Nobel Laureate Visits WIT - Waterford Institute of Technology

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Nobel Laureate Visits WIT - Waterford Institute of Technology

ISSUE 4

SUMMER 05

Nobel

Laureate

Visits

WIT

Research Collaboration

Research Results

Research Support


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RESEARCH MATTERS – ISSUE 4 – S U M M E R 05

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Editorial

Welcome to the final research matters of the 2004/2005 academic

year. It has been another highly successful year of innovative research

activity, industry partnerships and community outreach.

In this research matters we focus on three important themes. The first

is our role within the international research community. We have been

honoured and privileged to welcome the Nobel laureate Professor

Harry Kroto as guest of honour at the Institute's science week.

WIT's researchers continue to increase their leadership role within the

international academic and industrial research community as

exemplified by the visit of Europe's leading Internet Protocol experts

to the Institute.

A new area of academic development for us is Health Science.

This is an area of research, which is of strategic importance both to

the country and to the Institute. The special feature of health science

demonstrates the quality, breadth and depth of the Institute’s

research activity in this area. It also shows the movement towards

trans-disciplinary research required to address the challenges of

modern society.

As a premier academic partner in the region, the Institute’s new

research and innovation centre will act as a catalyst for regional

economic development and a conduit of knowledge and innovation

from academia to industry.

Contents

International experts visit WIT

Nobel Laureate explains importance of scientific research

Leading internet security experts meet at WIT. ......

Health research at the Institute

Research in focus

Publications

Centre for Health Behaviour Research reveals risk factor for obesity in children......

Researching Healthcare and Healthcare Economics ......

Profile of a Researcher: Dr John Wells ......

Using discourse analysis and internet groups to help victims of rape and sexual abuse ......

European forests: source of renewable energy and sustainable rural business ......

ISOL research centre secures major EU-India research and development contract ......

Education for Literacy: unlocking the potential of eLearning ......

eLearning Technologies Research Centre ......

Learning in later life: research in the School of Education......

Corporate reputation not featured on balance sheet ......

Regional innovation and development

Patterns of funding for SMEs in South East ......

Meeting the challenges of the next phase of the tiger economy ......

Establishing best practice for campus incubators ......

Interview with Manager of WIT’s new Innovation Centre ......

Recent WIT publications .....

Dr Willie Donnelly

Head of Research

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RESEARCH MATTERS – ISSUE 4 – S U M M E R 05 3

I N T E R N A T I O N A L E X P E R T S V I S I T W I T

Nobel Laureate Sir Harry Kroto explains

the importance of scientific research

Group of Primary School Students from Waterford pictured after making their Bucky Balls during the workshop with Nobel Laureate Professor Harry Kroto; brought to WIT by

CALMAST.

Most Professional Scientists rarely have the opportunity to

meet a Nobel Prize winner. But on February 4th last, final

Year students in Chemistry had the unique opportunity of

not only meeting but actually working with Nobel

Laureate Sir Harry Kroto.

Professor Kroto won the Nobel Prize in 1996 for Chemistry with

Robert Curl and Richard Smalley for the discovery of a new form

of pure carbon. Diamond and graphite are known forms of pure

carbon and Kroto's team discovered a new form of it - 60 carbon

atoms arranged in a ball. They named this new form of carbon

Buckminster Fullerene, popularly known as ‘Bucky Balls’.

Professor Kroto was in Ireland to address the Royal Irish

Academy and very kindly agreed to visit WIT to conduct a workshop

for nearly two hundred primary school children and to

address the Institute’s science community. Professor Kroto also

had a serious message for his audience. Millions die each year of

malaria. Millions are hungry and do not have clear water.

Leading internet experts meet at WIT

The Telecommunications

Software and Systems

Group (TSSG) at WIT

recently hosted a meeting

of the SEINIT project, a

collaborative research and

development effort

funded by the European

Commission and the Swiss

Government under the 6th

Framework Programme, in

the Information Society

Technologies area.

SEINIT stands for "Security

Expert Initiative", and brings

together specialists in the

security of information and

communications systems from

thirteen partner organisations

in six countries. WIT is a partner in this project through the TSSG.

SEINIT meetings are held quarterly with previous meetings

having taken place in Paris, Berlin, London and Geneva. The

recent meeting had a total of 25 participants, of whom 20 were

visitors from international partner organisations.

Young people with imagination and creativity are needed to find

solutions to these problems. He urged his audience to question

and wonder.

Following the workshop Professor Kroto addressed an audience

of the Institute’s Science students and staff. He explained the

importance of the discovery of Buckminster Fullerenes, which

have become the basic building block of nanotechnology.

In a question and answer session Professor Kroto explained why

he studied Science; what his current research is; and why he

feels that Science and Engineering are so important to humanity.

"A doctor can save some lives, but a Scientist, by developing a

drug can save millions", said the Nobel Laureate.

Professor Kroto was brought to WIT by CALMAST - The Centre

for the Advancement of Learning of Maths Science and

Technology.

For more information contact: Dr Sheila Donegan

(sdonegan@wit.ie) or Eoin Gill (egill@wit.ie)

Pictured after the SEINIT meeting are from left: Miguel Ponce de Leon, TSSG; Ms. Lynn St.

Amour, President of the Internet Society; Jimmy McGibney, WIT; Professor Kieran Byrne,

Director of WIT; Professor Peter Kirstein, University College London; Micheál ó Foghlú,

Director of Research at the TSSG.

Participants included

Professor Peter Kirstein of

University College London,

who was recently awarded a

CBE on the Queen's

Birthday Honours List for his

work on the embryonic

Internet in the 1970s and

1980s and Ms. Lynn St

Amour, President and Chief

Executive of The Internet

Society, the international

body based in Geneva and

Washington, that oversees

Internet standards and

development.

The objectives of the SEINIT project include providing a user-centred

trusted and dependable security framework for the next

generation of Internet services that will work across a wide

variety of equipment and networks.

For more information contact: Jimmy

McGibney (jmcgibney@wit.ie)


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R E S E A R C H M A T T E R S – I S S U E 4 – S U M M E R 05

Centre for Health Behaviour Research

reveals risk factor for obesity in children

High levels of television viewing have

been identified as a risk factor for

childhood obesity. Switch Off - Get

Active was a 16-week primary

prevention project that aimed to

decrease television viewing and

increase physical activity in primary

school children. A secondary aim of

the project was to collect baseline

data on the bodyweight and lifestyle

characteristics of 9-11 year old Irish

children.

Devised and supported by a joint WIT-

Health Services Executive (HSE) South

Eastern Area (formerly the South Eastern

Health Board) research team, Michael

Harrison and Con Burns from WIT, Meabh

McGuinness and Dr Julie Heslin from the

HSE; Switch Off - Get Active produced

some challenging research results.

• Analysis of the baseline data revealed

that 26% of the children were over

weight and a further 8% obese. Over

half of these 9-11 year old children

reported having a television set in the

bedroom.

• Those with a bedroom TV had a higher

bodyweight than those without.

Distinct differences were found

between the children who spent more

than 2 hours and less than 2 hours

daily watching TV and playing

computer games.

• The high TV users had a higher body

weight along with lower levels of

physical activity, aerobic fitness and

self-confidence in their ability to be

active.

• Levels of TV viewing and computer

game usage were excessive in some

cases with 26% of the boys and 9%

of the girls engaging in 4 or more

hours daily.

The teacher-led project involved 312

fourth-class children in nine different

schools in the Carlow-Kilkenny region and

the principle behaviour modification technique

employed involved teaching the

children to self-monitor their activity and

inactivity with the aid of diaries and a

points scoring system. The children were

encouraged to budget their available

points for TV viewing and computer

games but could earn additional points

for such inactive pursuits through

physical activity.

The intervention was successful in

decreasing TV viewing and computer

game usage (-18min daily) and increasing

HEALTH RESEARCH AT WIT

physical activity (+30min daily) in children

in the intervention schools relative to

those in the control schools.

However, these changes were only evident

in the normal weight children.

