GMIT iHubs


iHubs Newsletter November 2021

What a Difference A Year Makes

Time passes very quickly as we now approach the end of 2021. Unfortunately, we are still
dealing with Covid-19 and managing its restrictions which makes day to day life challenging 
for all. In this context I am delighted to say that we are at full occupancy in the new extended
iHub almost one year to the day after building handover. Our new extension and Medical Imaging
Suite was officially opened on 5th Nov which was a very proud day for GMIT, the iHub Team and 
the MET Centre team. 
We have a number of important updates in our November Newsletter and I hope you enjoy it.

Stay safe, George.

New Extension To GMIT iHub And Medical Imaging Suite Formally Opened

An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar formally opened the new extension to GMIT’s Enterprise Ireland funded Innovation Hub (iHub) and new Medical Imaging Suite at the Galway (Dublin Road) campus, Friday 5th November 2021.

Mr Varadkar was welcomed to the campus by GMIT President Dr Orla Flynn, the Mayor of Galway City Councillor Colette Connolly, and GMIT VP Research & Innovation Dr Rick Officer, together with invited guests from the business community and MedTech industry.

GMIT’s iHub has doubled in size to 2,400 m2, accommodating hi-tech incubation space for eleven dedicated MedTech R&D units; seven incubation units for start-ups in the Software, Digital Tech, Connected Health sectors; a co-working space; an events space; social hubs and breakout meeting and networking areas. It provides a dedicated entrepreneur hub space for GMIT researchers, staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students and industry to work collaboratively on the creation and development of innovative ideas for new products and services that can compete on a global scale. It supports Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme and the dedicated women’s entrepreneurship EMPOWER programme implemented in collaboration with CUA partners IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT and funded by the European Social Fund as part of the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning.

Inside the building is GMIT’s new Medical Imaging Suite operated by the Enterprise Ireland Medical and Engineering Technology Gateway (MET). Representing a significant investment by Enterprise Ireland, and supported by GMIT, the new Philips Azurion 7 M20 fluoroscope provides state of the art imaging capabilities to industry, research and academic partners. This facility, providing 3D augmented digital fluoroscopy, can be used for device demonstration, evaluation and testing and will also be used to provide training on new technologies and devices for clinicians and staff.

Commenting on the new iHub and Medical Imaging Suite, Minister Leo Varadkar says: “This expansion is a real boost for both current and future entrepreneurs in Galway and the surrounding area. This new space will provide start-ups with the space and network to develop new ideas and collaborate with industry and their peers. I think it’s a really exciting opportunity and I look forward to hearing about the success of companies who originated from here in the future.”

“These last two years have highlighted the importance and value of having such a thriving MedTech sector in Ireland. We want to grow the industry further here and are providing the investment and infrastructure to make it happen. This new Medical Imaging Suite is a state of the art piece of equipment and will be a great resource for researchers and industry alike.”

“I wish GMIT the very best of luck with this expansion and to any entrepreneurs with an idea in the MedTech space, this facility and the expert network around it is here for you. Take a chance on your idea and the Government will back you.”

Dr Rick Officer, GMIT VP Research and Innovation, says: “The official opening of GMIT’s stunning iHub extension and the Medical Imaging Suite is a really proud day for GMIT. It culminates years of hard work by many staff in GMIT, which has been well recognised by Enterprise Ireland’s generous support. These superb new facilities demonstrate GMIT’s ongoing commitment to our institutional mission of education, research, and innovation. The impact of these investments for the people and enterprises we support will be phenomenal.”

Stephen Creaner, Executive Director, Enterprise Ireland, says: “Surrounded by the formidable multinational medical device sector in Galway, the GMIT iHub plays a key role in supporting the increasing number of Irish-owned MedTech companies set up by local MedTech professionals and by third-level researchers funded under the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund and BioInnovate Programmes.”

George McCourt, Head of Innovation & Enterprise, GMIT, says: “This new extension provides additional expertise & capability for start-ups in the west region to drive regional job creation with a particular focus on export markets. I would like to thank Enterprise Ireland for their iHub extension funding and critical support programmes for our client companies.”

Manager of the Medical Imaging Suite Sharon White says: “MET is an applied research centre, dedicated to supporting Research, Development and Innovation activities in the MedTech, Life Sciences and Engineering sectors. This new facility perfectly complements our existing expertise in medical imaging, anatomical modelling and physiological replication. Additionally, it provides our industry partners with access to facilities not readily available outside of the clinical environment and will serve to drive innovation in the development of new medical devices and technologies.”

For further information on GMIT’s Innovation Hub, visit or for the MET Technology Gateway, see  

At the official opening of the GMIT iHub extension and medical imaging suite on Friday (5 November 2021), L to R: Dr Orla Flynn, President of GMIT, An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, Sharon White, Manager Medical Imaging Suite, MET Gateway, GMIT iHub, George McCourt, GMIT Head of Innovation & Enterprise, Stephen Creaner, Executive Director, Enterprise Ireland. [Photos Mike Shaughnessy].

