Waterford News

WWFOF Featival SpiritIreland’s top chefs are to reinvent fine dining at home as part of Festival Spirit, a brand new event created by the organisers of West Waterford Festival of Food. Running from 23 – 25 April, over 10 curated talks, experiences and workshops — virtual and socially distanced — will celebrate West Waterford’s food culture and heritage. It includes a unique collaborative six-course meal kit from some of Waterford’s top chefs such as the Tannery’s Paul Flynn and Ian Doyle of the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Cliff House Hotel, along with a virtual film on foraging sustainably hosted by Paul Flynn and GIY founder Michael Kelly.

The three-day mini-series of events will also see the launch of an online gifting portal and the pilot of a children’s adventure maps initiative in partnership with six local cafés, which will be rolled out across Waterford over the coming months. Full details of Festival Spirit presented by West Waterford Festival of Food are available at www.westwaterfordfestivaloffood.com.

Announcing Festival Spirit, Festival Director, Lynne Swarbrigg said: “Having postponed our beloved West Waterford Festival of Food last year, we wanted to find a way to celebrate the dedicated producers, makers, growers, brewers and chefs of the region safely.

“Festival Spirit has been imagined in the ‘spirit’ of West Waterford Festival of Food. This small gesture comes with a big heart, as it is dedicated to all those who keep food in West Waterford alive in our hearts, minds and appetites. We look forward to running our three-day mini-series of events, shining a spotlight on what makes Waterford one of Ireland’s top foodie destinations.”

The six-course Taste of the Festival meal experience for two — priced at €165 — is available for delivery nationwide, and is a collaboration between chefs Roisin Horsom of Crews Restaurant, Paul Flynn of the Tannery, Ian Doyle of Cliff House Hotel, and Judit McNally of Ormond's. Irish Gourmet Butter will provide lightly salted butter for the occasion and Eunice Power her Dungarvan Black Rock Irish Stout bread. Annemarie and Carol Prendergast of The 2 Sisters Restaurant are creating a sublime collection of petit fours, and the cheese and crackers course is by Eamonn Lonergan of Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese, Susan Denn of Interlude and Greg Harris of Cookhouse 360. There is a bespoke aperitif cocktail from Blackwater Distillery crafted by mixologist, John Coleman, in collaboration with The Old Bank Dungarvan.

A free-to-view stunning film showcasing the adventure of foraging in two of Waterford’s most beautiful landscapes is to air at the weekend, and features Marie Power aka The Sea Gardener and leading Irish forager, Andrew Malcolm. Filmed in-line with Government guidelines at Annestown Beach and Curraghmore House and Gardens, Land & Sea Forage is hosted by Paul Flynn and GIY founder Michael Kelly and includes conversations from several Waterford food enthusiasts.

Festival Spirit presented by West Waterford Festival of Food will also see the launch of two initiatives that will run throughout the year, and will reach out across the entire county — a gifting portal of the best Waterford food and drink products available to purchase and children’s adventure maps through partnerships with cafés in a wide variety of locations. There will also be a series of family-friendly online workshops, including Home Grow Along with tips on gardening at home — be it a windowsill or a field — and a chocolate masterclass.

Lynne added: “Festival Spirit presented by West Waterford Festival of Food is supported by Waterford City & County Council, Waterford Local Enterprise Office and LEADER Partnership.  With their help, and that of our producers, chefs, makers, supporters, venue hosts, friends and volunteers, we want to celebrate all our region has to offer. Festival Spirit is here to remind us that even though things are very different these days, there is still so much to celebrate and enjoy.” 

Tickets and registration for all events is at www.westwaterfordfestivaloffood.com. Follow Festival Spirit presented by West Waterford Festival of Food at:

Facebook: @WaterfordFoodFestival | Twitter: @WdFoodFestival | Instagram: @westwaterfordfestivaloffood

SEP Winners 2021Local Enterprise Office Waterford has announced that Dalia Jewels, the successful student entrepreneurs from Newtown secondary school in Waterford City will represent County Waterford at this year’s Student Enterprise Programme National Final on Friday 14th May. As with last year’s event the Final will take place virtually with approximately 80 finalist teams logging in all over the country.

The students all took part in the Waterford Final on Friday March 26th which was held virtually and streamed live on the Local Enterprise Office’s Facebook page. An estimated nine hundred students from eleven schools through-out the county took part in the annual programme locally.