Although physical activity levels were

generally acceptable with most of the

children engaging in the recommended

one hour daily, some of the findings give

cause for concern.

Data from the project received

considerable attention in the national

print and radio media after its publication

in July 2004. It was subsequently

presented at the All-Island Obesity

Conference in November 2004 and is currently

under peer review after submission

to an international journal.

• The girls were less active

than the boys with

considerably lower levels of

aerobic fitness. Only 22% of

the children walked or

cycled to school with the

majority coming by car.

• In addition, 54% of the

children reported that they

rarely engaged in vigorous

physical activity during

school break time.

• Activity levels were

considerably lower in

February compared to June,

indicating a need for indoor

recreation facilities both in

schools and in the

community.

Formed in 2001 with the aid of a

Technological Sector Research Strand III

grant, the Centre for Health Behaviour

Research in the School of Health

Sciences, formerly School of Humanities,

engages in research and consultancy in

the health promotion, physical activity

and exercise science fields. The centre

currently comprises 12 staff members

and 4 postgraduate students. A further 7

students have successfully completed

postgraduate studies at WIT, while

engaged in centre-related research

projects.

Collaborative links have been

established with a number of partners

including the Health Services Executive

South Eastern Area (formerly the South

Eastern Health Board) with joint projects

undertaken.

The centre is expecting a period of rapid

expansion after an initial phase of

steady growth. This will be helped by a

number of new staff members in WIT

with expertise in the exercise science

and health promotion fields. Links

continue to be forged at home and

abroad. Centre Director, Dr Niamh

Murphy is currently on sabbatical at the

University of Sydney, which houses the

Australian Centre for Health Promotion.

Future collaborative projects are already

being planned. It is envisaged that the

experienced gained in this setting will

facilitate the development of the Centre

for Health Behaviour Research into a

national centre of excellence in the

health promotion field.

Photograph shows from left: Annalouise Muldoon; Bruce Wardrop;

Rosie Donnelly; Elaine Mullan and Michael Harrison.

For more information contact:

Michael Harrison (mharrison@wit.ie)


RESEARCH MATTERS – ISSUE 4 – S U M M E R 05

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Centre for Management Research in

Healthcare and Healthcare Economics

Quality Accreditation, Quality

Management and Performance

Management are primary research

themes at the Centre for

Management Research in

Healthcare and Healthcare

Economics at the moment. For

example, Dr Denis Harrington, one

of the co-ordinators of the Centre

has recently been invited to join

the Accreditation Steering

Committee at Wexford General

Hospital. Together with the Centre’s

quality management team he has

co-ordinated the design of a training

programme, delivered by Sinead

Acheson and Sean Byrne, to assist

with quality project implementation

at the hospital.

This programme provides a system of

support and training for both

management and staff across nine

identified project areas. The approach

incorporates on-going mentor support for

participants and opportunities for 'live'

interactive dialogue on quality initiatives.

Later this year there will be a showcasing

of on-going projects in the form of a

'Quality Day' in an effort to share regional

practices with other interested

stakeholders. The intervention has attracted

funding from the Irish Health Services

Accreditation Board and the Health

Services Executive (HSE). The model being

used for this intervention is currently

being examined by the HSE for application

in other hospital sites in Ireland and

research is currently underway nationally

on how this might be achieved.

Ph.D. research is also being conducted by

Brigid Milner on quality accreditation

system implementation, focussing on the

process of accreditation as a means of

improving quality in healthcare.

Accreditation involves the self-assessment

of an organisation's processes and

practices against predefined standards,

which are then subject to external review.

The exercise is now seen as a key vehicle

for improving service quality within acutecare

hospital settings in Ireland. The

research has been on-going for the last 12

months using a case-based approach

examining the accreditation exercise in a

large, regional acute-care hospital. The

focus of the project is on the

multidisciplinary teams who are charged

with delivering on the self-assessment

exercise and employs multiple methods

including on-going team meeting

observations; structured

questionnaires and in-depth interviews

Centre co-ordinators Dr Sheila O'Donohoe and

Dr Denis Harrington.

with the team members. Dissemination of

the research findings is seen as a priority.

Results of the research to date have been

presented to the research site and have

also been reported at the National

Association of Healthcare Quality

Conference in Florida (September 2004)

and in the Journal of the California

Association of Healthcare Quality

(February 2005).

A second Ph.D. project being supervised

at the Centre focuses on performance

management within the Irish healthcare

system. Performance is multidimensional,

with the concept of performance

management encompassing aspects of

structural, accounting and behavioural

control. The overall objective of this

research project is to investigate the

significance, types and determinants of

performance management systems in

acute hospital care settings in the South

East region of Ireland and to compare

these with this similar hospitals in the UK,

Canada and Australia. Rosemarie Kelly,

the Ph.D. candidate, is at present

collecting her Irish data in four hospitals

via a triangulated approach. She has

attended a number of conferences both in

Ireland in the UK and has presented at

the BAA Doctoral Colloquium in

Edinburgh. She will also present at the

3rd Conference on Performance

Measurement and Management Control

in Nice in September of this year.

The area of management development in

the field of nursing is the focus of another

of the key projects within the Centre.

Since the report of the Commission on

Nursing in 1998, the roles within nursing

have been transformed through the

development of the Clinical Nurse

Management career structure and the

general and specific competencies

attached to each grade. This change has

also been accompanied by wide-scale

reform and structural change within the

health service, and the acute care sector

in particular, which necessitates an

enhanced role for the clinical nurse

manager. Research in this area is

being conducted at Masters level by

Laura Purcell and it explores a range

of issues across a number of acutecare

sites around the development of

the management competencies for

clinical nurse mangers and the extent

to which these can be readily transferred

to a work-place setting to contribute

to organisational culture

change.

Another aspect of the Centre's

development is the establishment of links

with other research centres. Members of

the Centre's team have been actively

involved in building links with similar

Centres at the Universities of York,

Birmingham and Sheffield in the UK. The

Centre is also engaged in a

collaborative research with Memorial

University Newfoundland, Canada,

examining quality and performance in the

Canadian healthcare system. The intention

is to produce a report of the work for

dissemination to interested stakeholders

and to present the findings to a meeting

of healthcare professionals in Ireland later

this year. Ongoing collaborative work is

also underway with healthcare

practitioners under the primary healthcare

strategy.

Established in 2003, the Centre for

Management Research in Healthcare and

Healthcare Economics was formed with a

remit to conduct and disseminate applied

research in a previously underrepresented

area in an Irish context.

The formal commissioning of the Centre, as

part of the School of Business, was

facilitated by a successful application to

the National Technological Sector Research

Programme (Strand III), which secured

funding in excess of 300,000 Euro.

The Centre has further benefited from an

established partnership with the South-

Eastern branch of the Health Services

Executive, which is currently charged with

the provision and management of

healthcare services across the continuum

of care throughout the region. This has

facilitated both the joint identification of

key research priorities and access to

research sites where appropriate. A unique

facet of the Centre is its multi-disciplinary

membership, which is in turn reflected in

its research activities.

For more information contact Dr Denis

Harrington (dharrington@wit.ie) or Dr

Sheila O'Donohoe (sodonohoe@wit.ie).


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R E S E A R C H M A T T E R S – I S S U E 4 – S U M M E R 05

Profile of a Researcher: Dr John Wells

According to Dr John Wells, Lecturer

and Researcher in the Department of

Nursing, "the agenda for change in

health and social care in Ireland has

gathered pace and, in the case of

mental health, is likely to be further

accelerated by the dynamic of the

recent research initiative

established by the Mental Health

Commission (2005) and the work of

the Expert Group on Mental Health,

which is expected to report in the

Summer of this year".

Dr Wells began his involvement with

health care research when he joined the

Department of Nursing Studies at King's

College, University of London as a lecturer

in mental health nursing. "During my

time at King's College I completed a

number of research projects, both funded

and unfunded, including a conceptual

analysis of health care rationing and its

implications for nursing," he says.

