Innovation Voucher Scheme Supports Business


SF Engineering one local company to benefit

Trevor McSharry pictured with Seamus Farrell (MD) and Ciaran Iassac (Project Engineer), of SF Engineering.


IT Sligo is collaborating with companies from around the country who are availing of    expert research and consultancy services provided by the Institute, to exploit new business opportunities.

Trevor McSharry, Head of the Civil Engineering and Construction Department at IT Sligo, has successfully completed a number of such projects for local companies who received “Innovation Vouchers” from Enterprise Ireland. Projects ranged from analysis of prototype solar panel systems to design process optimisation and product design. The vouchers funded the Institute’s role in enhancing their business.

Mr McSharry believes many companies are unaware of the existence of this useful scheme. “It allows third level institutes to collaborate with companies who may not have the know-how or the time to solve a very specific problem or to exploit a new opportunity,” he explained.

One of the companies he recently collaborated with – Lifestyle Impex from Mullingar Co Westmeath – had a practical problem relating to the design of soft closing hinges for their high end kitchen and office components. Lifestyle Impex, being small and relatively new company, which has specialised in furniture components, wanted to increase the credibility of their product through the work at IT Sligo.

“We spent 70 hours working on this project, helping to refine the product,” explained Mr McSharry. “In this case the company had an engineering problem but thanks to the Innovation Voucher they could avail of the expertise in IT Sligo to solve it –and at no cost to the company”.

He also assisted Sligo-based company, SF Engineering, at its stainless steel fabrication plant in Grange.  SF specialise in high-quality systems and solutions for the food processing industry. A steady growth of 25% year on year has enabled the company to expand into new markets with the current customer base extending from the UK to Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Chilli, Poland, Japan and Australia. 

“SF Engineering requested us to review and optimise their design process and we came up with a set of recommendations which has added value to their process,” explained Mr McSharry. IT Sligo has since been granted a follow on voucher for the implementation of this work.

“It’s a win, win situation,” stressed Mr McSharry. “Third level institutes thrive on involvement with industry and these projects often lead to opportunities for our students who have ended up doing dissertations on companies we first encountered when they availed of innovation vouchers.”

The companies benefit from having access to research and other skills which they might not otherwise be able to fund and which can lead to improved product quality , reduction in company costs and an insight into innovative new ways of doing business, he added.

If your company is interested in utilising the knowledge from staff at IT Sligo through the Innovation Voucher Scheme, please contact the Head of Innovation at IT Sligo, Niall McEvoy at 07191 55385 or email Further information about the scheme can be found at .

Caption for above photo: Trevor McSharry pictured with Seamus Farrell (MD) and Ciaran Iassac (Project Engineer), of SF Engineering.