The enterprise education initiative, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country, saw over 29,000 students from just under 500 secondary schools across the country take part in 2019 / 2020. The programme supports students to create, design and market their own business, all with the hope of reaching the National Final.

In the Senior Category of the competition, Waterford will be represented on May 14th by Sophie Reid, Nataliya O Neill, Youki Osaki and Saoirse Delaire Staines from Dalia Jewels at Newtown secondary school.

Special guests at the County Final, hosted by Beat 102 103’s Trishauna Archer included his worship the Mayor Cllr Damien Geoghegan, Head of enterprise for Waterford Local Enterprise Office Richie Walsh, and teacher and former Waterford senior hurling manager Derek McGrath.

Speaking at the county final, Richie Walsh of Local Enterprise Office Waterford congratulated the students, saying “We have a very successful student enterprise programme here in Waterford, with over 900 students from 11 local schools taking part this year. Our national finalists are excellent ambassadors for the programme and we wish them the very best of luck in the finals and we’ll all be logged on to support them. In what has been a particularly challenging year for students the programme has offered them an outlet outside of the usual school demands. What our students are learning from the programme is that with the right supports and encouragement, they can take an idea from the classroom and develop it into a real-life business. The skills they learn along the way, such as business planning, market research, selling and team-work, will help them become more entrepreneurial throughout their future careers”.

The local students will be competing against hundreds of other student entrepreneurs from all over Ireland at the Student Enterprise Programme National Final, taking place virtually on the 14th May.

Since the Student Enterprise Programme began in 2003, over 220,000 students have taken part, learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business. The Student Enterprise Programme also has new range of online resources for 2020 / 2021 at www.StudentEnterprise.ie, which will feature regular blogs and houses a full range of Student Enterprise resources for students and teachers.  

Further information around the Student Enterprise Programme is available from www.studententerprise.ie and by searching #studententerprise on social media.

Iarnród Enda'Iarnród Enda' is a six-part series set to air on Monday 5th April at 8.30pm on RTÉ One. Funded by Northern Ireland Screen's Irish Language Broadcast Fund and produced by Sonas Productions.

A celebration of people, landscape and belonging, this new series showcases Enda Kenny's search for pointers to the future among the echoes of the past as he sets out in search of the long-abandoned railway routes of Ireland. Episode one brings us from ​Waterford to Dungarvan.

Enda explores the story of a once modern transport system, the railway routes that became engraved into the countryside, transformed the landscape and shaped the evolution of the entire island. Railway expanded the way we saw ourselves in the world, influencing the course of subsequent historical, social and political events​.

Discovering riches along the way, human and cultural, Enda marvels at the shoots of new growth emerging as sections of old lines regenerate as small, narrow-gauge tourist trains bring the magic and romance of steam to life.

Other routes, re-imagined, emerge from the landscape with a fresh vigour re-purposed into greenways attracting walkers and cyclists from home and abroad as a new, health-oriented tourist industry puts down roots where naught but dereliction and abandonment previously held sway. 

If you thought you knew all there was to know about Enda Kenny after his 45 years in Dáil Éireann – be prepared to be surprised. This iteration reveals a man happy on his bike, relaxed in himself and comfortable in the company of those he encounters along the way. A good listener, he’s at his happiest meeting new people or old friends and is never slow to call in for a chat or a story, a tune or a song.

‘Iarnród Enda’ makes for a thoughtfully entertaining diversion from the rigours of lockdown, beginning on RTÉ One at 8.30 on Easter Monday , April 5th.

Programme One: ​Waterford to Dungarvan – The Waterford Greenway in the ‘Sunny South East’ has brought a new lease of life to this beautiful region, yet before the railway line closed it helped encourage a vibrant commercial and farming environment, as well as making a strong contribution at the end of the 19​ Century. to growth and development of the newly formed GAA. This programme has contributions from historian Donnchadh O’Ceallacháin, Tom Hartery, Garvan Cummins, Mary Crowley, PJ Maher – the last station master before the line closed, and renowned chef Paul Flynn up a barbecue for Enda. 

Swim for Cora 2021

Do you remember your 18th birthday – the day you officially became an adult? Beautiful Waterford girl Cora Griffin would have turned 18 on May 1st this year, but sadly she is no longer with us.

