Speaking about the awards, Director of KTI commented Dr Alison Campbell, “The Impact Awards are about acknowledging Ireland’s success in knowledge transfer and the people that make it happenn the on-the-ground staff in technology transfer offices and industry liaison offices in our HEIs around the country. Recent results from Enterprise Ireland’s client survey show that companies that collaborate with the Irish Research system on market-led projects have more than double the sales and exports than those that don’t. The knowledge transfer profession plays an essential role in helping companies (existing and new) to innovate through the commercialisation of research and expertise.”
In the winning project Rusal Aughinish Alumina (AAL) which extracts alumina sought the expertise of researchers at MACSI (a network of mathematical modellers and scientific computational analysts based in Ireland) in University of Limerick to develop bespoke systems for them. AAL wanted to ensure that the quality of their extracted products would not be affected in the event of a loss of power at their plants. The process could not be solved using standard approaches so MACSI developed mathematical and statistical models for process understanding that combine first principles simulation and data driven stochastic dynamics.
This project has resulted in a staggering 200pc increase in the accuracy of prediction of product quality, enhancing the overall efficiency and decision-making of the plant. The two algorithms developed have been implemented by the company and are in daily use. The judges stated that they "found this project very compelling and particularly liked the fact that it was in a novel and interesting area of research." They were particularly won over by "the very quantifiable and tangible impact this project had on local manufacturing employment and the potential it has for further use across additional industries."