Minister launches Science2Business programme for ESOF2012

23 May 2012: Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD, today announced the launch of the Science-2-Business programme, which will take place at the Euroscience Open Forum 2012 (ESOF) in Dublin in July.  The programme will bring leading academics and members of the business community together to illustrate how to transform publicly-funded research into successful companies.


Professor Tom Cooney, DIT and Chair of Science2Business; Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD; and Dr. Lisa Amini, Director of IBM Research Ireland

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) is the lead partner in the Science-2-Business programme, which is chaired by Professor Tom Cooney, College of Business, DIT. 

Commenting at the launch, Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD, said,

“ESOF 2012 shows the world that Ireland is open for business and serious about science.  We are uniquely placed to highlight the intersection of science and business. Leading lights across the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) sector are choosing to locate in Ireland.  This is due to a combination of the world class research taking place across all academic institutions, a positive business environment and an excellent talent pool.” 

“The Science-2-Business Programme we are launching today is very closely linked to the Government objective of transforming the outputs of publicly-funded research into successful business innovations and outcomes. Ireland’s continued investment in STI will position us to exploit the opportunities of the future in areas such as energy, food, health, ICT and international trade and services.”

The Science-2-Business programme is an integral stream of ESOF 2012, Europe’s largest science event, which takes place in the Convention Centre Dublin from 11th – 15th July 2012. Over 5,000 researchers, policy-makers and business people will attend.  Speaking at the launch, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland, said,

Last year, we saw an increase in the number of researchers and businesses collaborating to conduct joint research, this is an extremely positive shift and one which we need to encourage and motivate. Essentially, the Irish research community is acting as the innovation engine for industry and is one of the main reasons why companies decide to locate in Ireland.

We need to continue to build upon this in order to stimulate further economic growth through opportunities with leading global companies, as well as creating new companies by taking research from the lab to commercialisation.  In this respect, SFI’s focus on research excellence with impact, which has helped maintain our top-twenty placing in scientific global rankings, is critical for Ireland to continue to build an effective research base that will enhance our competitiveness and contribute to economic development,” Professor Ferguson concluded.

Professor Thomas Cooney , chair of The Science-2-Business Programme is also the current President of the International Council for Small Business. Commenting on the programme, Professor Cooney said,

Governments across the globe believe that innovative entrepreneurship offers the greatest potential for future economic growth and the ESOF 2012 Science-2-Business programme will enable delegates of all backgrounds to gather information and make valuable contacts no matter where they are currently located on their entrepreneurial journey.”


Professor Tom Cooney, DIT and Chair of Science2Business; Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD; Dr. Lisa Amini, Director of IBM Research Ireland; and Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, SFI

A number of key highlights from the programme include:

  • A Keynote Address by Dr. Pearse Lyons, Founder and President of Alltech, about how he took $10,000 and transformed it into a Billion-Dollar Business operating in over 120 countries, over 30 years, without recourse to venture capitalists or outside investors, by always maintaining primacy in science;
  • A workshop on female researchers and entrepreneurship which aims to demonstrate how they can ensure that their research results will not end up on shelves but instead are brought through the process of commercialisation.  The workshop will address the issue of the low number of start-ups from university through female entrepreneurs which lies between 0% and 15%, despite the fact that over 50% of university graduates in Europe are female;
  • The Marketplace Exhibition which will provide a nexus for the different elements of the business start-up ecosystem: VC, advisory services (legal, IP), public development agencies etc. This will provide researchers, both those with just a general curiosity about commercialisation, as well as those with serious intent, to obtain expert advice and valuable contacts to assist them on their journey. The Marketplace will also incorporate a Careers Expo. This will enable researchers, of all ages and levels of experience, to meet and engage with leading international employers from the biomedical and engineering sectors.
  • A competition for creative minds from across the world to showcase their innovation as part of the Invention Convention. The competition welcomes submissions for innovative inventions and the top 15 shortlisted will pitch their idea in 3 minute presentations to a panel of judges.

Dr. Lisa Amini, Distinguished Engineer and the Director of IBM Research Ireland, will be one of the speakers at ESOF 2012 as part of the Science-2-Business Programme.  Commenting in advance of the conference, Dr Amini said,

Science and Technology will play a vital role in solving the challenges of the future.  It is imperative that the academic community and business world work together to solve these problems.  For example, one of IBM Research’s 11 global labs is based in Ireland and we work with organisations like Dublin City Council on making data available to help tackle issues like transportation problems.  I am looking forward to discussing these topics at ESOF 2012 as part of the China & Europe Partnership Symposium, which will examine the concept of the City of the Future.”

The schedule for the entire Science-2-Business Programme can be found at:

For further information about the Euroscience Open Forum 2012, please visit

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