Cora tragically passed away on December 27th 2017, when she suffered a massive cardiac event that ended her life suddenly. Every year since to mark Cora’s birthday, her family have organised a fundraising swim to raise money for charity.

Waterford-based Touching Hearts will celebrate Cora’s life on May 1st and they want you to join the party. The aim is to raise €18,000 in Cora’s name, which will go towards relocating services for Children with additional and complex needs from the 47-year-old Sacred Heart Centre building on Lady lane to a brand new state of the art facility on the grounds of St Otteran’s. Since its inception in 2017, Touching Hearts has raised €430,000 of the €1 million needed.

Waterford Chamber is appealing to the business community and the wider public to come up with their own way of fundraising on May 1st, whether it is organising a donation of 18 minutes pay on Friday April 30th to the new building fund, or how about doing 18 minutes of a fun activity or repeat an activity 18 times? The aim is to have fun, celebrate Cora’s birthday and raise funds for this vital service in her honour.

This new building will meet current and future service needs, while empowering children with additional needs and their families to develop to their full potential in a safe and nurturing environment. The Irish Government have committed to releasing funding this year for the project to commence and be completed by 2025.

Monies raised can be donated directly to Touching Hearts Account IBAN: IE19 AIBK 9342 7525 6980 18, using your company name. Donations can also be made at https://gofund.me/4394241c

For more information see www.touchinghearts.ie

So gather the team, get creative and have some fun for a great cause.

Walton Institute CarriganoreWaterford Institute of Technology’s research wing TSSG (Telecommunications Software & Systems Group) will today (24/03/2021) further advance its global ICT research impact by evolving to the Walton Institute for Information and Communication Systems Science.

The awarding of research institute status to TSSG will be announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD during an online ceremony.

It’s a significant accolade for the Institute and clear recognition of its outstanding research strengths and capabilities, which include co-ordinating fundamental science projects focused on sensing and treating neurodegenerative disorders, winning awards for digital DNA storage and VR and using ICT that can advance and support Covid-19 related research.

Today’s announcement marks the culmination of a three-year process which included rigorously benchmarking the organisation against international standards.

Founded in 1996, TSSG is recognised as one of Europe’s leading academic research centres with a particular reputation for translational research. As it evolves to the Walton Institute, it is now home to over 80 researchers, with over 300 industry partners and over 750 global partners and is part of four Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centres. In the last five years alone, Walton Institute has secured funding in excess of €120 million under EU Programmes, making it one of the most successful ICT research institutes in Ireland. Additionally, it has secured more funding from Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme, than all other Irish academic and industry organisations who participate in European ICT projects combined.

The research institute, the first of its kind in the South East region, is named after renowned physicist Dr. Ernest Walton, born in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, who was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1951 for being the first to split the atom. It’s hoped his ground-breaking work will inspire current and future generations of Waterford-based researchers at Walton Institute in utilising ICT to develop high impact solutions to benefit our society and economy from their multi-disciplinary research in the areas of future healthcare, intelligent transport systems, environmental protection, cybersecurity, smart energy and agri tech.

Walton Institute co-directors Dr. Sasitharan Balasubramaniam and Kevin Doolin said:

“Formally announcing our Institute designation today is a culmination of three years of effort from the team in TSSG and WIT’s research office. Cutting edge research is at the heart of everything we do. Evolving from TSSG, Walton Institute will focus on redefining multi-disciplinary ICT research that can result in major impact for society while encouraging a unique environment that will support researchers who want to pursue ground-breaking research.”

Professor Willie Donnelly, President of WIT, said:

“Since its establishment in 1996, TSSG has acted as a catalyst for the economic development of the South East. The application of its research knowledge to the creation of regional economic development in partnership with the regional stakeholders has resulted in the creation of a sustainable ICT sector in the South East which employs over 3,000 people. Evolving to Walton Institute is timely in the context of the creation of the Technological University and sets out a clear statement of ambition for the new University as a catalyst for the sustainable economic and social develop of the South East region of Ireland.”

Dr Mark White, VP Research, Innovation and Graduate Studies in WIT added:

“Walton Institute is a leading European Research Institute with ICT at its core. Central to our mission is the delivery of real socio-economic value and impact to our community, enabling the long- term competitiveness of the South East and the entire country. The Walton Institute excels at this by contributing the research, innovation and ideas that are required by regional-based start-ups and SMEs to transform the ICT sector in the region, producing high calibre postgraduates who will work for local industries and attract future FDI from major companies.”