Student Spinout Company ByoWave improve accessibility to gaming with their customisable controller Proteus

Student graduates Brandon Blacoe from Salthill and Eibhlin O’Riordan from Knocknacarra co-founded Byowave to make accessible and customisable video game controllers for people with disabilities.

The organisation aims to address the exclusion and isolation felt by people with disabilities due to inaccessible controllers. There are an estimated 180 million disabled gamers worldwide who are unable to to play video games due to inaccessible video game controllers.

ByoWaves Eibhlin O’Riordan, Brandon Blacoe and Ronan Murphy

ByoWave's Proteus Controller is the the first fully modular controller that lets users play video games with any OS, Android, Windows or Xbox device.  Each ByoWave controller is made up of a set of electronic cubes that can connect together at any angle. The user connects their cubes together to create whatever shape they want to accommodate their specific disability.

The company has racked up a number of awards recently. In August they were awarded a place on Social Entrepreneurs Ireland’s Impact Awards programme, securing €20,000 in funding. Brandon and the team received Engineers Ireland Innovative Graduate Engineer of the Year Award in September for the work on their Proteus Controller. They also won a JCI Ireland Friendly Business Award for Disability Access.

The company hope to beta test the Proteus Controller later this year. Brandon Blacoe is a GMIT New Frontiers Phase 3 Programme participant.


EMPOWER Programme selected for European Commission Representation in Ireland Diversity Campaign

The European Commission Representation in Ireland are delighted to include a story on the EMPOWER programme in our new diversity campaign ‘Diversity Journal - Stories about the EU and equality and inclusion in Ireland’. EMPOWER participants Joanne Butler from Superfolk and Elaine Kennedy from Hawthorn Skincare along with Maria Staunton (EMPOWER Coordinator) were filmed as part of a series of 1 minute videos to promote the campaign.

Maria Staunton commented ‘we were delighted in EMPOWER to be chosen as part of the social media campaign to promote equality and inclusion and we are looking forward to seeing the end result on social media. Inclusive entrepreneurship policies and programmes are particularly relevant to women who continue to face challenges in the labour market (even more importantly during Covid-19) and are therefore under-represented in entrepreneurship activities’. We at the GMIT iHubs are keen to support more women entering self employment’.

Joanne Butler from Superfolk been interview by One Minute Media

GMIT And Bluewise Marine Sign Strategic Partnership To Support Developments In The Marine And Offshore Renewable Energy Sectors

BlueWise Marine and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) have formed a strategic partnership to collaborate on projects that support the development of innovative scientific solutions for the marine and Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) sectors, utilising national infrastructures and capabilities to support innovation and the commercialisation of novel products and services.

BlueWise Marine, an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Up Company (HPSU) based in the GMIT iHub Galway, specialises in providing infrastructure, project, marketing, advisory and funding support services for marine and offshore renewable energy projects and initiatives. The company will work with academics in GMIT’s Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC) which houses over 70 researchers, including academic staff, post-doctoral and postgraduate researchers who collaborate widely with industry, state agencies and academic partners to conduct applied research that is policy relevant, developing innovative solutions to natural resource management challenges and supporting evidence-based decision making.

BlueWise Marine has identified immediate industry needs within the ORE sector. Presently, MFRC scientists are assisting BlueWise Marine to demonstrate the use of autonomous solutions for surveying seabirds and marine mammals using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), with funding received through an Enterprise Ireland innovation voucher.

Initiatives to support the co-location of habitat restoration (such as biogenic reefs: mussels and native oysters), conservation and aquaculture activities in licensed renewable energy sites and cable routes are also under investigation.

Both teams are co-developing use cases for the use of eDNA molecular-based biodiversity monitoring tools for ORE developments.

John Breslin, Managing Director, BlueWise Marine, says: “Since locating our offices within the GMIT Innovation Hub we have been able to benefit from access to state-of-the art office facilities and co-working spaces and, most importantly, an extensive innovation ecosystem within the wider GMIT campus. We are delighted that this MOU galvanises this collaboration and allows our team to access a broad spectrum of scientific expertise and experience within GMIT and MFRC, to help us to prove and develop novel applications for the marine and ORE sectors.”

Dr Rick Officer, Vice President, Research and Innovation, GMIT, says: “Offshore Renewable Energy is a crucial element of Ireland’s shift towards sustainable, decarbonised energy production. GMIT is committed to playing its part in addressing the challenges of ORE development, and to realising the many opportunities that will arise from it. Our strategic partnership with BlueWise Marine will really accelerate that ambition. Together we will focus our activities on initiatives of high impact and importance.”

