University Bridge Fund

Kastus wins Overall Prize at Irish Times Innovation Awards

Kastus has won this year’s Irish Times overall innovation of the year award. The innovation has potential applications in areas such as consumer electronics (touch screens, keyboards and smartphones), the food industry, the healthcare sector and the automotive, air and marine industries. Kastus also picked up the life science and healthcare category award sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland. 

Teenage entrepreneurs Kate (17) and Annie (15) Madden won the closely fought New Frontiers category, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, with their business. In just two years, the horse-mad sisters have converted a BT Young Scientist project into a business involving eight people, with exports to 12 countries over four continents. Their success has caught the eye of several international racehorse trainers and showjumpers along the way.

When Limerick County Council told Jack O’Connor he was no longer permitted to spread chicken manure as fertiliser, a business was born: BHSL, the winner of the agri-food category, sponsored by Teagasc, has developed a unique, patent-protected system to convert poultry manure into a fuel for on-farm energy generation.

Environmental issue

Waste water treatment remains a major environmental issue and this year’s winner of the energy and environment category has turned a liability into an asset by converting it to energy. Galway’s NVP Energy’s technology cleans the waste water and creates gas for use in combined heat and power systems and other applications.

The core problem in the film industry, according to Usheru co-founder Ollie Fegan, is that production studios are paying twice as much on marketing as they do on making films. This year’s winner of the UCD Smurfit School-sponsored IT and telecommunications category, the firm has developed an app-based system to significantly reduce costs while more closely connecting cinemas and studios to their customers.