SOS Cycle

The Mental Health and Suicide Awareness Cycle in aid of Suicide or Survive (SOS), takes place each year in Lemybrien, County Waterford. The fundraiser is now in its seventh year and has raised €60,000 since 2015. This year’s cycle will now take place online from March 29th to April 9th in association with WLR FM.

This online cycle is called “Cycle for SOS” and sets the challenge to take on a 20km cycle within the 5km radius of your home to help raise awareness for mental health and vital funds for SOS, all proceeds will go towards providing free mental health workshops in Waterford.

Now more than ever during these difficult times people are struggling with their mental health and need the services that SOS provide. Please see our poster attached which provides all the details about the campaign.

We need to your help to ensure that we raise these vital funds this year to ensure SOS can continue to provide much needed services.

We would love to invite you to become a corporate sponsor for the campaign, once again this year. We have two options for corporate sponsorship option one is to donate on behalf of your business and option two is to donate a prize for our raffle.

You can make a donation here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cycleforsos2021

We can assure you that in return for your sponsorship we will advertise your business at every opportunity along the way, you will also get listed on a post on our social media channels.

All updates will be posted on our Facebook Page “Mental Health and Suicide Awareness” and our Instagram Page @cycleforsos. WLR will also be promoting the campaign live on air, on their website and on their Social Media accounts.

Your support will go a long way towards helping Suicide or Survive continue to provide their essential services.

LEO Jinnys BakeryEarlier this month, An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, officially launched a new ‘green’ enterprise support for small businesses.

The Green for Micro programme, an initiative from the Local Enterprise Offices with support from Enterprise Ireland, was rolled out nationwide to help prepare small businesses for the low carbon, more resource efficient economy of the future.

With the help of a Green Consultant, small businesses with up to ten employees can get free advice and technical support on resource efficiency, how to better understand their carbon footprint and how to implement an environmental management system to reduce costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Local Enterprise Office Waterford is encouraging small businesses that wish to adopt a greener strategy to apply for assistance with identifying, implementing, and managing a greener approach to business practices.

Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Waterford highlighted how, with the benefit of practical advice and guidance, local business owners and managers can “green” their business to make it more sustainable.

“Sustainability is often quite a theoretical concept and many small businesses just don't know where to start. These practical Green for Micro consultations take the theory away and boil down to identifying practical and actionable steps for business. Qualifying SMEs can access two days of intensive mentoring, including a sustainability audit and action plan, designed to introduce green principles and drive sustainability.”

Derek Hannick of Lean Green Management Services is a “green” mentor with Local Enterprise Offices. “The aim of the Green for Micro programme is to help businesses examine and identify cost savings and market opportunities within their business.”

“This is achieved by looking at a business from an environmental perspective. In essence, becoming green means improving the way you use energy, waste, water and how you transport and procure. Improving environmental performance through greater resource efficiency can help your business save money and achieve a competitive advantage.”

If you are interested in developing a ‘greener’ policy for your business to; increase cost savings, improve resource efficiency, reduce environmental footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, discover opportunities for higher and additional value on products and services, increase access to customers, improve corporate image and increase resilience to climate change impacts the Green for Micro Programme is for your business.

To apply for two days of mentoring with a specialist Green Consultant visit www.localenterprise.ie/green or call Local Enterprise Office Waterford on 0761 10 2905 to find out more about Green for Micro.

Waterford Viking Virtual Marathon

Calling all companies and their staff to join runners all over the world as the Waterford Viking Marathon goes Virtual for 2021!

Due to Covid-19 Restrictions Waterford Viking Marathon has launched the 2021 Marathon as a Virtual running event. The event will take place from Thursday June 24th to Sunday 27th enabling runners to complete their chosen distance any day over this period at a time that suits them and their working schedules.

Waterford Viking Virtual Marathon are inviting companies to encourage their staff here in Waterford and from all over the country and beyond to choose their goal for this coming June with Full, Half and Quarter Marathon options.

In these strangest of times, we have created an event that all staff can participate in, walk or run. Why not take this opportunity to bring your staff together even when they are physically apart?

If you are the local office of an international company, challenge other offices, be they overseas or intercounty to a marathon challenge. Why not set a goal and when registering, staff can start raising funds for a company dedicated charity close to your heart or perhaps a local community group that the organisation is linked with.

