The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is a €500 million fund established under Project Ireland 2040 and is run by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation with administrative support from Enterprise Ireland. Under this fund a number of projects were approved for funding with many led by start-ups and SME’s. The successful projects span a variety of industries including, health, medical, pharmaceutical, ICT, manufacturing and food sectors in Ireland. The successful projects will receive over €75 million in funding from 2019 to 2021. The projects can use the funding to develop and deploy their disruptive innovative technologies on a commercial basis. The fund is a key part of the Government’s “Future Jobs” initiative. It is one of the first funds of its type in the world and is aimed at tackling national and global challenges to secure the jobs of the future. The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund was developed to encourage the development of innovative solutions and disruptive technologies that have the potential to significantly alter markets and their functioning and shape the way that businesses operate.
CAPPA received funding for their project with Hooke Bio focusing on a high throughput microfluidic drug screening platform. CAPPA is part of the consortium for this project including Hooke Bio, Cork Institute of Technology and National University of Ireland Galway. The Hooke Bio platform is a disruptive technology that will allow pharmaceutical companies and clinicians to develop more accurate and responsive disease models for drug testing and may be expanded to testing of existing therapies on individual patient’s disease samples. This research area predominately focuses on health and wellbeing and focuses on diagnostics and therapeutics technologies. CAPPA will be focusing on developing advanced optics for the system, along with their colleagues in National University of Ireland Galway. The consortium was awarded €1.9 million in funding, with just over €0.5 million being awarded to CAPPA for the period 2019 to 2021.
The applications for the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund involved a high degree of collaboration, with many bids for funding involving multiple partners. The high volume of applications means that this first call was a very competitive process and showed significant appetite for projects seeking to develop and deploy disruptive technologies in Ireland. The call was very competitive with over 300 applications made under the first round from well-established researchers and companies operating within Ireland. CAPPA was one of the 27 successful projects to receive funding. The successful projects have made it through a highly competitive process involving screening by a panel of international experts. CAPPA was one of 16 companies who were awarded funding in the health and wellbeing sector and one out of 5 focusing on diagnostics and therapeutics technologies. CAPPA’s Dr Liam Lewis and Dr Milosz Pryjalgowski were heavily involved in the project from the offset. Dr Liam Lewis said: “We are delighted to receive this funding to continue to work with Hooke Bio on the development of their new platform.”