About Us

Hartnett Building - ACORN HQ

The ACORN Research Centre at LIT was created in 2008, by merging three already existing research groups together. The centre is a national centre of excellence in innovation for industry and works closely with a wide range of national and international companies, including Stryker, DePuy Synthes, Vistakon, Analod Devices, GlaxcoSmithKlein (GSK), Flextronics, Dell Computers and Kostal. Additionally, ACORN collaborates with a large range of indigenous SMEs. This collaboration involves on all aspects of enterprise and product development and has taken place largely amid the energy, renewables, controls, monitoring, waste and water sectors. Within these sectors, ACORN has developed both hardware and software solutions for implementation in a range of applications; the list below illustrates these strands of multi-disciplinary research:

  • Intelligent Systems: ICT, Informatics, InfoGraphics, SCADA, Data Historians, PLCs, Controls, Embedded Systems, Sensor Networks.
  • Renewable Energy: Technologies Electrical Generation from Renewables, Thermal Generation from Renewables, Bio-Fuels, Renewable Energy Technologies.
  • Energy Management and Environmental Ecosystems: Energy Management and Monitoring Systems, ISO50001, Environmental Ecosystem Monitoring and Management, ISO14000. Air, Water and Soil; Sustainability and Policy
  • Sustainable Manufacturing: Zero Carbon Production, Human Factors, Energy Awareness and Sustainability.
  • Smart Facilities: Smart Maintenance Systems; Resources Usage in Facilities / Utilities, Energy, Water, Waste; Condition based Maintenance.
  • Smart Electrical Networks: Smart Grids, Demand Side Management, Power Quality, Integration of Renewable Energy, Alternative Energy (CHP) and Embedded Electrical Generation.

ACORN has focused on the Engineering of Sustainable Solutions for Industrial, Commercial and Utility Applications. Beyond this, a further host of innovation vouchers were completed by the research staff. Various innovation partnership and research projects under the helm of ACORN have been completed some of which have been awarded further funding from funding bodies such as Enterprise Ireland. At a local level, ACORN also facilitates postgraduate positions with new research postgraduates increasingly joining the centre of excellence. These researchers have specialised in areas such as facilities engineering, cyber-physical systems and wave energy. Many postgraduate students have completed their research in conjunction with the projects being coordinated by ACORN. This is advantageous for early-career academics who benefit from the wide range of expertise that exists within the centre. As a result of such research, many national and international conference papers, presentations and reports have been presented and guided under the auspices of ACORN.

Nationally, ACORN has received substantial recognition: it was awarded best pitch at a KIK Innovation Showcase in 2014 and was successful in its submission of the first KIK Innovation application for LIT. These many achievements in industry, innovation, and research have culminated in the centre having been awarded over €5 million in funding through the variety of projects that it facilitates.