About GMIT Marine and Freshwater Research Centre
The MFRC is comprised of a dynamic group of researchers, academics and students working together to enhance the management of marine and freshwater ecosystems worldwide. MFRC research is supported by industry and a diverse range of National and European funding programmes. GMIT has been conducting aquatic research since the 1980s. For further details click here or email MFRC Leader Dr Deirdre Brophy,

About BlueWise Marine
BlueWise Marine specialises in providing infrastructure, project, marketing, advisory and funding support services for marine and offshore renewable energy projects and initiatives, with a vision “to be the partner of choice in the global blue economy, building a better future”. The company works with government, industry and academic clients, in partnership with local communities. For more information on BlueWise Marine, see: or email 

Photo Caption:
L- R: Dr Rick Officer, GMIT Vice President, Research and Innovation, GMIT, Dr Deirdre Brophy, Head of the GMIT Marine and Freshwater Research Centre, John Breslin, Managing Director, BlueWise Marine and George McCourt, GMIT Head of Innovation and Enterprise. [Photo: Andrew Downes.]

CREW in partnership with GMIT launch CREW LABS, a new incubator programme in Creative Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development to target early-stage Creative Digital Entrepreneurs

CREW, Creative Enterprise West, a new collaborative initiative, which supports the Creative Digital enterprise sector in the West of Ireland have announced CREW LABS - an Incubator programme for early-stage start-ups in Creative Digital Industries in partnership with GMIT.

The CREW LAB incubation programme is especially designed to support early-stage Creative Digital entrepreneurs across the creative industries to include those in the TV, Film, Virtual production, Games, Animation, Content Development, Digital Arts, Immersive Technologies, Digital Design and Creative Technology. The Incubation programme will form a critical part of the support ecosystem required by screen industries in the region to further develop the west of Ireland as a hub for creative technology & content creation.

A highly dynamic and industry led programme, the CREW LAB Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development will be delivered remotely through the GTeic and Connected Hubs network to participants located across Ireland with a focus on those entrepreneurs based in the Western Region and along the Atlantic Economic Corridor.

Commencing in January 2022, the course will be delivered over a 4-month period. It is both knowledge and industry led with unique features including bespoke sectoral mentors, hub accommodation and blended learning which will deliver strategic pathways to assist creative ventures, with growth, sustainability and provide creative visionaries with the guidance required to scale. It will include some online class sessions each week along with exclusive industry and networking activities and one to one mentoring.

“This new innovative, incubation programme for creative digital entrepreneurs is a unique mix of blended learning,  industry mentoring, peer-to-peer networking and hub accommodation”, says Dr Paddy Tobin CREW Board Member and Head of School, Design & Creative Arts at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, “This is an exciting time for the creative industries and here at GMIT Cluain Mhuire Campus we’re working in partnership with CREW to develop what will be a centre of excellence incubation hub for creative industries in the west and this programme is another excellent step in achieving our goals for this growing sector”.

Guaranteed to accelerate the start-up process, participation in the CREW LAB Incubation programme will provide strategic assistance in identifying market opportunities for new ventures, developing, and pitching a business model and broadening a community and network in the creative digital industries sector across all disciplines.

Also speaking at the announcement was TG4 Director General, Alan Esslemont, “TG4 are pleased to partner with CREW on the Creative Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development programme which will offer mentorship and support to early-stage companies in the Creative sector. TG4 encourages new talent and creative companies working through the Irish language to get involved, to grow and develop their business and to avail of the Commissioning and Co-Production opportunities with TG4. Growing the creative economy in Ireland’s regions is a key part of TG4’s industry strategy and I congratulate CREW on this exciting new initiative.”

Key partners in the programme are Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), the Western Development Commission (WDC) and Galway Film Centre (GFC) along with TG4, Gréasán na Meán Media Skillnet, Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Office Galway, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Bank of Ireland. Each partner will play a strong and active participatory role in the programme.

Commenting on the new CREW LAB Incubation Programme, Mark Christal, Manager, Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland, says “Enterprise Ireland is delighted to see this collaboration between CREW and GMIT and the launch of the new pilot certificate programme. The programme draws on the unique creative traditions of the region and will provide early-stage companies in the creative digital and technology sector with the skills and insights necessary to develop their ideas and their business acumen as outlined in the Western Region Enterprise Plan.”

Western Development Commission’s, Gillian Buckley, said “The Western Region has a long tradition in creativity and this programme to support to support creative entrepreneurs in the region will build on this tradition and accelerate the success of this sector.”

CREW will support the development of creative digital enterprises, providing highly skilled jobs, distributed across the Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) and Údarás GTEIC hub network, contributing to economic growth in the region. It is a collaboration between GMIT, Western Development Commission (WDC), Galway Film Centre (GFC) with funding from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland.

Registration for the Certificate in Creative Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development is now open, For further information and to register interest go to, and follow social media channels @CREWDigital1 for all the latest updates on CREW Initiatives.

At the programme launch Dr. Paddy Tobin CREW Board Member, Head of School Design and Creative Arts GMIT, Alan Duggan Galway Film Centre, Alan Esslemont Director General of TG4 and at the front is Niamh Costelloe Chief Ececutive Officer of CREW. (Photo Ray Ryan).

GMIT New Frontiers Alums listed in 2021 Sunday Business Post 100 Hot Start Ups

Get the full list of Enterprise Ireland backed 100 Hot Startups here.

GMIT iHubs - Green Building Technology

In the News

GMIT named Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year 2022

GMIT, IT Sligo and LYIT (CUA) to become Atlantic Technological University in Spring 2022

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