26/01/2016

€5m Funding Secured For Health Innovation Hub Ireland

The government has announced funding of €5 million for a new Health Innovation Hub Ireland, which will seek to foster links between Irish health service and vital new technologies.

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, and Minister for Jobs, Richard Bruton announced the funding, which will be allocated over the next five years, and described the new Hub as a "win win for businesses, the health service and job creation".

The Health Innovation Hub has already supported 23 projects involving 27 companies including:

• an online tool for GPs to monitor the physical activity of patients via a smartphone or wearable devices;

• scheduling services to improve patient flow;

• infection control and hygiene management systems.

And it has helped Irish-based companies to sell their technology abroad, including:

• Abtran, who were testing an electronic GP referral system were able to use the knowledge gained to tender for a similar service in a UK Trust;

• Radisens, who were validating point of care testing equipment, have now closed a contract with a Tier‐1 strategic customer for Troponin development. Radisens secured a significant ESA contract valued at €1m to develop an innovative blood testing device for use by astronauts on board the International Space Station and on various human spaceflight missions;

• Lincor Solutions tested bedside units to provide entertainment, education and access to clinical data. Access to clinical data provides the clinical team with more information at patient bedside and can improve patient satisfaction.

Speaking at the announcement, Minister Varadkar said: "Often when we talk about health, the discussion only focuses on the cost to the Exchequer. If you look at things in the round, health actually makes an enormous contribution to the economy. More than 100,000 people are employed in the public health sector and as many again with private healthcare providers, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, medical devices, and in research and development.

"The life sciences sector accounts for a lot of our export revenue and is a major source of inward investment. The Health Innovation Hub is an opportunity to build on this by creating linkages between the health service and industry to develop new products and services that we can use to improve our own health service at home and sell as products and services abroad.

"It's also a good example of joined-up Government as it involves two Government Departments, two Government agencies and the universities."

Minister Bruton added: "The Health Innovation Hub was identified as a Disruptive Reform in the APJ and I am delighted that we have now progressed to establishing the Hub at the national level.

"We have combined exports from our lifesciences and ICT sectors of over €140 billion annually and the strengths of our enterprise base can be leveraged to deliver much needed innovation into our health system and at the same time sustain and create more jobs in these sectors.

"The commitment by Government to a facility such as the Health Innovation Hub also sends out a very strong message to international companies considering investing in Ireland that we are committed to developing even stronger links between the health and enterprise sectors and the high level R&D driving each sector. As part of our long term plan this will help turn good ideas into good jobs and ultimately make a major contribution in a drive towards full employment. "

(MH/CD)

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