Waterford putting INNOVATION on the map in WIT’s West Campus

L - R: Jamie Buckett, MEDITE SMARTPLY; Prof. Willie Donnelly, WIT; Dr. Aisling O'Neill, Arclabs Research and Innovation Centre; Dr. Niall OReilly, PMBRC; Dr. Rory Rice, MEDITE SMARTPLY. Picture: Patrick Browne

Close to the N25/M9 motorway exit is Waterford’s answer to a Hollywood sign. The new installation of the 6ft letters spelling out the word ‘INNOVATION’ is located in WIT’s West Campus just above the Waterford Greenway carpark.

The initiative was led by Dr. Aisling O’Neill, Manager of Arclabs Research and  Innovation Centre, situated just over the brow of the hill in the picturesque Carriganore, overlooking the river Suir.

WIT Arena and the Waterford Greenway welcomes hundreds of visitors each week and we wanted to encourage these visitors to consider what was over the hill. The innovative nature of WIT’s West Campus is inspiring and we hope this new focal point piques peoples interest into our homegrown companies and research breakthroughs.” Aisling explains.

The West Campus in Carriganore is a hub for world class research and innovation across a number of domains. The campus is home to RTE South East studio, WIT Arena, Nutritional Research Centre Ireland (NRCI), Arclabs Research and Innovation Centre, Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG), RIKON, National Biodiversity Data Centre and Centre for Enterprise Development and Regional Economy (CEDRE).

The sign is more than just a location point for visitors; it is a symbol of the collaborative landscape of business support which exists in Waterford.  When the search began to source a long lasting material that would require little to low maintenance it was a fortuitous to discover that local company MEDITE SMARTPLY, a market leading manufacturer of sustainable timber construction panels located in Waterford and Clonmel, had such a material.  MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME is a high performance, wood based panel which demonstrates outstanding durability and dimensional stability in the most challenging exterior environments.  The product uses a moisture stable wood and durable resin and is designed to survive over 50 years of Irish weather.

The sign was constructed and erected by DFL Construction using this product and was supported by Jamie Buckett and Peter Judge of MEDITE SMARTPLY. “Over the years, WIT has been a tremendous support to our business providing talented graduates and state of the art research facilities.  We are delighted to showcase the capability of our most recent advancement in MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME for such a landmark symbol of our collaborative community.”  Dr. Rory Rice, R&D Manager MEDITE SMARTPLY.

MEDITE SMARTPLY have collaborated with PMBRC, a research centre in WIT, for over 8 years on the development of various innovative products including MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME . The Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway arm of PMBRC works closely with industry to support innovation solutions to new or existing products. “We would like to thank MEDITE SMARTPLY for helping us to realise our vision and kindly sponsoring the material for the INNOVATION sign. Dr. Rory Rice and Jamie Buckett from the R&D team were exceptional and this initiative wouldn’t have been possible without their support.” Dr. Aisling O’Neill continues.

The vision of WIT’s research community is to position Waterford as Ireland’s Innovation Capital™. The Institute has welcomed a number of positives amidst the hard times we are currently living in regarding research wins. 2020 alone has seen WIT being positioned as the top IoT for European research funding, second of all in ICT European research funding and welcomed Enterprise Ireland funding for the development of six new industry focused labs in SEAM, PMBRC and TSSG amongst many other research successes. 

On your next visit to the Waterford Greenway in Carriganore stop by the sign, share it on Twitter using the hashtag #WITInnovation