Registration for the event is now open on www.waterfordvikingmarathon.com. Every participant will receive a Race Pack, including a brand-new finisher t-shirt and WVM commemorative medal.

For further information visit www.waterfordvikingmarathon.com or follow us on our social channels Facebook, Instagram & Twitter. #VirtualWVM #2021

Register today at www.waterfordvikingmarathon.com and join the virtual marathon in a non-virtual way.

Waterford Viking Marathon is proudly supported by WLR FM, Waterford City & County Council, House of Waterford Crystal, Eirgen Pharma, Teva and DG Foods.

WIT PhD studentThe two institutes of the Technological University of South East Ireland (TUSEI) consortium have announced details of a €4.5million cross-institutional PhD scholarship initiative described as “a game changer for research in the south east region” and a key element in the development process towards TUSEI.

Institute of Technology Carlow and Waterford Institute of Technology are to collaborate on a funded programme of 48 PhD scholarships that will see both institutes attract and mentor leading national and international academics in areas such as artificial intelligence, applied engineering and bio-environmental science with the objective of transforming the number of PhD graduates and research and development output in the region.    

The initiative effectively combines the research arms of WIT and IT Carlow, reflecting the future scope and opportunities the new technological university will bring to the south east.

The scholarships have been designed to encapsulate the requirements of impactful research across a broad spectrum of disciplines and industries, with programmes in such areas as applied engineering, artificial intelligence, bioenvironmental science, education and technology, and health and rehabilitation.

An initial pilot scheme will provide funding for 14 PhD scholarships with each awardee supervised by a senior academic from IT Carlow and WIT, reflecting the initiative’s cross-institutional nature.

Each scholarship is valued at €94,000 over the 4 year period representing a total fund of €784,000. It is anticipated that the pilot scheme will be followed by a further 34 scholarships across both institutes between now and the proposed TUSEI designation day (1 January, 2022).

Speaking about the initiative, Vice-President for Research, Innovation & Graduate Studies at WIT, Dr Mark White said, “TUSEI will transform access to education and research. The culture of innovation stems from interdisciplinarity, the breaking down of traditional academic and research siloes to address the needs of society, identifying problems that need solutions as well as opportunities to address quality of life issues. We continue to focus and develop our research strengths whilst constantly building capacity, competence and capability in new and evolving fields of research through scholarships initiatives such as these.”

Mr Declan Doyle, Vice-President for Development & Research, Institute of Technology Carlow commented, “This collaborative PhD scholarship initiative with WIT is a game changer for research in the south-east region. We intend to attract the best postgraduate students from within and outside Ireland, leading to outstanding research output from the south east. TUSEI will transform the entire region and this initiative is the start of what one can expect from the new technological university when, as just one example, its research capacities come together for the benefit of economic and societal advancement.”

Further information on the PhD scholarship initiative can be found at www.tusei.ie

LEO Enterprise Week 2021Hundreds of budding entrepreneurs and business owners in Waterford have taken part in online events this week, marking Local Enterprise Week (March 1st – 5th), which has been hailed as a “success” by Local Enterprise Office Waterford.

An annual initiative from the 31 Local Enterprise Offices around the country, more than 270 events took place online under the theme of ‘Making It Happen’ attracting over 10,700 bookings nationally.

Supported by Waterford City and County Council and Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Office Waterford hosted four events for local businesses this week, in addition to ten Spotlight events which were open to businesses across the country.

Speaking on the last day of Local Enterprise Week, Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Waterford said, “We moved all of our events for Local Enterprise Week online for the first time, making them as accessible as possible for local businesses. It’s been a very successful week as we had over 300 start-ups and businesses from the county registered for our events to learn about areas like the green economy, becoming more competitive and leaner, exploring new opportunities online, as well as finding out about the vision for Waterford, as a place of innovation and enterprise.”

He added, “I’d like to thank all the companies that joined us online this week and to our team here in Local Enterprise Office Waterford for rolling out such an impressive programme of events. I’d also like to give a special word of thanks to all the contributors, speakers and facilitators who shared their experiences, challenges and insights at every event.”

Highlights from the week included Food, The Waterford Way Huddle; the Social Media Mash-Up 2.0; a Craft Industry virtual workshop and “Waterford, A Vision for the Future - A place of Innovation and Enterprise”, which was facilitated by Zara King of Virgin Media News.

