On Monday the 26th of September the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D, officially launched CÚRAM, a Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre based at NUI Galway, and a unique symbiotic relationship of academia and industry partners that pushes the scientific frontiers in medical devices.
O’Connor stated ‘The medtech sector is hugely important to the Irish economy with over 400 companies based here, it accounts for over 29,000 jobs and is responsible for €12.6 billion worth of exports. I am delighted to launch CÚRAM a world-class research centre which will be very significant for our society and our economy. CÚRAM will also play a key role in ensuring that world class skills will be available to companies in Ireland as it is here to futureproof the medtech industry by providing access to unparalleled scientific expertise and innovation. As a global hub of research expertise in medical device technology, CÚRAM’s goal is to strengthen the Irish medtech industry employing 29,000 people.‘
Chronic diseases are the particular focus of CÚRAM’s research, Professor Abhay Pandit, the Scientific Director of CÚRAM says, ‘Working with industry partners and clinicians, we will better understand the ‘hostile environment’ of the body and advance medical devices to the next stage where they mimic the body’s biology. We want to launch devices which are more effective for the individual patient, but more affordable to lessen the burden on healthcare systems worldwide.’
CÚRAM has six academic partners including UCD, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, University College Cork, The Royal College of Surgeons Ireland and NUI Galway where it is based. CÚRAM has over 250 researchers engaged in current projects both in collaboration with industry and on blue-sky research. Along with this, CÚRAM brings together strands of biomedical science, which have come of age over the last decade including glycoscience, biomaterials science, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, drug delivery and medical device design.
‘CÚRAM is already attracting new research talent into Ireland,’ said Dr Jim Browne, NUI Galway President. ‘A key part of its operation is to train the next generation of scientists, employees and entrepreneurs in this sector. The caliber of our graduates in this field is extremely high, and they are inspired by the exciting potential of the sector. One example of CÚRAM’s direct co-operation with industry is through MedTrain, a new industry–academic fellowship programme which will see 31 researchers enrol with CÚRAM’s Investigators as fellows in the next four years with support from EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.’
A huge advantage to the Irish medtch sector has been brought on with the establishment of CÚRAM.
Helen Ryan, Chair of the Governing Board of CÚRAM says that ‘Partnering with CÚRAM provides co-funding opportunities for research and development with access to world class scientists in a multi-disciplinary environment. Working with CÚRAM can help de-risk the R&D process and ensure that R&D becomes a much stronger part of the ecosystem for start-up businesses and SMEs. CÚRAM’s entrance into the Irish medtech space will give companies here a competitive edge and adds a huge amount of value to an Irish location for multinational medtech companies looking to invest in Ireland in the future.’