Open Labs is a pioneering Research and Development outreach initiative from TU Dublin Innovation and has supported over 150 start-ups and SMEs to develop new products and services since it was established in 2018. During that time, it has generated over €1.5m in research income and has provided industry sectors that are critical to the Irish economy with access to over 600 researchers and to high-tech facilities to support early-stage research and innovation.

Open Labs is TU Dublin's market focused initiative to lower the barrier for industry engagement, thereby opening up the world leading facilities and expertise to companies. Open Labs assists companies working in or interested in Food Innovation, Product Prototyping, Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality, Innovative Surface Coatings, Cyber Security, Timber Technology, Sustainable Infrastructure and Data Analysis for Business / Artificial Intelligence. Open Labs provides excellent results delivered at the pace and quality expected by industry.

The Open Labs process is designed to be business-friendly, with each SME assigned a dedicated case manager to assist them throughout. The Open Labs case manager works with a company to identify and prioritise their immediate innovation needs, connecting them with suitable research expertise and equipment and determining which funding option is most appropriate - state, private or collaborative options. For example, a smaller project may be well suited to an Innovation Voucher from Enterprise Ireland, which will fund product development up to €5,000, allowing the company to retain any intellectual property. A larger enterprise may need to raise capital in other ways, such as the InterTradeIreland FUSION programme.

Open Labs not only enables SMEs to explore or expand its Research and Development activity, but it also fulfils a key ambition of the University to be close to the pulse of a thriving, sustainable economy. Open Labs demonstrates the talent and real-world problem-solving skills of TU Dublin researchers working across the University, allowing us to share competencies, join ideas, create synergies and unearth new opportunities. Through the continued success of Open Labs, the University intends to deepen our partnerships with industry maximising our research capabilities in high-tech sectors, which are key to establishing Ireland as a Global Innovation Leader while creating high-value jobs and delivering pioneering products of enduring societal impact. 

Professor Brian O’Neill, Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation Services at TU Dublin


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