Friday, September 28th, 2018

The DETECTA project is funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus + program.

Funding body: Erasmus Plus: Sector Skills Alliance
Grant amount: €496, 833
Co-ordinator: FORTEC Formation Y Technologia (Spain), UL partner
Principle Investigators (UL): Dr Emma O’Brien and Dr Mark Southern
Partners: UL (Ireland), UFEMAT (Belgium), Technological Institute of Aragon (Spain)
For further information contact:


Twitter: @DetectaProject

Detecta Logo

Project Background
The Construction sector is one of the most relevant at European level. The number of companies in the sector amounts to 3,429,268 (EUROSTAT 2015) and is estimated to reach 15,580,000 workers (CEDEFOP, 2008). The sector is affected by significant technological and regulatory changes and must address the challenges of producing buildings and infrastructures adapted to changing social and economic needs and meet global challenges such as energy security and climate change.

Any change in regulations, technology, social, etc., involves the adaptation of companies and workers, with training being the essential instrument to carry out such adaptation. At present it is possible to find static studies of training needs related to the professional skills for which it is necessary to qualify workers in the sector, but the reality is that tools such as the one proposed by the present project are needed that can detect qualification needs Dynamically and continuously over time and deliver results on:

- Training requirements, emanating from the companies themselves
- Trends in emerging professional skills
- Current training offer and its adaptation to the demands of companies.
- Geo-positioning of both the job offer and the training offer

The main contribution of the project is DETECTA, a totally innovative tool that provides the results indicated previously. Its operation is based on the management and processing of all the information published in prospective reports, job offers and training offers to know in real time where and with what qualification the workers are needed and if existing training strategies respond to the demands of the companies. This project will successfully do this by combining of semantic intelligence technologies with the Big Data’s large-volume information analysis power.

For further information contact:


Thursday, September 27th, 2018

The ERC has launched the REINNOVATE project which is funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus + program. The Erasmus program is aimed at building relationships between industry and education providers.

Funding body: Erasmus Plus: Strategic Partnerships
Grant amount: €294,685
Co-ordinator: Engineering Research Centre, University of Limerick
Principle Investigators: Dr Emma O’Brien and Dr Mark Southern
Partners: ISME (Ireland), Seville Chambers of Commerce (Spain), Siauliu Chambers of Commerce (Lithuania), IPA Craiova (Romania) Institute for work and technology, Westphalian University Gelsenkirchen (Germany)
For further information contact:


Twitter: @Reinnovate_2017

Reinnovate Logo
Project background
Innovation involves the utilisation of new knowledge or a new use or combination of existing knowledge. New knowledge may either be generated by the firm in the course of its innovation activities ….or acquired externally through various channels (e.g. purchase of new technology)”. (OECD, 2005).

Education providers have long been sources of this knowledge that can take the form of research partners, contract researchers, skills providers, informal interaction, technology transfer and scientific publications (Perkmann and Walsh, 2007).

However studies have proven that the greater the internal research and development of the organisation the higher their ability is to collaborate and exploit external research conducted by higher educations.(Bercovitz and Feldman, 2007 and Fabrizio, 2009). Often higher education produce ‘general research’ and an internal research capacity is required to allow them to adapt this research to the company requirements and particularly their business (Soh and Subramanian, 2014). However SMEs in particular often do not have this internal research capacity due to limited resources.

Reinnovate complements this need by developing research skills in SMEs to enable them to absorb new knowledge and innovations offered by external sources such as education institutes and conduct small scale research projects. The project will develop a programme to allow SMEs to use research skills as a basis to then to develop the knowledge they need to create innovative ideas and translate this knowledge into value. This will enable the company to become more entrepreneurial.

Current entrepreneurship programs focus on the innovation process, managing this and developing business acumen for those wishing to set up their own business. For example programs such as VUE, PAEM teach excellent business planning and administration skills for start ups and new business owners however research skills do not form part of the program. Similarly business incubation centres offer physical support and business planning advice for new businesses but do not provide ongoing training and research skills to allow SMEs to encourage continuous innovation and sustainability.

The majority of these programs are targeted at new business owners or startups. The Entrepcomp framework outlined by the EU commission, 2016 highlights Entrepreneurship should not be limited to those people setting up businesses but in all aspects of life. Slevin and Covin (1990, p. 43) highlight that “a successful firm not only engages in entrepreneurial managerial behavior, but also has the appropriate culture and organisational structure to support such behavior”.

The aim of the ReInnovate project is to focus on using systematic research to facilitate the development of entrepreneurial skills in employees in SMEs. This will allow the company to develop a culture of entrepreneurship or an entrepreneurial mindset where individuals are inquiry focused, continuously looking for opportunities to improve the business and allowing them to gather the knowledge to put these into action.

1. Develop a learning methodology and accredited curriculum to support the development of SME orientated practice based research skills (1O1). This will ensure research skills are orientated towards the needs of SMEs. It will also ensure co-operation between VETs and SMEs.

2. Develop a level 6 higher certificate in practice based research to teach these skills to employees SMEs (IO2). The modules will be based on the needs analysis and the ENTRECOMP framework and will develop entrepreneurial mindset in SMEs.

3. Develop ICT tools to support the mentoring and development of research skills in SMEs (IO3). This will provide flexible pathways for SME learners.

4. Pilot these with 100 companies in EU (IO4) to ensure it meets the requirements identified in EU policies and the needs analysis.

5. Transfer the methodology to other sectors and VET programs (IO5) will develop cooperation models.

ERC Spinout @ Big Ideas

Friday, November 5th, 2010

ERC spin-out LearnOpt recently was one of 18 university spin-outs that got a chance to pitch their idea at the Big Ideas event organised by Enterprise Ireland in Croke Park. Big Ideas is an invitation only event where a range of venture capitalists, angel and high net worth investors, investment bankers, analysts, industry executives and entrepreneurs will discover the commercial opportunities emerging from Ireland’s higher education institutes. To find out more about Bid Ideas click here.

ERC Spinout in ITLG Final

Friday, November 5th, 2010

ERC spin-out LearnOpt has been short-listed for the final of ITLG University Challenge to be held in the University of Limerick. LearnOpt is one of 3 finalists drawn from across the Irish university sector that will pitch to the ITLG for a chance of winning; €20,000, access to the ITLG network and the chance to represent their company to a panel of respected international business people. For more information on the ITLG University Challenge click here.

ERC Website Launched

Monday, March 15th, 2010

The Enterprise Research Centre website has been launched.