He undertook a Ph.D. at King's College,

supervised by Professor Dame Jennifer

Wilson-Barnett, examining how Clinicians

within community mental health teams

negotiate policy demands through their

practice. This research utilised the works

of Michael Lipsky on Street level

bureaucracy and Spillane on the

relationship of cognitive processing with

implementation to provide a theorietical

Dr John Wells, Lecturer and Researcher in the

Department of Nursing.

framework and he was awarded his

doctorate in June 2004.

Dr Wells has become interested in issues

of social integration of people with longterm

mental health problems and he has

completed a number of small and largescale

research studie. Two such studies

include a national study of recruitment to

mental health nursing, funded by the

Department of Health and Children, in

which he was lead applicant, and an

examination of occupational support for

people with severe and enduring mental

health problems, funded by the South

Eastern Health Board, now known as the

Health Services Executive (HSE) South

Eastern Area.

He has also studied how a Waterford

youth training scheme could better meet

the needs of its client group, particularly

those with psychological and behavioural

difficulties.

"One study I found particularly satisfying

was a year long examination of the

significance of hospital based industrial

therapy units for people with long-term

mental health problems,funded by the

HSE South Eastern Area." says Dr Wells.

"This study interested me for two

reasons. The first was the centrality of the

'voice' of users of the service within the

study and the second was that it provided

a positive agenda for improvement based

on these views."

Dr Wells is currently involved in a number

of collaborative research projects. For

example, an international study of

employers' views on disability policy with

partners in the UK and Switzerland.

Collaborative relationships are one of the

strengths that WIT possesses in relation

to research in the area of health care.

"The Institute has an established tradition

of health and social care related research.

With the establishment of the Department

of Nursing, it provides a potentially

significant research resource for the

professions allied to medicine," says

Dr Wells.

For more information contact Dr John

Wells (jswells@wit.ie)

W I T R E S E A R C H I N F O C U S

Using discourse analysis and internet support groups to help victims of

rape and sexual abuse

Discourse analysis focuses on the actual

ways in which survivors talk about their

rape or sexual abuse experiences and uses

this data to subsequently inform about

methods for counselling and intervention

with survivors.

Jennifer Yeager, lecturer of psychology at

WIT and PhD student at University College

Cork, is currently engaged in PhD research

on the social support needs of Irish rape

and sexual abuse survivors. Her research

has employed a discourse analysis

methodology to examine rape survivors'

accounts of the role of their social

relationships (i.e. with family, friends, and

partners) in their ability to cope with rape

and sexual abuse.

In addition, Jennifer also assessed the role

of internet rape support web sites as a

means of support in coping with rape and

has shown that internet support groups

can be as important as the traditional

forms of support provided by family,

friends, and partners.

The use of the internet and instant messenger

services in gathering interactive

interview data was also considered.

Jennifer suggests that collecting sensitive

data via the internet is a viable option for

social research but needs to work within

strict ethical and practical boundaries in

order to gain the best interview results.

This methodology is particularly suited to

participants who wish to remain anonymous

throughout the study.

Jennifer's current research now focuses on

assessing how the various types of rape

and sexual abuse that survivors have

endured may affect survivors' support

needs and their ability to access

needed support. No current research in

the literature has been found that directly

compares various contexts of adult rape in

terms of primary or secondary (family and

friends of victims) survivors’ support

needs. There is an extreme scarcity of data

on male rape and specifically on rape in

Ireland.

This lack of data is detrimental to the field

of knowledge concerning rape and sexual

abuse, as it is important to define and

recognize these varying contexts in order

to draw reliable and accurate conclusions

about the needs of victims, and how these

needs may or may not be met.

In general,Yeager's completed and

current studies aim to develop knowledge,

ideas, and theories that will be of use to

rape crisis organisations throughout

Ireland, and abroad. This research will

inform new ideas, theories, and policy for

working with rape victims. She is currently

collecting information from survivors of

rape and sexual abuse and the friends and

relatives of survivors. All information is

treated with the strictest confidentiality.

For more information contact

Jennifer Yeager (jyeager@wit.ie)


RESEARCH MATTERS – ISSUE 4 – S U M M E R 05

7

European forests: source of renewable

energy and sustainable rural business

The role of wood as a

renewable energy in

Europe's energy supply

strategy has taken on a new

importance since the Kyoto

Protocol came into effect in

February 2005. The Kyoto

Protocol has set legally

binding targets on European

Union member states to

reduce greenhouse

emissions to 8% below 1990

levels by 2010. The

European forest sector can

contribute in two ways to

meet this target: by storing

atmospheric carbon in trees,

roots and forest soils; and

by developing wood energy,

which is renewable. EU

policy on renewable energy calls for

the expansion of capacity to meet

20% of Europe's energy needs by

2020. At the moment less than 8% of

primary energy comes from

renewable sources.

Waterford Institute of Technology has

been awarded a Leonardo da Vinci grant

to develop a pilot training project on

wood energy. The WESST project - Wood

Energy Supply Systems Training - will

create targeted short course training on

best practice in wood energy supply in the

partner countries of Ireland, UK, Finland,

Portugal, Italy, The Netherlands and

Slovenia.

The two-year project will allow the team

to create and test a series of training

courses consisting of case studies,

presentations, reference material and

assessments focused on wood energy

supply systems. This material will be

developed in conjunction with target

groups' needs, availability and abilities.

The team is committed to deliver the

WESST course on a pilot basis using an

innovative e-learning tool, reinforcing the

use of ICT in facilitating access to life-long

learning opportunities. The project is led

by Waterford Institute of Technology in

partnership with Sylviron limited and

includes Clark MacTavish from the UK;

Oulu Polytechnic, Finland; Viseu

Polytechnic, Portugal; CNR/IVALSA

Forestry Research Institute, Italy;

Larenstein University, The Netherlands,

and; VITRA rural development agency,

Slovenia.

While wood energy can help satisfy

Europe's needs for limiting greenhouse

gases, and securing a sustainable,

renewable, indigenous fuel there are other

benefits at a regional and local level.

Wood energy production, supply and

Wood as a raw material for energy

generation may come from a wide variety

of sources, including:

• Thinnings and residues from

conventional forest harvesting;

• Sawdust, shavings, chips and off cuts

from wood processing industries;

• Purpose grown energy crops such as

short rotation coppice willow;

• Pallets, packaging and other demolition

wood untreated with contaminants;

• Branches, stumps and clippings from

arboricultural operations, and;

• Residues from agricultural and

horticultural sources such as fruit

and Christmas trees.

generation are inherently rural and

relatively local enterprises. Thus much

needed sustainable rural business

development opportunities are presented

by this technology. In addition, the

forestry sector can benefit from this new

market opportunity that makes more

efficient use of forest resources, while

woody energy crops may provide farmers

with an alternative land use.

The raw materials used in producing

wood energy have widely diverse

physical, chemical and energy properties.

Despite this wide range of sources there

are only four forms of wood fuel used in

energy generation. These are: firewood

logs, wood chips, pellets and briquettes.

Firewood logs and briquettes are only

suited to small hand-fed stoves and boilers.

Wood chips and pellets may also be

used in this way but have a much greater

range of uses because these fuels can be

fed automatically.

The efficient and wide-spread use of any

fuel requires that the fuel be homogenous

with known parameters such as energy

content, particle size

distribution and chemical

composition. Currently

European standards are being

developed for solid biofuels.

The successful development of

wood energy will rely on cost

effective, reliable supply

systems producing a fuel of

consistent quality and

competitive price. The WESST

project will focus on this gap

between potential wood energy

sources and actual energy

market requirements for wood

fuel. There is a supply and

processing chain that any

wood raw material must

undergo in order to meet the

quality standards specified by

the energy generation sector. The WESST

project will map these supply chains from

harvesting, drying, chipping through to

densification, transporting and storage.

The quantification methods and conversion

factors used for wood energy will be

an important module of the developed

training.

