UCD professor wins Entrepreneur of the Year

Shauna Burdis

UCD's Eoin Casey was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year at Science Foundation Ireland Awards 2018.

UCD professor and researcher Eoin Casey was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year at Science Foundation Ireland Awards 2018.

Professor Eoin Casey, the Head of UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering was “delighted to accept the 2018 SFI Entrepreneur of the Year Award” on November 12th at the SFI Science Summit.

The awards ceremony rewards Ireland’s contributions in the field of science, technology and engineering.

Over 350 members of the Irish research community were present at the event. The recipients of the SFI awards are among Ireland’s top researchers in their fields. The Science Summit honour those who have made significant breakthroughs in their areas of work.

Casey is a principal investigator at the Beacon SFI-funded Research Centre. He spent one year as a research assistant in the Bioprocess Engineering research group in Vienna, and was appointed as a UCD Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering lecturer in 2002. He is currently head of the school.

As a leading researcher in water treatment process, Casey developed a new technique for treating rainwater waste which is nearly 75 per cent more energy efficient than current methods used. In UCD, Casey leads a large research group that focus on the exploitation and control of bacteria biofilms in water treatment process.

According to Casey, receiving the award was a great encouragement for his team to be recognised for the work they had done.

“I would like to acknowledge the excellent and innovative work by the researchers in my group over the years and this Award helps showcases that curiosity-driven research can, in the long term, have a tangible impact on society,” said Casey.

In 2013, Casey co-founded the UCD spin-out company OxyMem with Dr Eoin Syron and Wayne Byrne. It is involved in 30 major water treatment projects worldwide and employs a staff of 25 people.

Funding enabled OxyMem to establish a base in Athlone, Co. Westmeath, where it completed trials of its technology.

In regards to the company’s achievement, Casey recognised the assistance of the SFI, stating “the commercialisation of OxyMem technology would not have happened without the support of SFI funding research in my laboratory.”

Other awards presented at the ceremony included, Researcher of the Year, SFI Early Career Researcher of the Year, SFI Industry Partnership Award, SFI Best International Engagement Award, SFI Outstanding Contribution to STEM Communication, SFI Best Reported Impact and SFI Research Image of the Year.

Casey and his team presented their advanced technology at the WaterEnergyNEXUS conference in Salerno, Italy last week.

The conference provided an international platform for key topics on water and environmental issues, to be discussed through presentations with natural based solutions and advanced technologies. With the global demand for food, energy and water beginning to rise, natural resources are becoming scarce.

Casey’s research was supported and funded by the SFI, the European Research Council, Irish Research Council, Horizon 2020, Enterprise Ireland and the Industry.

Shauna Burdis

Image credit: Jamie McMahon