Minister Conor Lenihan, T.D., speaking with BDI researchers and director, Prof. Michael Berndt



On Monday 29th November 2010, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Conor Lenihan T.D. announced a €19million Government investment in the Science Foundation Ireland-funded Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI). Minister Lenihan also officially opened BDI’s new research facility at Dublin City University this morning.

Commenting at the launch Minister Lenihan stated “Since its establishment five years ago as a SFI Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET), BDI has made a major contribution towards transforming healthcare in Ireland and beyond, through the conversion of diagnostic research into front-line clinical use.

Minister Lenihan continued, The principles of early diagnosis, appropriate intervention and ongoing monitoring of patients have been central to BDI s modus operandi, and the Institute has been addressing each of these head-on in a high-speed, low-cost fashion. Ultimately this will contribute to successful treatment of major illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease to the benefit of Irish citizens.

The allocation of €19 million for BDI in Government funding over the next 5 years is matched with a contribution of €5 million from BDI’s industry partners Ortho, Clinical Diagnostics, Analog Devices, Becton Dickinson, Millipore, Biosurfit and Alere.

Minister Lenihan concluded by saying This injection of significant funding from the Government and industry partners will enable this high-performing Institute to continue and expand its activities. The new Research Facility, fully funded by DCU, represents a state-of-the-art focal point for excellence on our shores. It is a superb testament to the success already recorded by the Institute and signifies its enormous potential for next-generation medical research in Ireland.”

In congratulating Professor Michael Berndt, Director of BDI and his team at DCU, Minister Lenihan also acknowledged the Institute’s partnering academic institutions – NUI Galway, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Tyndall National Institute and Trinity College Dublin.

Prof. Michael Berndt, BDI Director, commented on the announcement, “This funding will enable us to focus our collective expertise in innovative diagnostic research to address some of the biggest challenges in human disease.  Our partnership of five Irish Universities and six industrial partners will focus on significant diagnostic challenges facing society. Specifically, we will address unmet diagnostic need in the key disease areas of oncology, cardiovascular and infectious disease.  The new BDI research facility, funded by DCU, supports the integration ethos of the BDI. Our collective effort in these areas will establish Ireland as a leader in transforming healthcare through innovation in diagnostics.”

 “I’m very impressed with the breadth of BDI’s technologies and the depth of its expertise in point-of-care diagnostic solutions,” said Holger Schwarz, Director of Technology and Alliances in Millipore’s Corporate Technology Office. Since July 14, 2010 Millipore is part of German company Merck KGaA. “Being a BDI industry member presents us with a unique opportunity to leverage technologies developed at BDI to solve problems for our customers in academia and industry - in the areas of life science research, drug discovery, diagnostics and biomanufacturing.”

DCU President, Prof essor Brian MacCraith added “On behalf of Dublin City University, we are delighted at the renewal of the BDI funding.  It is one of our flagship research institutes and given DCU’s ethos as a university of enterprise, the impressive academic-industry partnership assembled is particularly important.  Moreover, the focus on clinical translation in the next phase of BDI is a measure of the maturity of the BDI’s expertise.”