24 researchers have today completed the third UCD Commercialisation Bootcamp, delivered over the last five weeks at NovaUCD, the centre for new ventures and entrepreneurs.
The participants on the this bootcamp, represented a total of 14 potential commercial opportunities, emerging from research programmes currently taking place at UCD and the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), a recognised college of UCD.
Among the participants were Clare Davidson and Eleanor Dunn, PhD students in the UCD School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering under the supervision of Dr Madeleine Lowery. They took part on the bootcamp to further develop commercial ideas focused on improving Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease.
Despite the extensive successes of DBS for treating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease it is still, in some cases, associated with significant side effects and a progressive loss of benefit. Furthermore, the short battery life of the implanted device requires surgical intervention to exchange it every three to four years.
One of the most common causes of ineffective DBS is poor programming of the electrical stimulus parameters, in relation to pulse amplitude, frequency and duration. The current clinical practice for programming devices is a pragmatic trial and error approach.
As part of their PhD studies Davidson and Dunn, with colleagues, are developing mathematical methods that will help clinicians to select the optimum electrical stimulation parameters for each patient, based on their specific Parkinson’s symptoms.
In addition, they are developing a built-in method of operation which reduces device battery consumption, thus extending the period of device use before surgery is required.
This new solution will be an improvement of current models based on time, cost and clinical outcome.
On completion of the bootcamp participants have developed a solid awareness of what it takes to build a commercialisation plan around their research outputs. To be eligible to take part on the bootcamp participants need to have a specific piece of research or technology which they believe is suitable for commercialisation and which can benefit from the support provided by taking part on the bootcamp.
Speaking at the end of the third bootcamp, Brendan Cremen, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation said: “By participating on the UCD Commercialisation Bootcamp researchers gain an insight into key commercialisation issues such as; clearly identifying the market problem or need and how their proposed solution or technological innovation solves this problem; commercial exploitation routes; who do they need on their team and what are their funding requirements.”
He added: “Once again there was a strong demand to participate on this bootcamp which indicates the high-level of interest of UCD and NCAD researchers in the commercialisation process and the translation of their research outputs into products and services which can impact the economy and society. I am delighted to announce that we plan on running another Bootcamp at NovaUCD later this year.”
A total of 78 UCD and NCAD researchers have now completed UCD Commercialisation Bootcamps.