Health Innovation Hub for Cork to go ahead
MINISTER of State Seán Sherlock has hailed the formal announcement of the National Health Innovation Hub in Cork which has the potential to support thousands of jobs and hundreds of new companies.
Following the success of a 'demonstrator' project in Cork, and an independent evaluation of its role, the National Health Innovation Hub is expected to be a win-win for businesses, the health system - and most importantly, for job-creation.
"Innovative Irish healthcare companies will, for the first time, be able to easily gain access to the health system to test their products and services, increasing the chances of developing commercial ideas and creating jobs," said Minister Sherlock, who was involved in the project in his former role as Minister for Research and Innovation.
"The health system will be able to gain easy access to innovative companies which can provide solutions to the problems that it faces, making it cheaper and easier to deliver better health-care to more patients."
Minister Sherlock also highlighted that the Demonstrator (pilot) project, based in University College Cork, as a precursor to the establishment of a National Health Innovation Hub in order to test the hub model saw six companies engaged with the Demonstrator on a first tranche of projects in 2012.
In March 2014, 13 projects involving 16 companies were selected for participation in the second phase of the Demonstrator.
"The Hub will aim to support Irish businesses in the crucial pharmaceutical, medical devices and ICT sectors - which together account for over €140 billion in annual exports," stressed Minister Sherlock.
Nine of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world have a base in Ireland, as do eight of the top 10 medtech companies and eight of the top 10 software providers. There are 50,000 jobs in the life sciences sector in Ireland alone and this sector accounts for half of Ireland's merchandise exports, at over €56 billion per annum.
Recent moves by world ICT providers, Google, Apple and Qualcomm into healthcare services point to the growing convergence opportunity around healthcare and health delivery, and digital healthcare services are already a multi-billion dollar industry.