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Ulster Success at 25k Innovation Awards

28 September 2012

Two University of Ulster teams are celebrating today after scooping prizes at this year’s prestigious 25k innovation award ceremony.

FireSERT technologies won in the Hi-Tech category for their Fire-Blast Protection system, while I-Innovations captured the DigitalMedia award for their non-invasive sensor device that can detect incontinence within adult diapers used in care homes.

The awards were presented last night at a packed VIP gala ceremony in the iconic Titanic Belfast building, next to Northern Ireland Science Park in the city’s Titanic Quarter.

Led by Professor Faris Ali, FireSERT Technologies aims to provide superior safety, protection and security for people and assets, by offering an innovative Fire-Blast Protection system that is uniquely designed to provide dual protection against blasts and fires at a tenth of the cost of conventional, competing systems.

“The system can be used for military, industrial and civil applications and uses unique concrete panels which provide a superior “panel thickness/blast resistance” ratio as compared to existing concrete panels, resulting in significant reduction of the panel thickness to resist blast forces,” said Professor Ali.

Digital media winner I-Innovations, based at the Jordanstown campus, is developing a patentable,non-invasive sensor device that can detect incontinence within an adult diaper, and wirelessly communicate that information to a smartphone or tablet.

Project leader John Kelly said: “The device will provide help for busy care staff, assurance for the relatives, and importantly improve the level of care for residents, which will have great benefits for business owners trying to attract new residents to their facilities.“

Steve Orr, Director of NISP CONNECT, congratulated the winners: “The £25K Award offers a showcase for regional research talent to display world-class innovations as well as providing a valuable training and development process as they move beyond the initial stages of business development.

“NISP CONNECT programmes, which are designed to inspire, encourage and nurture local technology entrepreneurs during conception, growth and improvement stages, continue that process to help them reach their goals.”

Representing the awards' sponsor, Ciaran McGivern, Head of Business Banking Northern Ireland, Bank of Ireland UK, added: “Developing innovative ideas that have market potential is at the core of Northern Ireland’s mission to create a more vibrant private sector.

“If we are to make this mission a reality we not only need academia and industry to collaborate but we need commerciality to be part of the equation - to ensure that ideas with real potential can be developed into success stories.”

Four other University of Ulster innovation teams were among the 25k Award finalists:

IdentiGait: a patent-pending software solution for non-invasive identification of individuals using gait biometrics. Gait identification is an emerging biometric surveillance data solution used for identification of individuals from CCTVfootage, with applications in high-security civilian or military facilities and monitoring potential suspects of crime or terrorism.

GIP Therapeutics: a novel peptide therapeutic aimed at treating the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

Graphene International: aims to produce high quality graphene nanosheets on an industrial scale using an innovative process that is simple, cost effective and environmentally friendly.

SaSSI: this is a connected health project which provides an innovative web-based, integratedmobile service solution for digital observations at the patient beside.

See images from the gala event at