An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar T.D. officially opened the first Spotlight event for Local Enterprise Week and launched the new Green for Micro Programme on Monday (March 1st), which helps small businesses decarbonise and become more sustainable. The Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy T.D. spoke at another Spotlight event on the opening day, which focused on developing leadership and resilience.

At the final Spotlight event for Local Enterprise Week on Friday (March 5th), the Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English T.D. focused on how small businesses could gain a digital advantage through the Trading Online Voucher Scheme.

Further training programmes and events for Waterford businesses are taking place throughout March and details can be found at LocalEnterprise.ie/Waterford

TSSG Dr Sasitharan BalasubramaniamLife-altering brain implant will sense and treat impending seizures

A group of Waterford-based researchers are leading a ground-breaking new project that has been awarded €4.4 million in EU funding to develop a ‘living brain implant’ that senses and treats an impending epilepsy seizure.

The ‘PRIME’ project team, based at Waterford Institute of Technology’s Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG), will develop an innovative diagnostic-therapeutic treatment for people with epilepsy and other neurological diseases, by implanting engineered biological cells in the brain that will act as bio-computers to treat and suppress impending seizures.

‘PRIME’ will see the Waterford team collaborate with six other partners, including FutureNeuro, the SFI Research Centre for chronic and rare neurological disease hosted at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences. The project was awarded funding of €4.4m under the EU’s Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme, making it the first ever FET programme project awarded to an Irish Institute of Technology.

Winning this funding is a significant result for TSSG and will allow the PRIME research team, which is made up of Dr. Sasitharan Balasubramaniam, Dr. Deirdre Kilbane, Frances Cleary and Dr. Hamdan Awan, along with consortium members, to build on their expertise in molecular communications and computing by applying it to future generation bio-implantables. The FET programme, funded under the EU’s research and innovation initiative, Horizon 2020, invests in transformative research and innovation with a high potential impact on technology to benefit our economy and society.

The Waterford-based research aims to provide a diagnostic-therapeutic treatment for epilepsy and other neurological diseases by developing technology that could suppress chronic and recurring seizures, allowing people with epilepsy to perform jobs that some are currently restricted from doing, such as operating machinery, driving a car, or working near open water or at heights.

During the four-year project, which commenced on 1st February, the research team will capitalise on a significant breakthrough discovery by FutureNeuro collaborators Professor Jochen Prehn and Professor David Henshall, who discovered that increases in transfer RNA (tRNA) fragments – a type of molecule found in the blood of epilepsy sufferers - precede seizure onset in some patients. By understanding the role of tRNA in predicting seizure onset, the multidisciplinary team will aim to develop a biological brain implant that will detect spikes in tRNA and then respond with a seizure-suppressing treatment.

Unlike previous implanted devices to treat neurological diseases, which offered ways to interrupt seizures in drug-resistant epilepsy patients only after they began, this pioneering treatment developed at TSSG holds the potential to transform the lives of people with epilepsy, to the point where they won’t even be aware that they were in danger of having a seizure.

Use of engineered biological cells in the revolutionary technology means the implanted device won’t have any electronic-based components that require an energy supply, as was often the case with earlier brain implants made from non-organic material. The implants to be developed by the PRIME team can also be personalised, using Artificial Intelligence, to accommodate the different types and levels of seizures experienced by individual epilepsy patients.

Dr. Sasitharan Balasubramaniam, Director of Research in TSSG, FutureNeuro investigator and PRIME project co-ordinator said:

“The initial focus of the research team will be the detection and treatment of epilepsy, though the project does offer the potential to also treat other neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s Disease and also certain types of cancer, going forward.”

The multi-disciplinary project will see the Waterford team join forces with researchers at FutureNeuro in RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, the University of Ferrara in Italy, the University of Aarhus in Denmark, Tampere University in Finland and private companies EPOS-Iasis Research and Development Ltd in Cyprus and Omiics AS in Denmark.

Prof David Henshall, Director of FutureNeuro and Professor of Molecular Physiology and Neuroscience at the RCSI, said:

“The PRIME project represents the very best of FutureNeuro research, taking a discovery in patients and working with world-leading multi-disciplinary teams in Ireland and abroad to develop what could be a transformative new technology to provide better seizures control."

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