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PiGIS awarded prize for “next big thing”

The Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP) CONNECT's search for 'the next big thing' has concluded with the innovative software, PiGIS™, coming away with a £3,000 prize for best product in the 'Digital Media and Software' category.

This online software allows pig producers to assess and analyse the quality of pig carcasses produced on their farm and benchmark their data with others in the industry.  Since the launch of PiGIS™ in Northern Ireland two years ago, it has been widely used by both producers and processers to help quantify pig carcase quality and in turn make informed management decisions. The PiGIS™ development team Mark Hawe, Erica Chisholm and Mark Browne accepted the award on behalf of the joint venture between the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

The £25k Awards, sponsored by Bank of Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland, were presented at a VIP gala ceremony in the newly refurbished Titanic's Dock & Pump-House at the Northern Ireland Science Park. The event recognises the vision, hard work and perseverance that transforms ideas and technologies into commercially viable global products. Steve Orr, Director of NISP CONNECT, said that once again the awards have uncovered local talent with innovative ideas and inspiring ambitions. He added: “The aim of the awards is to discover intellectual property concepts that have the potential to offer measurable impact on the local and global economy. And that is exactly what we have in agri-food finalists, PiGIS™. I would like to wish them the best of luck for the future.”

Michael Kidd, Head of Business Banking at Bank of Ireland, main sponsor of the award, said: “I would like to congratulate PiGIS™ - it's exciting to see the new businesses being born out of Northern Ireland's research base and with practical and professional support from NISP CONNECT, INI and Bank of Ireland have every confidence that those discovered through the £25k Awards could grow to be global leaders in their field.”

The judges for the £25k competition concluded that the success of PiGIS™ in Northern Ireland clearly indicated the potential to market the program to other pig industries in Europe and beyond in addition to extending to other species. Indeed, development of a similar product for the beef industry is already underway.

For a demo of the PiGIS™ software, please visit www.afbini.gov.uk/pigis

Editor PigProgress

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