The BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme was developed in 2010 and delivered by a consortium of Higher Education Institutions with the overall aim being the training of 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 two new Fellowship teams, each consisting of eight fellows, will be immersed in a medical device innovation microclimate and connected to biomedical engineering, product design, clinical, finance and business expertise. The Clinical focus for the 2012 Fellowship programme is Urology and Radiation Therapy with both NUI Galway and the University of Limerick hosting the 2012 teams.
Dr Mark Bruzzi, Programme Director based at NUI Galway, commented: “The standard of applications and competition for the Fellowship teams this year was very high with interest expressed from as far as India and China which demonstrates the excitement and appetite that exists amongst the Irish and international med tech environment for this type of programme.”
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.
Professor Tim McGloughlin from UL added: "We are delighted to host a BioInnovate Fellowship Team at the University of Limerick. This programme can transform the product development process in medical device technology while creating exciting new business opportunities by linking the academic and clinical environment to one of Ireland's most vibrant industrial sectors."
It is envisaged that the BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship Programme will act as a catalyst for enhancing innovation in medical device development within Ireland. The successful recruitment of eight Fellows to work in two elite multidisciplinary teams is now complete and these two teams will focus on Urology and Radiation Therapy, identifying unmet needs, inventing solutions to meet those needs and implementing the solutions the Fellows will then map a route to commercialisation to enable these solutions to enhance patient care.
Professor Frank Sullivan, Director of the Prostate Cancer Institute, NUI Galway, and Lead Clinician, Department of Radiation Oncology, Galway University Hospitals, welcomed the recruitment of this year’s teams. “The ability to look at the clinical problems we face on a daily basis, with a fresh perspective, is highly appealing. The prospects for novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches have never been greater in both the fields of surgery and radiation oncology. We hope to focus the 2012 BioInnovate Fellows on the opportunity of developing exciting new therapies for prostate cancer. Ireland has the highest incidence of prostate cancer in Europe, and GUH in partnership with the PCI, are very excited to have individuals of such high calibre to work with.”
The current Fellowship teams, due to complete the inaugural BioInnovate Progamme, are progressing their output of the 2011-12 programme with both the NUI Galway and the DCU teams focusing on developing and commercialising their concepts by summer 2012.
Dr Bruzzi added: “BioInnovate Ireland will have achieved its primary output with the next generation of specially trained Fellows and skill graduates emerging this summer. This wealth of Med Tech BioInnovate talent will add value to the med tech market place over the coming months and we look forward to sharing the commercial opportunities and proposals as a result of the current Fellowship programme in May 2012.”