WSSIC is a centre for applied research and technological innovation for Irish and European water sector companies.
The Water Systems and Services Innovation Centre (WSSIC) is a joint venture between Cork City Council, Cork County Council and the Nimbus Centre at Cork Institute of Technology. The Centre helps companies make innovative ‘smart’ water systems, turning ideas for new water-sector products and services into reality, for increased sales, jobs and exports. It acts as the research and development arm of small and medium sized enterprises that do not have the skills or capacity to develop their innovative water ideas.
WSSIC is located within the Nimbus Centre, a leader in the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and embedded system design; interconnecting systems of sensors, computers, and controllers with wireless communications.
WSSIC creates an expert resource in modernizing Ireland’s water infrastructure by taking advantage of Nimbus’ technological knowledge and leveraging both Councils’ experience in water resource operation. WSSIC harnesses state-of-the-art ICT/IoT technology concepts for real-time water quality monitoring and metering, leakage reporting and repair, remote monitoring, improving water/wastewater treatment efficiencies, to develop end to end solutions for the water sector.
Projects Include: WaterMon; Accuflow; Cork City and Harbour LoRa Network; Water-Quality Monitoring Buoy etc
WSSIC received €750k funding in July 2013 for 3 years to set-up and run the centre. Subsequently, another €360k was provided for the period 2016-2019. WSSIC is expected to become self-financing through the revenue generation from research and industry projects. WSSIC has 3 full-time staff.
Evidence of success
• Job Creation: estimated 35 jobs created / supported to date;
• Economic Benefit: estimated €2.5m – €3m to date
• WSSIC undertook 35 projects in Phase 2 (2013-2016), to a value of over €1.53m
• Industry Involvement: Industry has provided over €91k in cash, and €50k of in-kind contributions to WSSIC projects to date.
• Company Engagement: WSSIC has engaged with c. 110 Irish companies in the broad water sector.
• Recognition: Across Ireland and EU.
It can be difficult to engage with industry, which are generally focused on the core elements of the business and may not have the resources for research, development and innovation. WSSIC must constantly engage with industry to promote the available services of the centre and funding streams.
Potential for learning or transfer
The WSSIC model of a collaborative partnership between regional government (Cork County and City Council) and Research (Cork Institute of Technology) has potential to be applied in other regions with sectoral competencies, who are aiming to improve the level of Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) activity. While WSSIC is funded by the above-mentioned stakeholders, it’s revenue streams takes advantage of Irish funding, which provides industry with funding for RD&I projects with research and technology centres, like WSSIC at the Nimbus Centre.
Key questions for other regions to assess in adopting the WSSIC model are:
1. What are the potential revenue streams available to support the centre?
2. Are there organisations that already address the sectors needs regarding innovation?
3. Does the region have a sector with critical mass and is not simply “picking winners” in internationally popular industries.
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