Currently, the knowledge and skills

necessary to successfully develop wood

energy supply chains tend to be held at a

specialist level. Expansion of the

European wood energy sector will rely on

the transfer of such knowledge and skills

to the following target groups:

• Farm forester owners and farmers

• Forest contractors and machine owners

/operators

• Forestry professionals, consultants &

companies

• Small sawmills, joineries and furniture

manufacturers

• Timber and forest product traders

• Wood energy companies

• Agricultural and forestry extension

advisors

• Local and regional energy agencies

• Sustainable development organisations

• Municipalities and local policy makers

• Media organisations

The project team is currently carrying out

an analysis of the target groups training

needs. Best practise case studies and

course development should continue

through 2005 and an e-learning tool and

pilot training delivery will mainly take

place next year.

For more information contact Tom Kent

(tkent@wit.ie)


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R E S E A R C H M A T T E R S – I S S U E 4 – S U M M E R 05

ISOL plays leading role in major EU-India

research programme

The Information Systems,

Organisations and Learning Research

Centre (ISOL) is one of five partners

in a recently established research

and development project funded

under the EU-India programme. This

project involves over twenty

academic and industry partners in as

many countries and represents a

new departure for research in the

field of technological innovation.

According to Dr Larry Stapleton leader of

the ISOL research centre, “this is the

largest EU funded R&D project into India

this year and represents a major coup

for WIT”. The project, entitled ‘Society

for Research and Initiatives for

Sustainable Technologies and

Institutions' (SRISTI), is part of a new

third world initiative involving millions of

euros in government aid and corporate

donations, which seeks to leverage

technology development processes to

improve the lives of thousands of Indian

communities.

A goal of SRISTI is to develop

ways of presenting information

on technological innovation to a

wide variety of indigenous

communities. One major problem

is usability. For example,

software engineers in India have

developed a kiosk which houses a

computer that presents

information on technological

innovations through a touch

screen interface. However, some

users from remote areas had no

concept of a ' screen' and found

it very difficult to use the

solution.

ISOL hosts a Usability Research Unit,

headed up by Mary Lyng and one of its

contributions to SRISTI is to find ways in

which these information technologies can

be made usable in such complex settings.

Working with the local software

engineering team in India, Lyng and

Stapleton are setting up a usability study

to investigate ways in which usable

systems can be modified after they are

implemented to take these kinds of

complexities into account.

ISOL is the Irish lead partner and the

project also includes lead partners at the

University of Versailles Centre

d'Economique et Ethique pour

l'Environment et le Developpement (C3ED)

Photograph taken at the "India Innovates" awards presented by the President of India at the Indian Institute of

Management, Ahmedabad, Gujarat State (NW India). Pictured from left to right: Professor Martin O'Connor of the

C3ED Research Institute, University of Versailles; Professor David Smith, University of Wales, Newport; One of the winners

of the India Innovates Awards; Dr Larry Stapleton (WIT); Dr David E. Martin, CEO of M-CAS and Honorary Fellow

of University of Virginia.

under the leadership of Professor Martin

O'Connor and the University of Wales

Digital Media Research Group under the

leadership of Professor David Smith.

The lead partners in India are the

Grassroots Innovation Augmentation

Network (GIAN) lead by Dr Mahesh Patel

and Professor Anil Gupta's team at the

Indian Academy of Management (IIMA),

widely recognised as a world leader in the

area of technology management.

As a leading researcher in technology

design and development methodology and

the accompanying educational practices,

Dr Stapleton explores how methodologies

used to develop and implement new

information technologies create major

barriers to innovation and creativity.

Recent evidence gathered by ISOL and

other international research groups

suggests that systems development

methodologies, as taught in many higher

education institutes, bear little

resemblance to the actual ways in which

these technologies are developed and

implemented in commercial

organisations. This research theme seeks

to understand how technologies like IT are

actually developed in practise: what works

and what does not work, and what

barriers exist to the effective development

and implementation of advanced systems.

Dr Stapleton believes that traditional

cultures have a lot to teach advanced

systems engineers about how to develop

really useful technologies. In recent field

studies he conducted in traditional Indian

communities, many of the barriers

encountered by innovative technologists in

Europe were just as real for the Indian

innovators. “As an example, the Indians

spoke of a lack of

relevance of formal

education,” he

explains. “You

notice with these

innovators that they

spend an

enormous amount

of time trying to

understand the

problem and the

general context

There is a very real

developmental

aspect to this project

and it is important

to put this work into

context. Gujarat is

an area that was

devastated by

earthquakes three

years ago.

within which it exists. The same is true of

systems development methodologies

which have focussed too much on controlling

development activities and too little

upon innovation and creativity."

Whilst in India Dr Stapleton was one of a

number of guests to attend the GIAN

Awards, an event hosted by the President

of India. In his address the President noted

that a great strength of India is that it is

full of highly imaginative people who have

found solutions in the most difficult circumstances.

The SRISTI project ultimately

aims to empower these people, who are

financially poor but 'knowledge rich'.

For more information contact:

Dr Larry Stapleton (lstapleton@wit.ie) or Mary

Lyng (mlyng@wit.ie)


RESEARCH MATTERS – ISSUE 4 – S U M M E R 05

9

Education for Literacy: unlocking the

potential of eLearning

In co-operation with the National

Adult Literacy Agency (NALA), WIT

has been a key player in

responding to the educational

and professional needs of Adult

Literacy practitioners throughout

Ireland since 1987. In 1995 the

collaboration of the Institute and

NALA resulted in the

establishment of what have now

become Higher Certificate and

Bachelor of Arts courses in

Literacy Development. An Honours

BA Degree is also in the process

of development.

In September 2003 the WIT/NALA

Accreditation Project launched a

research initiative that would

establish if eLearning could successfully

contribute to the development

of good practice guidelines for adult

learners of the WIT/NALA courses.

The pilot project endeavoured to

implement and evaluate WIT's first

eLearning programme that was

delivered using WIT's virtual learning

environment (WebCT) and piloted

with a group of adult literacy

educators throughout Ireland.

eLearning presents opportunities for

the students of the WIT/NALA

courses who at the moment have to

take time off work to attend these

residential modules. The courses are

currently offered on an outreach

basis (off campus) and the concept

of blended learning is applied,

where a mixture of face-to-face and

online sessions is used. This means

that one residential session per

module is needed rather than two.

The pilot initiative utilised WebCT to

partially deliver a single module of

the Higher Certificate in

Literacy Development, namely

the Quality Management module.

The remainder of the module was

delivered in a classroom format. The

Higher Certificate has been offered

since 1995 in a modularised format

via the traditional classroom

approach.

The pilot project elicited a broad

range of ideas and implications for

the development and delivery of

future online modules. The research

confirmed that eLearning is in fact a

suitable method of course delivery,

particularly when used in conjunction

with face-to-face meetings. There

Objectives of the research:

• To compare eLearning with more

traditional models of teaching in terms

of knowledge transfer and the learning

experience.

• To identify which adult learners can benefit

most from this medium of delivery.

• To determine what level of computer

literacy is required for participation.

• To quantify the time/cost implications of

the running of an e-learning programme.

• To evaluate which modules would best

lend themselves to this medium in the

future.

• To evaluate the content of the module in

the light of the changing context of

literacy practice.

• To evaluate how useful the online

content could be as resource material for

literacy practitioners.

was a general endorsement amongst

the pilot group for the introduction

of further eLearning / blended

learning modules and these modules

are currently being developed.

For further information please contact Lorraine

Halpin (lhalpin@wit.ie)

eLearning Technologies Research Centre

At a recent colloquium held in WIT, members of the group played host to, Mr Bruno Zuga, manager

of the Distance Education Study Centre, Riga Technical University, Latvia. Mr. Zuga gave an inspiring

talk on current trends in eLearning in Europe and met with WIT staff engaged in eLearning.

Members of the WIT eLearning support team also met with Mr Zuga, for a fruitful exchange of views

and experiences on the use of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) in third level colleges.

