All Ireland New Technology Forum: “From Translation, to Convergence, to the Bottom Line” Building Plastics into the Future
Location: Athlone Institute of Technology
Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland
Event Information: In March of this year (4-6th), Waterford Institute of Technology in conjunction with Athlone Institute of Technology and with the support of Enterprise Ireland and the IDA will be hosting the first Society of Plastics Engineers Annual conference. It will be geared towards engineering and science professionals from the Medical Device, Pharmaceutical, Green Technology, Composites and Plastics Processing sectors; focused on showcasing government investment in R&D capabilities within this country and the associated service offerings now available to SME’s and MNC’s through these initiatives.
In addition, on the first day of the conference (4/3/’14) we will be opening the Applied Polymer Technology (APT) Gateway, a national technology centre focused on all aspects of polymer research funded by Enterprise Ireland in Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT). The APT Gateway Centre will be the central applied research unit within a huge remit of Medical Device, Composites, Moulding, Pharmaceutical and Technology companies including Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Teleflex, Cappella Medical and Novate Medical.
The second day of the conference (6/3/’14) Ireland’s first Super Critical Fluid assisted polymer processing facility located in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and funded through Science Foundation Ireland will be launched. This will be a key driver for developing sustainable research partnerships and providing technical assistance to a large range of companies in the South East of Ireland, through the National Applied Technology Polymer Gateway Centre, such as ClearStream Technologies (CR Bard), FastForm Research, Bausch & Lomb, Eirgen Pharma, Nypro, Genzyme, Allsop Europe and Teva Pharmaceuticals.
The focus of the seminar is geared towards SMEs in the regional areas of the South East and the Borders Midlands West (BMW) regions of Ireland; to highlight that supports, assistance and networks exist for companies attempting to get into higher value technologies. Over the last decade, plastics have become one of the most universally-used and multipurpose materials in the global economy. Today, plastics are utilised in more and more applications, allowing breakthroughs in diverse applications; from unblocking arteries, creating artificial corneas to harnessing the power of the wind. Plastics have enabled companies to produce better products faster and cheaper than ever before. But where is the industry going next? The Economic crisis has demonstrated the importance of a vibrant export based industry for economic stability, employment, innovation and the international performance of not just the Irish economy but the economies of all developed nations.
Recovery thankfully is in in sight with the emergence of high technology with a transdisciplinary new product focus in convergent technologies. However, The key challenge facing the South East and BMW regions in the future is that of strengthening its economic competitiveness (and underpinning innovation and knowledge capacity, as well as infrastructure). In comparison with the rest of the country the region suffers from low levels of innovative activity, exacerbated by low graduate retention rates (‘brain drain’), deficiencies in the Region’s innovation and knowledge transfer infrastructure and the lack of collaboration between indigenous companies. A strong and well-functioning innovation system has long been regarded as central to economic success. Interaction between companies, sub-suppliers and other innovation agencies at the regional level are particularly important in establishing a dynamic process of economic development. Innovative growth also relies heavily on higher education institutions (HEIs) and the generation of new knowledge as well as the so-called Knowledge Intensive Services (KIS) that are delivered in areas such as consultancy and R&D, incubation centres, and access to specialist facilities and expertise. The South East Region boasts leading multinational companies including GlaxoSmithkine, Bausch & Lomb, Boston Scientific, Abbott, ClearStream Technologies (now CR BARD), Lake Region Medical, as well as indigenously grown dynamic and growing industry such as Eirgen Pharma, FastForm Research, SMF Engineering, Tegan Innovation and others. Globally Traded Business is the second largest sector of employment in companies. Waterford Institute of Technology is a leading provider of highly educated graduates to these high profile companies, as well as an increasing number of indigenous start-ups. It has a regional remit, along with Carlow Institute of Technology to upskill personnel to take employment in emerging technology companies, and hence, provide real and sustainable mechanisms for economic growth. Specialist “best-in-class” research support units offering cutting edge technology in analysis and product development for companies exist through the guise of the Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC), the South East Applied Materials research centre (SEAM) and the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG), all located in Waterford Institute of Technology. The Advanced Polymer Processing Centre at Waterford Institute of Technology boasts state of the art equipment to work with industry and to develop competencies in high end value polymer engineering, supporting existing industries such as Bausch & Lomb and Nypro as well as high potential start-ups in the region; critical to our regions future growth and retention of our graduates.
