University College Cork is to be the headquarters for a €5m health innovation hub to foster links between industry and the health service. The hub has been running on a pilot basis in UCC since 2012 and has already supported 23 projects involving 27 companies.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton and Health Minister Leo Varadkar, who announced the new national hub at Government Buildings in Dublin yesterday, described it as a “win-win” for business and the health service.
Director of the Demonstrator Health Innovation Hub at UCC, Dr Colman Casey, said he was delighted the Government had decided to scale the project up to national level.
Direct financial support is being provided by Enterprise Ireland and in-kind support is being provided by the Health Service Executive with staff seconded from the health authority.
A consortium led by UCC and which included Cork Institute of Technology, Trinity College Dublin, and the National University of Ireland Galway, was appointed to the hub following a competitive process.
Dr Casey, who is administrative director for research and industrial liaison at UCC’s College of Medicine and Health, said a new director would be appointed to guide the hub over the next five years.
The microbiologist said his “day job” meant that he came across a lot of people involved in research in small companies.
“We acted at the integrating point between the company and the healthcare system, a role that allowed us to gain access to very good test beds,” he said.
Dr Casey said being linked to the new clinical research network meant work could be completed very efficiently.
Companies that the hub helped to sell their technology abroad include Lincor Solutions in Cork, which tested bedside screens in the new respiratory ward at Cork University Hospital.
Helix Health, based in Dublin, developed an electronic prescribing system with two GPs and seven pharmacies in Blackpool, Cork.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved