Dr. Paul Anglim, Partnership Development Leader at EIT Health Ireland-UK, discusses what Ireland’s prosperous medtech ecosystem has become and why it is becoming more and more powerful.
To understand Ireland’s success in Medtech, it is important to consider how Ireland can turn the slump in manufacturing into a hotspot for nine of the world’s top 10 Medtech companies.
The origins of its prosperous medical technology sector can be traced back to its highly skilled manufacturing workforce and strategic government support. When the manufacturing industry was hit by a recession in the 1980s, both the Irish government and the people who run the site wanted to protect and grow the manufacturing sector.
For them, it’s time to incorporate R & D and innovation into Medtech.
Make Ireland an attractive place for R & D
Over the next few decades, the Irish Government’s strategy involved the development of strategic funding agencies and initiatives beyond the provision of physical space and tax grants.
In 2015, the Science Foundation Irelands CRAM Center for Research in Medical Devices opened Ireland’s first stem cell manufacturing center in Galway, NUI. SFI CRAM aims to position Ireland as a leader in medical device technology development, with a focus on providing affordable and innovative solutions for chronic diseases.
Other collaborations between governments, healthcare services and major universities have further strengthened research and development of industry and Irish healthcare systems. For example, in 2016, Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI) was established at Cork University.
With the support of Enterprise Ireland and Health Service Executive, HIHI has incorporated partner institutions Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), and related hospital groups to lead groundbreaking research. Take advantage of new healthcare technologies, services and products.
The development of clinical and patient-focused research has paved the way for Ireland to lead the exchange of technical ideas. According to IDA Ireland, government grants are responsible for 70% of Irish medical technology companies engaged in R & D activities.
The goal of establishing R & D in the medical technology sector is rapidly becoming a reality.
As the healthcare technology industry appears to be driving growth, collaboration between government agencies and major associations has played a major role in making this possible.
IDA has made Ireland an attractive place to do business. The split of IDA into three separate organizations in the mid-1990s allowed IDA to focus on promoting quality foreign direct investment in Ireland. US-based healthcare technology company Strykers 2019 has invested more than 200 million in research and development at Cork’s facilities and is just one example of how IDA succeeded in mediating a groundbreaking transaction.
IDA recently announced that it will invest a total of $ 200 million in medical technology and pharmaceuticals to provide a targeted COVID-19 fund, emphasizing industry support.
In addition to IDA, the Irish Medtech Association is essential to support the needs of multinational and SME member companies with the Irish government. The Irish Medtech Association within Ibec ensures what the actual needs of the industry are, how to represent them to government agencies, and that Ireland remains an important part of a company’s business foundation. I have a clear idea of how.
Fast-growing entrepreneurial spirit
There has also been a change in perceptions of what it means to be an entrepreneur. People want people to succeed. Entrepreneurship is common among college students today, and there are plenty of college-led programs to develop innovative ideas.
The NUI Goalways BioInnovate Fellowship Program paves the way for a plethora of successful medtech startups. Supported by Enterprise Ireland, BioInnovate provides needs-driven innovation based on the proven Stanford BioDesign framework, identifying where recommended solutions are most influential.
BioInnovate, like other university-led fellowships, is physically housed in the same location as early-stage programs, allowing innovators to come up with new ideas, network and share.
Entrepreneurship is the norm in these areas, and new innovators are emerging in the Irish medical technology sector.
Ireland as a prosperous Medtech ecosystem
Taking into account support from government agencies, industry, clinical and academic institutions, we can better understand the existence of a community of over 300 medical technology companies in Ireland.
It is in this dynamic environment that EU-backed organizations such as EIT Health, a network of leading health innovators, have decided to expand their presence in Ireland.
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