Equal1 Labs and Zipp Mobility score NovaUCD Innovation Awards

Crop scientist Prof Fiona Doohan receives the 2021 NovaUCD Innovation Award
Charlie Gleeson, CEO, Zipp Mobility, recipient of the 2021 NovaUCD Founder of the Year Award. (Nick Bradshaw, Fotonic).

30 March 2021

Equal1 Labs, a disruptive quantum computing hardware spin-out from University College Dublin (UCD), and Charlie Gleeson, founder of micromobility start-up Zipp Mobility, were among the winners of the NovaUCD’s 2021 Innovation Awards.

The awards highlight the successes of members of the UCD research, innovation and start-up community made in areas of knowledge transfer, consultancy, entrepreneurship, and the promotion of an innovation culture.

Equal1 Labs, which is developing a new type of quantum computer based on the latest advances in semiconductor CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) technology, received the 2021 NovaUCD Spin-out of the Year Award. The company, founded by Dr Dirk Leipold, Prof R. Bogdan Staszewski and Mike Asker, is a spin-out from the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

“I am extremely delighted and honoured to receive the 2021 NovaUCD Spin-out of the Year Award on behalf of the Equal1 team who are tirelessly working to realize our lofty goal of building the world’s first practical quantum computer,” said Prof Staszewski. “I still cannot believe that now we are so close to finally being able to reach our goal.”

Prof Michael Wallace, UCD School Agriculture and Food Science, received the 2021 NovaUCD Consultancy of the Year Award for a consultancy study entitled ‘Economic Impact Assessment of the Tillage Sector in Ireland’ commissioned by Tillage Industry Ireland through ConsultUCD.

This study, which revealed that the Irish tillage sector generates economic outputs of €1.3 billion per annum and supports 11,000 jobs, provides an evidence base to support future development planning for the Irish tillage sector, identifying the sector’s integral economic contribution to the agri-food industry specifically and the national economy more generally.




Charlie Gleeson, founder and CEO of micromobility start-up Zipp Mobility, was named NovaUCD Founder of the Year. During 2020, Zipp Mobility secured over €1.1 million in seed funding, including €250,000 from Enterprise Ireland, launched e-scooter operations in multiple UK locations and grew the Zipp Mobility team from one to 20 people across Ireland and the UK.

“It has been a great year for the Zipp team scaling across the UK,” said Gleeson. “However, it was very much a team effort. I’m extremely proud of the team we’ve built and what we’ve achieved in 2020. And of course, we couldn’t have done it without the support of NovaUCD.”

The 2021 NovaUCD Innovation Champion of the Year Award was awarded to Dr Paul Cuffe, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, for his work with UCD engineering programme students. In 2020 he supervised Philip Snell’s, ME Electronic and Computer Engineering thesis project to prototype a new MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) controller.

The result of this project is the Joyst JV-1 MIDI controller which provides an array of gamer-style thumb joysticks to give more expressive possibilities for electronic musicians. In 2020 Philip Snell, with fellow ME engineering graduates, William Langrell and Edward Byrne and Dr Cuffe, established a UCD spin-out company, Joyst Instruments, to commercialise the JV-1 MIDI controller.

Dr Donal MacKernan of the UCD School of Physics, received the 2021 NovaUCD Licence of the Year Award. MacKernan has developed a disruptive molecular switch platform technology. During 2020 this technology was licensed by NovaUCD to a US-based company, Fionnachtain Inc, with an initial application as a point-of-care medical diagnostic for Covid-19 and influenza.

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