictured from left to right is WIT’s Professor Bill O’Gorman, Daniel Thewlis, and Niall Olden of Kernel Capital.

Pictured from left to right is WIT’s Professor Bill O’Gorman, Daniel Thewlis, and Niall Olden of Kernel Capital.

A participant on New Frontiers at WIT’s ArcLabs incubation hub will have his Digital Test Tube idea reviewed in Hungary by commercialisation experts

The winner of the eDIGIREGION call for ‘Innovative ICT Concepts’ is Daniel Thewlis. He will now represent the South-East Ireland region at an international two-day workshop to be held in Bucharest, Romania.

The call for concepts was organised by the Waterford Institute of Technology-coordinated, EU-funded eDIGIREGION project.

Thewlis presented his concept ‘Digital Test Tube’ at the recent TSSG/SEBIC Industry Workshop held in Kilkenny on 19 April. The concept was adjudicated by a panel of experts drawn from Enterprise Ireland, Kernel Capital, Waterford Institute of Technology and South East Action Plan for Jobs Implementation Committee.

In a three-minute pitch, Thewlis outlined his idea to provide a software solution targeted at solving issues experienced by scientists performing PCR testing in laboratories around the world.

Based in Waterford, Thewlis is a past pupil of Abbey Community College, Ferrybank, Co Waterford and recently graduated with a BSc in Genetics & Cell Biology from Dublin City University. He is currently participating on the Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers programme at Waterford Institute of Technology’s ArcLabs incubation hub, which recently announced plans for a €2.5m expansion.

“My experience in academia and industry enabled me to identify several key issues with the Polmerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology in the laboratory. I subsequently developed a platform, Digital Test Tube, to address these issues. I began my entrepreneurial journey on completion of my final year at Dublin City University. My concept, Digital Test Tube, received a merit award at the Student Entrepreneur Awards 2015 in University of Ulster Jordanstown, Belfast - hosted by Enterprise Ireland. Following this I was awarded runner up in Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur Competition in the 'Best Idea Category' hosted by Waterford’s Local Enterprise Office. From there I was accepted as a participant onto the New Frontiers programme at WIT’s ArcLabs incubation hub” said Thewlis.

Commenting on the concept, Niall Olden of Kernel Capital said “Digital Test Tube is an innovative software product that addresses a compelling market need for efficiencies in the delivery of laboratory PCR testing.”

The winning concept now goes forward to represent the South-East Ireland region at an international two-day workshop to be held in Bucharest, Romania on 18/19 May 2016. There Thewlis will receive intensive support and mentoring from a team of international experts, each a specialist in the commercialisation process (including market analysis, product development, business models, funding etc.).

The eDIGIREGION project, coordinated by Prof Bill O’Gorman Director for Research, Centre for Enterprise Development and Regional Economy at WIT, has been involved in an extensive engagement process with a wide range of regional stakeholders over the past year to identify some of the key issues critical to the region’s development.

Commenting, Prof O’Gorman said “The call for concepts is a major milestone in the project and demonstrates how EU funded projects can have a significant impact in the practical development of regional innovation systems. Mr. Thewlis now has the opportunity to learn from an international panel of experts. Such learning, I’m sure, will be of major benefit to both Mr. Thewlis and the South East region.”

About Digital Test Tube

Digital Test Tube (DTT) is a software solution targeted at solving issues experienced by scientists performing Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing around the world. PCR is the number one technique used in DNA analysis. Specifically, PCR is the process which scientists use to copy DNA and is used extensively in forensics, food and drink, medical/health/research, environmental and agricultural science and in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. DTT is a PCR project management tool which optimises maths, experimental conditions and changes the way in which PCR data and outputs are captured. DTT will lead to the rapid execution of PCR, improved connectivity among its users and greater data integrity. DTT will make the PCR process more streamlined, cost-effective and efficient and will have the impact of improving the accuracy and the efficacy of the experimental results and data, which is one of the most important KPI's of laboratories around the world.

About eDIGIREGION

The eDIGIREGION project has been involved in an extensive engagement process with a wide range of regional stakeholders over the past year to identify some of the key issues critical to the region’s development. Following a benchmarking exercise aimed at understanding the competitive strengths of the region, five areas of smart specialisation were identified. These are areas in which the region has competitive advantage and where stakeholders are agreed can be developed further.

The identified smart specialisations are:

Precision Agriculture which is the application of ICT in agriculture to improve practice efficiencies and yields. The South-East has already developed a growing reputation for excellence in this field with a strong agricultural footprint, a leading ICT research group and a number of dynamically-innovative companies applying advanced ICT technologies in their products and services.

Digital Media encompasses emerging and disruptive technologies in hardware, content and distribution, extending to digital imagery, animation and visual effects, digital video, gaming, websites (including social media), data and databases, and digital audio. The region has a number of key strengths in this domain including a strong supply of high quality graduates and emerging companies.

ICT in Advanced Manufacturing where the application of ICT is transforming manufacturing systems, process control, automation and traceability. The South-East Region has strong, dynamic and broad-based competencies in world-class manufacturing activities, supported by a dedicated advanced manufacturing research centre (SEAM), based in Waterford Institute of Technology.

ICT in Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical represents the exciting convergence of ICT with pharmaceutical and medical technologies. ICT in pharmaceuticals and medical devices presents major opportunities for the South-East region, as core competencies to support this “new innovation” are strengthened by the region’s existing industrial base and academic and research capabilities.

ICT in Tourism where ICT can play an important role in supporting regional tourism initiatives, by leveraging ICT in promoting and commercialising local tourism offerings through online marketing, destination management, developing new revenue sources, enriching visitor experiences and supporting international linkages. With its growing tourism sector and strong ICT resources, the region is well-placed to harness advanced ICT as an enabler for a number of emerging regional tourism initiatives.

The eDIGIREGION team, led by Prof. Bill O’Gorman, Director for Research, Centre for Enterprise Development and Regional Economy at WIT is now focusing on developing these five areas further in close cooperation with the region’s stakeholders. This is being done through the development of a regional Joint Action Plan which details a number of specific measures to drive the development of these areas.

About ArcLabs

Established almost 10 years ago ArcLabs is well known nationally and internationally for the unique incubation, research and enterprise support framework it provides to entrepreneurs and technology based start-ups. Home to more than 60 companies since its foundation ArcLabs has been a key driver in the development of an ICT/mobile services cluster which has emerged in the region over the last decade.

The co-location of entrepreneurs and technology based businesses in close proximity to one of Europe’s leading ICT research centres, the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG), provides a research and innovation hub of more than 250 scientists, engineers and technology professionals on one site. This has proven to be a very powerful model in creating leading global Irish companies such as FeedHenry and NearForm as well as attracting in ICT based international companies into the region. Currently 27 companies are based in ArcLabs Waterford and Kilkenny employing more than 190 staff.


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