Innovation in CREST

Research for Irish Companies

There are several research funding opportunities available for Irish companies, most notably Innovation Partnerships.

The Innovation Partnership programme run by Enterprise Ireland (EI) offers up to 80% of the research cost to companies who collaborate in research with a university or institute of technology. Risk – what the project will yield – is shared by the company, the college and Enterprise Ireland. The programme allows for a company to take bigger explorative risks in R&D while having control the project scope. Importantly, ownership of intellectual property is negotiated at the outset.

A company might alternatively consider paying for the research entirely in order to own the IP at the end, but the costs involved can be prohibitive, and the company is entirely responsible for the project. The Innovation Voucher scheme, another form of research funding from EI, provides companies with €5,000 to spend on research in approved centres. 

The cost of an Innovation Partnership to the company is variable and depends on what the type of research is involved – industrial research or fundamental research, or collaborative or developmental. When preparing an application for the Innovation Partnership programme, a project is priced by breaking it down into the steps needed to solve the problem. Elements the company can do in-house can be treated as benefit in kind.

One of the major advantages for companies is that there is less onus on the company to ‘project manage’ because the CREST research team is responsible for it. The team in CREST will write the proposal, cost it for the budget and win the project by virtue of their track record and defend the proposal if it is queried by EI's Industrial Research Commercialisation Committee . The centre has to hire and manage the staff and deal with the IP arrangements. 

“The CREST Centre is experienced in writing IP submissions and knows what Enterprise Ireland requires from such collaboration. That can be a big deal for a company that hasn’t been to EI before. They don’t see the organisation and they are distant from it.”

CREST has successfully transferred sixteen licenses from previous projects, some of which has enabled Irish manufacturers to commence exporting their products.


Tax Credits

Of particular interest are the tax credits that companies can avail of while engaging in research


Technology Transfer

To date DIT has agreed 16 licences exploiting CREST know how. The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) in DIT is Hothouse which draws in entrepreneurial and academic talent, ignites creativity and provides a dynamic environment to fast-track businesses and technologies to commercial success. 

Details of CREST technologies available for licensing include:



"We have found Crest to be very professional and supportive in all our dealing. We will use and recommend Crest to our clients."

        Peter Mc Namara (PMAC Ltd)


Case Study

Glan-Surf is a one and a half-year Innovation Partnership project involving the development of durable antimicrobial coatings for hard surfaces in healthcare environments with Irish companies. Patients who acquire an infection in hospital are 7.1 times more likely than uninfected patients to die in hospital and the HSE have calculated that ca. 25,000 patients may contract Hospital Acquired Infections annually in Ireland at a cost of over €233 million, so controlling or eliminating infection reservoirs on contact surfaces carries enormous benefits. During the Glan-Surf project, CREST will assist the partner companies in developing and testing innovative antimicrobial coatings and in transferring the technology into a commercial manufacturing environment, enabling Irish companies to address this important market. A group o f nine visitors from SmartGlass International, led by Mr. John Browne, Managing Director, SGI, participated in a half-day technical discussion, followed by a tour of CREST’s laboratories, including synthesis, coating and analysis facilities.

Pictured are visitors from SGI, including John Browne ,MD, SGI(3rd left), Stephen Weir, R&D, SGI (right), with CREST Director and Glan-Surf Principal Investigator Dr John Colreavy (left), CREST senior R&D Manager and Glan-Surf project manager Dr Suresh Pillai (2nd left), and Sol-Gel Technologist Dr Joanna Carroll, (Front).