The BMW region has a relatively young, well educated workforce and there is emerging evidence of potential cluster development in polymer intensive industries such as: medical devices, automotive, pharma, composites and recycling. These factors have resulted in companies of the calibre of Abbott, Baxter, Boston Scientific and Covidien locating multiple plants in this area. Over the past twenty years, AIT has grown the polymer research area into an interdisciplinary hub, interfacing with the plastics industry across multiple platforms on thousands of projects. In recent years, AIT has invested heavily in the infrastructure of the research facilities with the completion of a HEA co-funded €2 million purpose built Research Hub in 2010, while the only facility in Ireland equipped for pilot and large scale polymer processing is housed in the new €36 million Engineering and Informatics Building and in a dedicated APT polymer processing facility. AIT now hosts the Applied Polymer Technology (APT) Gateway, the national polymer research centre focused on all aspects of polymer research funded by Enterprise Ireland.
The key goal of the symposium is to bring Knowledge providers, manufacturers and suppliers together to enable regional development by showcasing the strengths of the region, providing a networking opportunity and highlighting the specialist facilities and expertise available at the APT Technology Gateway at Athlone Institute of Technology and the affiliated Advanced Polymer Processing Centre at Waterford Institute of Technology. Master classes will be provided to attendees in Materials Analysis and Processing. This conference will bring together political leaders, state agencies, business people and industry experts to discuss meeting the challenges facing companies in their core and emerging markets, the benefits of innovation clustering (such as the medical device sector in Galway), the proliferation of non-practicing entities, more familiarly known as patent trolls, the changing demands of regulation for companies launching products in a global marketplace and proactive, long-term planning of the global materials ecosystem to foster future innovation and growth.
This conference will be hosted by the Society of Plastics Engineers European Medical Polymers Division, Enterprise Ireland, Irish Development Authority and Engineers Ireland. The purpose is to liaise and inform industry of the specific technical supports available to the greater plastics processing / manufacturing / design industry of Ireland through knowledge providers such as the new Applied Polymer Technology Research Centre at Athlone Institute of Technology and the Advanced Polymer Processing Research Centre at Waterford Institute of Technology. Master classes to industry in the field of plastics testing methods will be held on-site at both conference locations, Waterford Institute of Technology and Athlone Institute of Technology.
The conference will also provide ample opportunity for companies to forge links with the Society of Plastics Engineers and other knowledge providers in Ireland and abroad as well as affording a great opportunity to network with other SMEs and MNCs, which will provide access to a vast network of technical information of vital importance to the industry. Geared towards engineering and science professionals from the Medical Device, Pharmaceutical, Green Technology, Composites and Plastics Processing sectors, the conference will be held in Athlone Institute of Technology on Tuesday, 4 March 2014 and Waterford Institute of Technology on Thursday, 6 March 2014. The executive council of the Society of Plastics Engineers will be present in Ireland to offer support and networking solutions to Irish industry.
Across the bi-located two day event, the conference will incorporate presentations from industry experts as well as masterclasses on testing of polymer materials and the official opening of the National Polymer Research Centre at Athlone Institute of Technology and the Advanced Polymer Processing Centre at Waterford Institute of Technology.
Dr Austin Coffey, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Sean Lyons, Applied Polymer Technologies Research Centre Manager, Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland: email@example.com
Further details to follow...
Cost: This event is FREE to all members and potential members
RSVP Information: Please reply to Dr Austin Coffey at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org