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2011 Bioinnovate Fellows with Prof. Michael Berndt & Emma O'Brien, Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, DCU

BIOMEDICAL TRAINING BEGINS, STANFORD UNIVERSITY STYLE

08.11



BioInnovate Ireland, a specialist training programme in medical device innovation, modeled on Stanford University's prestigious Biodesign Programme, was officially launched at NUI Galway on the 2nd August.

The BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme has been jointly developed and delivered by a consortium of five Higher Education Institutions which include NUI Galway, University of Limerick, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin City University and University College Cork. The overall aim of the programme is to train graduates to support the creation of new, cost-effective medical devices that improve patient care through a collaborative approach that focuses on the needs of patients, physicians and the health care industry as a whole.

The impetus for the development of this specialist training programme emerged from the 2010 Innovation Taskforce Report. The new programme aims to hot-house, in the space of 10 months, talented individuals with multidisciplinary backgrounds to explore and develop in teams, opportunities for innovative medical devices. The overall aim of the programme is to train graduates to support the creation of new, cost-effective medical devices that improve patient care. This will be brought about through a collaborative approach that focuses on the needs of patients, physicians and the health care industry as a whole.

Programme participants will experience an intensive clinical immersion in teaching hospitals to help identify potential medical device development opportunities. Throughout the 10-month period, they will avail of the expert advice, direction and guidance from dedicated industrial mentors and serial entrepreneurs, along with clinicians with an interest in enhancing patient care through medical device innovation.

A postgraduate taught course will also be delivered to research students within the BioInnovate consortium to broaden their education and to expose them to the process of bringing ideas from concept to commericalisation.

This initiative has received funding from Enterprise Ireland and also support from several medical device development and service companies including: Medtronic, Creganna-Tactx Medical, Lake Region Medical Ltd and Steripack, Ltd.

It is envisaged that the BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme will act as a catalyst for enhancing innovation in medical device development within Ireland.

Speaking about the programme, the newly appointed Fellowship Director, NUI Galway's Dr Mark Bruzzi, said: "Our mission is to educate the next generation of leaders in innovation and to support the future of the medical device technologies sector in Ireland. The academic partners driving the development of the BioInnovate Fellowship Programme are committed to support innovation and entrepreneurship and to evolve the academic component of the Irish Medical Technologies ecosystem to ensure that the needs of the industry are met."

After an arduous application process, the eight successful applicants in the programme's inaugural year have now been split across two teams in Galway and Dublin. The Dublin team will ber hosted by Dublin City University. Commencing immediately, both teams will work within the clinical are of Cardiology, focussing on interventional and surgical procedures. The group of eight candidates come with a wealth of experience across the disciplines of medicine, engineering, business, law, science and information technology.

The search for elite candidates with a strong interest in becoming leaders in medical device innovation through participation in the 2012 cycle of the BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme will commence in the Autumn.