The Centre for eLearning

Technologies Research, WeLearnT,

was formally recognized as a WIT

Research Centre in 2003. The

group's main focus is research

and consultancy in the area of

eLearning technologies,

including an interdisciplinary

approach, an emphasis on

transnational collaboration and a

critical analysis of the learning

potential in Information and

Communication Technologies.

Members of the group come from a

variety of backgrounds, including

Computer Science, Education,

Educational Psychology and Social

Science. There are currently six postgraduate

members engaged in

master's level research. Five members

are engaged in research at PhD level.

Research themes undertaken by

group members to date include:

• Computer-based learning and

primary education

• Development and evaluation

of a computer-based learning

tool for adults with learning

disabilities in mathematics

• The applicability of computers

and multimedia to literacy

best practice.

• Use of Open & Distance

Learning (ODL) and

information technology in

pre-school teacher training

• The use of ICT/ODL in

promoting social inclusion.

For further information please contact Mary Barry

(mbarry@wit.ie)


10

R E S E A R C H M A T T E R S – I S S U E 4 – S U M M E R 05

Learning in later life: research in the

School of Education

The increased recognition of the

importance of educational

provision for older people in

Ireland is reflected in the keen

awareness on the part of

educational providers, policy

makers and practitioners of the

benefits of offering educational

programmes to older people.

The changing demographics in

Ireland will have implications in

many areas and higher education

institutions are no exception. There

are currently over one million

people in Ireland over the age of fifty,

accounting for over 25% of the total

population (Central Statistics Office, 2003,

p.31). These trends are set to increase

with the number of people over the age

of eighty projected to double by the year

2031 (Central Statistics Office, 2001, p.2).

These demographic changes have

implications for educational providers as

the increase in the older population

means that there will be fewer adults in

the workforce supporting a greater retired

population. Therefore, in the future older

adults will be encouraged to return or

remain in the workforce making them an

important target group for education and

training initiatives. With an increase in the

amount of older people returning to

education, higher education institutions

Dr Anne Jordan and Karen Bunyan, School of Education in WIT

must take their needs into consideration.

In the US they are predicted to be the

next access group campaigning for

educational rights as previously

disadvantaged groups such as women or

those from ethnic backgrounds were back

in the 1960's.

In light of such emerging issues, the

School of Education in WIT is concerned

with the development of lifelong learning

opportunities for older people. Karen

Bunyan and Dr Anne Jordan have completed

research exploring the needs of

older learners in higher education and

informal settings and how educational

programmes are best designed to meet

these needs. This research explores the

interests and motivations of older learners,

their learning experiences and the

barriers faced in accessing education. The

research is also concerned with promoting

inclusiveness in education

and developing strategies for promoting

equal access and opportunities

for older people.

The significance of the research is

evident from the considerable

attention it has received at

conferences such as, the Forum for

the Advancement of Continuing

Education (FACE) Conference in the

University of Stirling (2003), and the

Universities Association for

Continuing Education (UACE), in the

University of Glamorgan in (2004)

Karen recently completed her MA studies

and is extending her research in this area

by undertaking doctoral research in WIT.

In this she proposes to identify the

societal barriers that exist for learners in

later life; looking at the theoretical

evidence regarding power and knowledge

in society and how this impacts on the

older adult in accessing educational

opportunities. This research will also raise

the moral argument as to why we should

provide access to learning in later life and

contribute to debates on active citizenship

and participation in the community.

For more information contact Dr Anne Jordan

(ajordan@wit.ie) or Karen Bunyan

(kbunyan@wit.ie).

Corporate reputation not featured on the

balance sheet

At the recent International

Reputation Research Colloquium

academics from 11 countries met

with one thing on their mind:

corporate reputation

Pictured at the research colloquium are from left: Anthony Foley

(lecturer), Dr Tom O'Toole (Head of School of Business); Paul O'Toole,

(CEO, Tourism Ireland); Dr Susan Whelan (lecturer); and Prof. Gary

Davies (visiting Professor of Marketing, Manchester Business School).

(photo by photozone)

The Waterford Crystal Centre for

Marketing Studies hosted a research

colloquium from March 20th - 22nd at

WIT. The theme of this colloquium was

corporate reputation and researchers from

11 countries, including Pakistan, Portugal,

Chile, Turkey and the U.K., discussed topics

as diverse as the reputation

of countries, the reputation of

politicians, the latest thinking

about the effect of mergers on

corporate reputation and the

influence of retailers' corporate

image on our willingness to

buy their own brands. "Our

main concern is how companies

manage their reputation

with customers and employees.

A company's reputation is

probably its most valuable

asset, but it rarely appears on

the balance sheet. It takes

years to build and minutes to

lose", said Gary Davies, visiting professor

of marketing at WIT and head of the

Centre for Marketing Studies. The visiting

academics also heard presentations from

guest practitioners Paul O'Toole, CEO of

Tourism Ireland and Brian McGee, Sales

and Marketing Director of Waterford

Crystal.

The Waterford Crystal Centre for

Marketing Studies will be formally

launched later this year. Two faculty

members from the marketing group at

WIT, Anthony Foley and Dr Susan Whelan,

form the core of the Centre together with

Professor Davies and ten associate

members from the faculty. Current

research projects include collaboration

with a major initiative to enhance tourism

in the region and research into so-called

'ruthless' corporate brands.

For more information contact:

Dr Susan Whelan (swhelan@wit.ie) or Anthony

Foley (afoley@wit.ie)


RESEARCH MATTERS – ISSUE 4 – S U M M E R 05

11

Delayed payment to suppliers,

retained profits and owner/

managers own personal finance or

finance obtained from friends/family

were key sources of finance used in

the past by firms in the region. Bank

overdrafts, hire purchase/leasing

along with bank loans of less than

five years as well as grants are cited

as the most commonly used external

sources of finance deployed in the

past. The least used sources were

venture capital and invoice

discounting.

These are some of the results identified

by Keith Butler who successfully

completed his Masters Degree in Business

Studies by Research in September last

year under the supervision of Dr Sheila

O’Donohoe, School of Business. Funded

under the Technological Sector Strand 1

the main objective of Keith's study was to

examine the patterns and access to

finance of Small to Medium sized

Enterprises (SMEs) in the South East of

Ireland. No empirical research of this

nature has been conducted to date in

Ireland.

The primary data was obtained by a

questionnaire distributed to 500

owners/financial directors of SMEs in the

South East of Ireland. With a response

rate in excess of 50%, respondent firms

were from a comprehensive cross section

of industries and geographically spread

across the five counties in the South East.

Most of the sampled firms (60%) are

engaged in manufacturing, employing 35

employees on average. Up to 78% were

set up since 1970 with 1988 being the

most popular year for businesses startups.

Those sampled enterprises were

predominantly male owned/managed with

almost half of all managers over 50 years

old. The educational level of respondents

varied considerably with 40% educated

up to third-level.

The first phase investigated how the

businesses were financed at the initial

start-up stage.

REGIONAL INNOVATION AND DEVELOPMENT

Patterns of funding for SMEs in South East

Ireland

Businesses engaged in

manufacturing and those more

educated owner/managers appear

more likely to avail of grants. In

addition those with business plans

and those who use external advisors

on a regular basis and female

owned/managed enterprises report

higher usage of grants at this initial

financing stage.

Keith Butler who successfully completed his Masters Degree in

Business Studies by Research and Dr Sheila O’Donohoe, School of

Business.

The most important and widely used

sources at start-up stage cited were:

• private savings (61%);

• bank loans (58.2%)

• trade credit (20%).

In addition finance from

friends/family was also identified as

being a relatively important source.

Current usage patterns are reported to be

quite different from past usage with

retained earnings now undoubtedly the

most widely used internal source of

finance. The top three sources of external

finance used in the past are still the three

most widely used at present (private

savings; bank loans and trade credit).

However both grants and the Business

Expansion Scheme appear less significant,

which may be indicative of the stage of

the financial life cycle the businesses are

in. This study emphasises the importance

of short-term sources of finance and

SMEs’ dependence on bank financing,

particularly bank overdrafts. The main

reasons cited for this were ease of access

and flexibility of each source.

Approximately 64% of the respondent

businesses use some form of credit card

for business purposes and this may

indicate that these businesses find it

difficult to obtain other cheaper

alternative sources of external finance. In

addition the findings presented suggest

external equity capital is not a source

favoured by SMEs.

Respondent businesses appear to follow

the pecking order theory in that they

favour the use of internal financing first,

followed by external debt and as a last

resort they may issue external equity. Just

over half of the respondents cited that

they attempted to obtain additional

external sources of finance over the

past three years with 46% stating that

they encountered problems trying to

secure this finance.

Manufacturers and more innovative

businesses sought to raise more external

finance and encountered more difficulties

in the process. More female

controlled businesses attempted to

obtain external finance over the past

three years compared to their male

counterparts (74% v 54%) and they

too appear to encounter greater difficulties

in securing this in comparison

to male respondents (59% v 25%).

Respondent businesses seem to

choose their source of finance based on

an overall package and not for any one

individual reason. Choice of finance

appears to depend on what it will be

used for, on the cost of servicing the

finance and on availability followed by

the flexibility of the type of finance to be

used. The study reveals that the vast

majority of firms have not changed or are

not currently considering changing banks.

Businesses appear to attach a relatively

high level of importance to the full range

of services provided by these institutions.

The quality of bank services that rated

highest was the general operation and

accessibility of banks while transaction

charges, collateral required and interest

rates were perceived to be the most poorly

provided service. The major concerns

expressed in dealing with banks were

excessive bank charges, high interest rates

and the threat of termination of their

overdraft facility.

In conclusion, the pecking order

hypothesis seems to provide an

explanation for the financing pattern of

SMEs in the South East of Ireland. This

theory suggests that owner/managers will

tend to favour internally generated funds

and short-term external debt.

For more information contact Keith

Butler (kbutler@wit.ie) or Dr Sheila

O'Donohoe (sodonohoe@wit.ie).


12

R E S E A R C H M A T T E R S – I S S U E 4 – S U M M E R 05

Educating researchers for the knowledge

economy

The availablity of a highly educated workforce was one of

the key factors in the creation of the 'tiger economy'. The

institutes of technology paid no small part in the creation of

this workforce, with almost 50% of degree graduates coming

from the institute of technology sector. Now, the government

has identified the availability of graduates to Ph.D. level as a

key requirement for the next evolution of the Irish economy.

Doubling the number of Ph.D. graduates is required by 2010

if we are to meet the challenge of the emerging knowledge

society .

The number of postgraduates registering at Waterford Institute of

Technology has grown rapidly over the last five years, and will

continue to grow. However, if we are to succeed in achieving the

required levels we must develop effective training programmes.

There are a number of reasons for expanding the training necessary

for students to succeed at Ph.D level.

First, we need to tackle the issue of non-completion rates to Ph.D.

level within third-level institutes. Anecdotally, the non-completion

rate across the whole third-level sector is in the order of 30%, and

this figure is typical of non-completion rates in other countries such

as the U.K.

Second, the third level sector must address quality assurance

concerns, including those of transparency in the requirements of a

research degree, including a specification of the skills, including the

transferable skills, demanded of a competent researcher.

Finally, while by tradition students studied for a Ph.D. in the

expectation of achieving an academic position, increasingly the

emphasis is on industry /social research and development

opportunities. These, together with the increasingly interdisciplinary

nature of research and the broadening of the research paradigms

beyond traditional positivist models indicate that training in

methods should be a pre-requisite of all research programmes of

study.

A comprehensive training support structure must now be put in

place in WIT to provide students with the tools necessary to

conduct high quality research at postgraduate level. This is in line

with best international practice. It is now the norm in

third-level institutions in advanced societies to require prospective

research students to undertake a course in research methods before

they embark on their research programmes. For example in the UK,

the Higher Education Funding Councils, the Council for Graduate

Education and the Quality Assurance Agency have combined to

determine the aims, objectives, learning outcomes and topics that

should be covered in a mandatory research methods course.

For the past five years the Educational Development Centre in WIT

has run such a generic research methods course, offered on a

weekly basis, and running throughout the academic year.

The course is offered to all postgraduate researchers, staff and

students and attendance is voluntary.

Now however, the Research & Development Sub- Committee of the

Academic Council is developing an accredited Research Methods

module, which must be taken by all postgraduate research

students, unless they can demonstrate the prior acquisition of such

knowledge and skills. The benefit of this module, apart from

ensuring that all students acquire basic research skills, is the

gaining of an additional portable qualification, so that students

transferring to other institutions to acquire research qualifications

will be able to demonstrate basic competencies in this area. This

course will run in tandem with existing initiatives, which take place

in WIT's schools or departments, such as the research seminar

series run by the School of Business Studies or those run by the

Mathematics Seminar Group.

Topics to be covered include:

• An overview of the research process

• Engaging with the research process

•·

•·

•·

•·

•·

•·

•·

•·

•·

•·

•·

•·

•·

•·

Relationships with supervisors and peers

Values, ethics and power in research

Time and project management

Quantitative research methods and statistical methods

Qualitative research methods

Multi-method approaches

Copyright and intellectual property rights

Bibliographic research skills

Computing skills

Writing skills

Writing for publication

Presentation skills

Personal and negotiation skills

Career planning.

An accredited module in research supervision for prospective and

new research supervisors has also been developed. This module will

explain the roles of the supervisor, including the quality assurance

requirements in relation to institutional procedures and the

counselling/mentoring skills needed to operate as an effective and

supportive supervisor.

For more information contact:

Dr Anne Jordan (ajordan@wit.ie)


RESEARCH MATTERS – ISSUE 4 – S U M M E R 05

13

Establishing best practice for Campus

Incubators

Enterprise Ireland announced last year that it is investing

32 million Euro across each of the thirteen Institutes of

Technology to develop campus incubators to strengthen

the enterprise infrastructure of each region and to support

the growth of new high potential start-ups. The rationale

for this investment is that the incubators will provide an

effective framework for supporting the development and

expansion of campus company activity and encourage

Institute of Technology-led enterprise development

initiatives. They will also, it is hoped, encourage the

commercialisation of Research and Development carried

out within the sector and promote further Technology

Transfer initiatives.

Pioneered in the U.S., campus incubators help academic staff and

students to create campus enterprises by providing them with a

comprehensive range of support services including space;

business advice; training and mentoring; and networking

opportunities. A recent body of research carried out by Mary

Fenton set out to develop a best practice framework of campus

incubators applicable to the Institute of Technology sector. The

researchers explored literature on best practice of campus incubators

and investigated current practice of four campus

incubators in Irish Higher Education Institutes.

“Our research found that the provision of incubation space is just

a first step in the total campus incubation process with clients

placing greater emphasis on the value added support services,

namely the association with a reputable third-level Institute;

access to the Institute's resources such as academic staff;

incubator managers’ expertise and enterprise networks, which

they would otherwise be unable or unwilling to access outside

the campus incubator,” says Mary Fenton.

The success of campus incubators, it seems, is dependent on

incubator managers supporting the client companies and

developing relationships between them and key academic staff,

students, entrepreneurs and enterprise development agencies.

Campus incubators therefore provide an enhanced platform for

developing of enterprise and academic partnerships and the

manager plays a central role in facilitating high-level links

between entrepreneurs, academic staff and Enterprise

Development Agencies. The incubator manager also provides

value added support services, designed to meet the individual

company's stage of development, i.e. at the

pre-incubation, incubation and post-incubation stage. In addition

to providing support services to current, prospective and former

clients, managers could extend the range of support services to

entrepreneurs outside the incubator who could benefit from links

with both the campus incubator and the Institute of Technology.

This would embed the campus incubator as a hub for converging

the academic and enterprise communities and developing

symbiotic links not just for an elite band of tenant companies but

the wider regional enterprise community; thus justifying

Enterprise Ireland's confidence in the Institute of Technology

sector becoming an "engine for growth" in the regions.

