Tess Ames
3rd April 2023

ORBITAL project brings researchers and industry together for annual meeting in Waterford

The ORBITAL Project, a European Innovative Training Network, coordinated by the Ocular Therapeutics Research Group of the PMBRC in the South East Technological University, brought a cohort of academic and industry representatives together to celebrate three years of ocular therapeutics research March 14-16, 2023. The project, which was granted over €4 million in 2019, seeks to develop novel treatment options for people suffering from age related ocular diseases, including diabetic retinopathy and age related macular degeneration.

The conference spanned three days, with members from 11 countries traveling to the Sunny South East to share the latest research in ocular drug delivery technology and to build further relationships with pharmaceutical industry members in the local area.

“The purpose of this conference was two-fold. First, it was to celebrate the incredible work of our research cohort, the students and their successes. Second, it was to showcase Waterford and SETU as global leaders in access to pharmaceutical industry partners, like Bausch+Lomb, TEVA, and Sanofi, among others.” Project Manager Tess Ames explained.

“Overall, ORBITAL as a Training Network has a responsibility to connect our researchers to industry and academic partners that can continue to advance this critical research,” Dr Laurence Fitzhenry, Project Coordinator, said. “There is no better place than Waterford to host such an event, as our long standing global and local relationships have established this region and city as leaders in this area.”

In addition, the ORBITAL Project also hosted an MSCA Open Day.  This included various presentations on funding schemes within Horizon Europe and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions giving researchers of all levels training on subjects such as: how to find funding sources; what makes a successful application; and how to manage projects once they are successfully funded.

“I didn’t think a post-doc was where I wanted to go next,” one participant explained, “but after hearing Dr. Rebecca Power discuss her MSCA Global Fellowship, I think perhaps it’s an opportunity I need to look further into”.

Overall, 160 people attended the various events across the three days, hosted at SETU, WorkLab, Mt. Congreve, and online.

“This event once again demonstrates that SETU is the connecting force between research activity and industry,” Professor Peter McLoughlin, Head of Science and Computing at SETU, said. “We are always working to develop stronger, more robust relationships locally and internationally, and this event exemplifies that.”


This event was funded in part by the GrowtHub at SETU. Housed in the School of Business and led by Dr Margaret Tynan, Growth Hub aims to motivate, support and develop student entrepreneurial potential. Growth Hub facilitates a range of entrepreneurial activities such as student mentoring, guest speaker talks, and interactive workshops while also supporting entrepreneurial projects through a range of entrepreneurship education bursaries. Growth Hub is a HCI, pillar 3 funded collaborative project between TU Dublin and SETU, Waterford campus, which commenced in 2021 with funding for 4 years.

This project also received funding from the Research Office at SETU, and the School of Science and Computing. Thank to all of our funders for making this event possible.

To learn more about ORBITAL Researchers outputs,  click here.

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