University of Limerick, 3D4Medical and IBM Research were the winners of the 2017 US-Ireland Research Innovation Awards, jointly presented by the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner in the Clayton Burlington Hotel, Dublin.

The team from UL led by Dr Eamonn de Barra, in collaboration with Stryker Orthopaedics, received the award for developing a new type of bioactive bone cement for neurosurgery, which has advantages over existing products on the market in terms of ease of use, speed of surgical placement and reduced workload on the OR team which is a positive outcome for all.

Dr de Barra said, “We are proud to reach this milestone and to continue to assist our research partner Stryker in their corporate mission, via the exchange of ideas, technology and people. We at the University of Limerick are delighted to have our collaboration recognised by the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy in their Innovation Awards 2017”.

Among the 700 strong audience at the awards ceremony were leaders of many of the US companies in Ireland, representatives from academia and a range of innovation stakeholders. In addition to hearing from the President of the American Chamber James O’Connor and President of the Royal Irish Academy Professor Michael Peter Kennedy, the event was also attended by US Chargé d’Affaires Reece Smyth and Conrad Tribble, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the State Department in Washington DC.

Speaking about the need for Ireland’s innovative approach, James O’Connor, President of the American Chamber said: “To be successful in the digital age, we need to continually upgrade and invest in our physical infrastructure.  We need to increase the supply of residential and commercial accommodation for the current and next generations who want to come to work and live here.  We need to seize the opportunity to develop cloud technologies.  And most importantly, we need to continue to invest in our skills and talent. The battle for FDI will centre on digital skills that are needed to unleash innovation in our 21st century data-driven economy.  A key part of producing the best graduates is ensuring that our young people are equipped with the skills that enable them to participate in a digital world. Whether working in a medical field, as a fashion designer, architect, the arts, the ability to harness digital technology will help them to do more and achieve more”.

“Ireland, through the government’s policies and the approach of its agencies, has constantly embraced innovation. It is this innovative approach to doing business which has ensured the strength of the US-Ireland business relationship over the 55 years since the foundation of the American Chamber of Commerce. The work we are celebrating tonight continues to be done through amazing collaboration built over many decades of US companies investing in Ireland, companies who constantly reinvent themselves and move up the value chain to provide high quality products and services for customers around the world. We can all be incredibly proud of the work of tonight’s award winners and indeed all those who entered this year’s awards.

“Through the efforts of this Chamber and State Agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and the IDA, Ireland is the place to ‘make it happen’. This is a message that is clearly understood by our members here tonight and in boardrooms throughout the US.  The potential of over 150,000 of Ireland’s best educated and highly talented innovative people is being realised daily by over 700 US companies that are invested here.  Every day, they work at the leading edge, producing the goods and services that are transforming our world today, and imagining and developing the goods, services and ideas that will change our world tomorrow.  I am very proud of the powerful reputation we have built as a country that delivers for the companies who have invested here,” he continued.

According to Anna Scally, Partner, KPMG in Ireland: “These awards are a great opportunity to showcase innovation in Ireland today. Companies all over the world are looking for competitive advantage, and innovation is critical to that. If Ireland can be at the forefront of innovation, then that will help us to retain our place as the leading location in the world for FDI. KPMG works with innovative companies in every sector of Irish business and we strongly believe in supporting innovation at every opportunity. We are delighted to support these awards”.

Stephen Masterson, Ulster Bank Head of Corporate Banking and Markets said: “We know the tangible benefits US multinationals bring to Ireland in terms of investment, expertise and talent. But what the awards really shine a light on, is highlighting a less known benefit for the SME sector which is the lifeblood of the Irish economy. The awards show how this community has embraced innovation and technology and collaboration with the FDI sector. That is why we at Ulster Bank are delighted to support the initiative”.

The evening also saw the presentation of the American Chamber Special Recognition Award to CoderDojo, the global network of free, volunteer-led, community-based programming clubs now available in 63 countries for young people founded in 2011 by Bill Liao and James Whelton in Cork.