Success is also contingent on the individual Institute of

Technology embracing an enterprise ethos and supporting the

campus incubator in the development of campus and regional

enterprise. There is a clear need at a sectoral level to develop a

vision of the sector's role in enterprise development, both on and

off campus. There is a need for a systematic approach to dealing

with campus companies. The continuance of an ad-hoc approach

to dealing with spin-offs and spin-ins will hinder the sector's

effectiveness in campus enterprise development. “It is imperative

that the sector develops policies to deal with IPR and campus

companies because in the long-term this will lead to an increase

in the number of spin-off and spin-in activity on campus,” argues

Fenton.

While the proposed best practice framework cannot be applied

generically to all Institutes of Technology because of their

individual focus, their strengths and the regional factors and

influences at play, the researchers acknowledge that it is a first

step towards best practice of campus incubators within the

sector.

The creation of campus incubators demonstrates both Enterprise

Ireland's and the Institute of Technology sector's commitment to

fostering and facilitating enterprise development. Campus

incubators must be promoted not as stand-alone entities but as

inclusive partnerships with entrepreneurs and enterprise development

agencies, initiating real and practical synergies between the

academic and enterprise communities.

Bill O'Gorman, School of Business; John O'Connor, Enniscorthy

Enterprise Centre and Mary Fenton, School of Education and

Professional Development are co-developing a Postgraduate

Diploma in Enterprise Development for Incubator/Enterprise

Centre Managers.

Research findings - best practice for campus

incubators in the Institute of Technology

sector

1. Support and commitment of an enterprising host

Institute

2. Commitment to the core principles of business

incubation

3. Balanced configuration of campus incubator

board

4. Recruitment of dynamic campus incubator

Manager

5. Continuous professional development of

Incubator Manager

6. Optimisation of links with key stakeholders

7. Team approach between Manager and Industrial

Liaison Manager

8. Strategic planning for long-term sustainability

of campus incubator

9. Recruitment of clients congruent to the ethos of

the campus incubator

10. Provision of support services tailored to meet

individual clients' needs

11. Clarity of policies and procedures

12. Optimisation of internal and external networks

13. Continuous evaluation of campus incubator's

effectiveness

14. Links with campus incubator Alumni

15. Engagement in targeted outreach activity through

provision of virtual incubation services

For more infomation contact Mary Fenton (mfenton@wit.ie); Bill

O’Gorman (bogorman@wit.ie) or John O’Connor (joconnor@wiot.ie.)


14

R E S E A R C H M A T T E R S – I S S U E 4 – S U M M E R 05

Interview with Manager of WIT’S new

Innovation Centre

In January 2005, Tom Corcoran began

work as Manager of the Innovation

Centre which is currently under

construction at the new Carriganore

campus, just on the edge of Waterford

City. He recently answered some

questions put to him by Research

Matters.

RM: Did you have a connection with WIT

prior to your appointment?

TC: Yes indeed. I graduated from WIT and

have been working at WIT since 2003, on

assignments with the CHART and

Development departments. I also spent a

year as Operations Manager with the TSSG

research team, which was a great

experience.

RM: What experiences have you had

which relate to the Centre's activities?

TC: For many years I worked in

management positions with multi-national

corporations; in Ireland, in the UK, in mainland

Europe and the USA. I also spent

several years as vice-president of a U.S. consulting

organisation with responsibility for a

division with $12 million in revenue and a

staff of 50 professionals. So, I have

experience in many different

industries, in a variety of

management roles and in

organisations of various sizes.

The clients that I have worked

with were also very varied;

from major corporations to

small start-ups. Most of my

time in the U.S. was spent in

the Silicon Valley area and I

had the opportunity to see

how a region can

benefit from a dynamic

entrepreneurial ethos and to

see the mechanisms and

infrastructure that have

developed to support this

type of business activity. I was working with

companies in this region during the highs

and the lows of the dot.com era and I saw

at first-hand the difficulties that high-tech,

high-potential start-ups have to deal with.

Business environments

and business models are

very different from

country to country and I

believe we ultimately

have to create our own

model for success. One

of the most important

factors in achieving this

will be to play our part

in creating a supportive

environment for

entrepreneurs and to

encourage innovation

and risk-taking.

RM: Have you seen other institutions whose

experiences might be a model for what you

expect to achieve in the Centre?

TC: We can certainly learn from some of the

more successful business incubation centres

in the U.S. and U.K and there are also some

very successful organisations operating out

of relatively small economies, in countries as

widespread as Finland and New Zealand. It

has to be remembered, however, that

business incubation is a relatively new

Tom Corcoran, Manager of the Research &

Innovation Centre

"industry" in mainland Europe; about 95%

of the incubation centres in Ireland and U.K.

are less than 5 years old so there is still a

lot to be learned and to be developed.

RM: Who will benefit from the work done

at the Centre and what will the benefits

be?

TC: Before I answer that I would first like to

acknowledge the sponsors of the Centre;

Enterprise Ireland, the Higher Education

Authority and Allied Irish Banks Ltd.

By providing the funding for this venture

they have clearly demonstrated their commitment

to supporting research and

innovation in the South East region.

The beneficiaries of the work done at the

Centre will first of all include the employees

and investors in the companies that are

created. As the role of the Centre develops

it will serve as an access mechanism to the

intellectual resource base of WIT and thus

will help existing regional businesses to

progress their development. This may happen

through the enhancement of existing

technologies or by acquiring and exploiting

new technology or service opportunities

that arise from collaborative research.

As the level of successful start-ups increases

so too will the potential for the employment

of graduates in those regionally-based

companies. This is of critical importance in

halting the "brain drain" that results in

many of the South East's most talented

individuals moving away to pursue other

opportunities. If we can foster the

development of thriving, high-potential

companies in a region that has an

unrivalled lifestyle to offer then I believe it's

a winning combination.

RM: What services do you see the Centre

providing?

TC: The Centre will provide a range of direct

business support services to clients along

with a mentoring and development

programme. These services will be available

to start-ups and to more established

companies and, of course, to spin-out

companies from the Institute. We will

provide clients with a modern, fullyequipped,

fully-serviced and secure facility

at competitive prices and aim to be very

supportive of client needs.

The Centre will provide access to a network

of professional specialists, some of whom

will have expertise in international business.

The role of these specialists will be to

mentor companies and to augment the

skills and knowledge of management in key

areas of business. I am particularly

interested in developing the expertise of the

Centre in providing strategic and practical

help to clients in the areas of international

sales, marketing development and product

support.

The networking opportunities that Centres

such as ours can provide are

generally acknowledged by

entrepreneurs as being

extremely important to the

success of their businesses.

We will be very focussed on

developing the investmentreadiness

of client companies

and ultimately the intent is to

help businesses to mature to

the point where they can exit

from the Centre and function

independently and

successfully.

The key word in all of this is

support; supporting the

development of management

and commercial skills,

supporting the ability to

capitalise on business

opportunities and supporting

the entrepreneurial efforts of

our clients.

RM: Finally, where is the Centre in its

development at this point in time?

TC: The construction of the building is actually

ahead of schedule and is due to be

handed over in August 2005. We have

worked with the architect to create a very

different interior space from a standard

business facility. I want the style and the

energy of the building to be as creative and

as positive as the commercial activities that

will happen within it and I definitely expect

this centre to have a terrific buzz!

Over the coming months I will be focussed

on marketing and recruiting clients for the

Centre and will keep you updated on the

progress of the project.

For mor information contact .Tom Corcoran

(tcorcoran@wit.ie)....

The Innovation Centre

has the potential to be

the focal point for

technology transfer and

the commercialisation of

research in the region

and, if it is successful in

doing so, can definitely

serve as a catalyst for

regional economic

growth. We can also

learn from other Irish

and international 3rdlevel

institutions as to

how the development

and commercialisation

of technology platforms

and services has made a

major impact on their

regional economies and

on the success of the

institutions themselves.


RESEARCH MATTERS – ISSUE 4 – S U M M E R 05

15

Recent WIT publications

■■■ CONFERENCES ■■■

Barrett K., Davy S., Jennings B., van der Meer S. (2005)

On , the use of Policy Based Management of Pervasive

M-Government Services. In: International Conferences

on Mobile Government (M-Gov), 10-12 July 2005,

Sussex University, Brighton, UK.

Barrett K., Carroll R., Osmani V., van der Meer S. User-

Centric Management of Ubiquitous Environments -

Challenges & Initial Solutions. IN: Second International

Workshop on Management of Ubiquitous

Communications and Services, MUCS 2004 Dublin,

Ireland, December 12-13, 2004

Boschi, E., Schmoll, C., Malone, P., D'Antonio, S. (2005).

INTERMON: an Architecture for Inter-domain

Monitoring, Modelling and Simulation,. In:

Proceedings of 2005 IFIP Networking Conference.

Davy, A., Mahon, F., Doolin, K., Jennings, B. and Ó

Foghlú, M. (2005) Personalised, Context-aware

Composition of Pervasive Mobile Services. First Euro

Conference on Mobile Government. Sussex University,

Brighton, UK

Doran, C., McCormack B. (2005). An investigation of

the relationship between the "cutability" or sharpness

of scalpels and the width of their cutting edge,

IN: Proceedings of Bioengineering in Ireland (11), 28-29

January, Dublin, Ireland

Butler, R. and Jackman, B. (2005). Wireless Gateway

for Intelligent Diagnostics. Society of Automotive

Engineers (SAE) Centenary World Congress, Detroit,

USA, April 2005.

Duane, A. & Finnegan, P. (2005). Reinforcing Control of

Email Systems Through Electronic Monitoring and

Control: The Experiences of Management and Staff. In:

International Critical Management Studies Conference

(ICMS 2005: Technology and Power), July 4-6th,

Cambridge University, England, UK.

Duane, A. & Finnegan, P. (2005). Staff Reactions to the

Implementation of Electronic Monitoring and Control

of Email Systems: A Contemporary Case Study. In:

Information Resources Management Association

International Conference, (IRMA 2005) May 15-18th,

San Diego, California, USA.

Jackman, B. and Sanyanga, S. (2005). A Software

Component Architecture for Improving Vehicle

Software Quality and Integration. Society of

Automotive Engineers (SAE) Centenary World Congress,

Detroit, USA, April 2005.

Jackman, B. and Foran, T. (2005). An Intelligent

Diagnostic System for Distributed, Multi-ECU

Automotive Control Systems. Society of Automotive

Engineers (SAE) Centenary World Congress, Detroit,

USA, April 2005.

Keating, F. Walsh, G. and Jackman, B. (2005).

Simulation of KWP over a CAN-BUS Network. Society

of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Centenary World

Congress, Detroit, USA, April 2005.

Mc Donnell, E. and Jackman, B. (2005). Software-Based

Vehicle Dynamic Power Management System. Society

of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Centenary World

Congress, Detroit, USA, April 2005.

Mjeda, A. and Jackman, (2005). A Fuzzy-Logic

Approach for an Electrical Power Steering System.

Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Centenary World

Congress, Detroit, USA, April 2005.

Morrissey, D., Jackman, B. and Buttle, D. (2005).

Optimization of Software Function Distribution for

OSEK-Based In-Vehicle Networks. Society of

Automotive Engineers (SAE) Centenary World Congress,

Detroit, USA, April 2005.

Osmani, V., Barrett K., Carroll R., Jennings B., van der

Meer S. (2005) An architecture for User-centric

Management of Intelligent Environments. IN: 28th

International Convention Mipro 2005, IEEE rg. 8

Opatija, Croatia, May 30-June 3, 2005.

White, M. and Jennings, B. (2004) Adapting Access

Rights to the Changing Profile of User Sets in a

Ubicomp Environment. IN: Proceedings of the 2nd

International Workshop on Managing Ubiquitous

Communications and Services (MUCS 2004), 26-37,

2004.

White, M., Jennings, B, Osmani, V., van der Meer, S.

(2005) Context Driven, User-Centric Access Control

for Smart Spaces. IN: The IEEE International Workshop

on Intelligent Environments, IE 05 University of Essex,

Colchester, UK, June 28-29, 2005.

■■■ JOURNALS ■■■

Doran, C., McCormack B. & Macey, A. (2004) A simplified

model to determine the contribution of strain

energy in the failure process of thin biological membranes

during cutting, Strain, 2004 v40 n4 pp 173

Duane, A. & Finnegan, P. (2005) Monitoring and

Controlling Email Systems for E-Commerce.

International Journal of E-Business Research

(IJEBR)(Theme Issue on Electronic Communication

Adoption and Service Provider Strategy).

Foley, A. and Fahy, J. (2004). Towards a further understanding

of the development of market orientation in

the firm: a conceptual framework based on the market-sensing

capability, Journal of Strategic Marketing,

12, December.

Hayden, H. O'Brien, T. O Rathaille, M. (2005) User survey

at Waterford Institute of Technology Libraries:

How a traditional approach to surveys can inform

library service delivery. New Library World 106

Number 1, pp. 43-57

Hegarty, N. Quinlan, . Lynch, T. (2004) A Portrait of

OLAS as a Young Information Literacy Tutorial. Library

Review 53 Number 9, pp.442-450

Hegarty, N. (2004) First Steps: Piloting WebCT at WIT

SCONUL Focus (formerly Newsletter) 32

Summer/Autumn 2004.

McGibney, J. Schmidt, N. Patel, N. (2005) A servicecentric

model for intrusion detection in

next-generation networks, Computer Standards &

Interfaces, Vol 27, Issue 5, pp 513-520, June 2005

O' Raifeartaigh, C. Alhourani, M. Leonard F. and Barklie

R.C (2004) Spin-dependent magnetophotoconductivity

in silicon-on-sapphire 2004. Journal of Applied

Physics, vol. 96, no. 11, pp 6557.

■■■ OTHER ■■■

O'Brien T., 2004. At the Heart of Education: School

Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care. In: James Norman, ed.

Overcoming Barriers To Effective Learning in Second-

Level Schools. Veritas, , ISBN - 1853907529,

O'Raifeartaigh, C. (2005) One Hundred Years of

Relativity. SPIN Science Magazine Issue 9 p22.


All staff in the School of Research and

Innovation are based on the second floor

of the Information Technology Building.

Contact details are as follows:

Dr Willie Donnelly,

Head of School of Research and

Innovation,

Office: IT 2.07

Tel: +353 – 51 – 845500 or

Internally ext 5500

Email: wdonnelly@wit.ie

Kathryn Kiely,

Manager External Services,

Office: IT 2.08

Tel: +353 – 51 – 302034 or

Internally ext 2034

Email: kkiely@wit.ie

Susie Cullinane,

Projects Manager,

Research Support Unit,

Room IT 2.10

Tel: 353 – 51 – 845503 or

Internally ext 5503

Email: scullinane@wit.ie

Tom Corcoran,

Manager Innovation Centre ,

Tel: +353-(0)51-302975 or

+353-(0)87-7954400

Internally ext : 2975

Email: tcorcoran@wit.ie

Rita Dalton,

Administrative Assistant,

School of Research and

Innovation,

Room IT 2.10

Tel: 353 – 51 – 845596 or

Internally ext 5596

Email: rdalton@wit.ie

Denise Breen,

Administrative Assistant,

Research Support Unit,

Room IT 2.10

Tel: 353 – 51 – 845501 or

Internally ext 5501

Email: dbreen@wit.ie

Jenny Murphy,

Administrative Assistant,

School of Research and

Innovation,

Room IT 2.10

Tel: 353 – 51 – 845501 or

Internally ext 5501

Email: jmurphy@wit.ie

Research Matters is published three times a year by the School of Research & Innovation in Waterford Institute of Technology.

Please address any comments or suggestions that you may have on this publication to Kathryn Kiely, External Services Manager. Email: research@wit.ie.

Edited by Margaret Grene

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