Health Innovation Hub Launched

Press Release | Posted on: 26 September, 2016

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Health Innovation Hub Ireland launched at University College Cork by Minister Simon Harris TD

• Ireland’s first Health Innovation Hub – actively connects industry and healthcare
• National Call announced – encouraging innovation
• Fast-tracks innovation – improving outcomes for patients
• Accelerates healthcare commercialisation
• Directly creates jobs and exports for Ireland

Cork. Monday, September 26th 2016. Mr Simon Harris TD, Minister for Health and today officially launched Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI). Ireland’s first national Health Innovation Hub will directly improve treatment and care for patients.

The Ministers’ announced government funding, through the Department of Health and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland of €5 million for the establishment of Health Innovation Hub Ireland, which is led by University College Cork (UCC).

Health Innovation Hub Ireland, a partnership of clinicians, academics, innovators and entrepreneurs from across Ireland will accelerate healthcare innovation and commercialisation, by addressing healthcare challenges and in doing so will create jobs and exports for the country.

Speaking at the launch Minister Harris TD stated:

“I am delighted to launch Health Innovation Hub Ireland today, and to announce a first call for submissions on the focused theme of improving care for older people in the healthcare system.

This project will foster a unique partnership between the health service and the enterprise sector, with the aim of improving patient outcomes.

I look forward to seeing in the coming months and years this collaboration, and the projects that are being supported by the Innovation Hub, making a significant contribution to improvements in patient care, finding efficiencies in service delivery and supporting health service practitioners in bringing innovative ideas to fruition.”

Health Innovation Hub Ireland delivers activities at a national level to all academic institutions, healthcare providers and commercial companies. These activities are delivered by the HIHI Consortium of formal collaborators, which include UCC, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD), their associated Clinical Research Facilities (Cork, Galway, Dublin) and their Hospital Groups (South/South West, Dublin Midlands and Saolta University Healthcare), with associated Primary Care Centres, Community Health Organisations, Pharmacies and HSE support infrastructures.

Welcoming the launch, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, said, “This exciting initiative allows for mutually beneficial interaction between industry and the health system. This is a win-win scenario. The health service needs products to meet its particular needs, and enterprise needs guidance from users on their developing products, and test-beds for their trials. We have combined exports from our lifesciences and ICT sectors of over €140 billion annually and the strengths of our enterprise base can be leveraged to deliver much needed innovation into our health system and at the same time sustain and create more jobs in these sectors.”

Dr. Colman Casey, Director Health Innovation Hub Ireland said, “Health Innovation Hub Ireland focuses on bringing new and exciting ideas into the healthcare system by both encouraging and exciting employees to believe in their innovative ideas, which in turn, will bring about a cultural change towards innovation within healthcare. We will achieve this through a system of annual calls encouraging both individuals and companies to actively innovate into the healthcare system and out of the healthcare system”.

Today, HIHI announced the annual call, which focuses on two themes:

1. An Open Call – for any idea, process, product, service or technology that could benefit the healthcare system
2. A Focused Call – for any idea, process, product, service or technology that addresses care for older persons in the healthcare system

Principal Investigator of HIHI, Professor John R. Higgins, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Head of the College of Medicine at UCC said; “Today marks a milestone in the already successful work of the demonstrator project. We are now a national entity and we have the expertise of our partners; Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Health Innovation Hub Ireland represents a truly joined-up thinking, leveraging our national healthcare system and industry to jointly develop valuable solutions for health systems globally”.

Health Innovation Hub Ireland wants to hear from people in industry, healthcare professionals, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs who can demonstrate they have unique applied technologies and solutions ready for further commercial development or have an idea or concept that needs further development in Ireland. It will develop next generation technologies in Ireland for the global marketplace and in doing so to create jobs and exports from our communities at home.

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Media contact:
Kate McSweeney
Mobile: 087 6150199

About Health Innovation Hub Ireland
The HIH is a national collaboration composed of founders, strategic and industry partners and alliance members. The intention is to create a unified national approach to accelerate the development of health relevant industries. Over the coming months, the HIH will roll out a wide engagement platform that ensures Ireland can better link healthcare professionals, industry, entrepreneurs and academia to collaborate better in addressing today’s health challenges and opportunities.

The HIH was designated as a strategic National Project under the Government’s Action Plan for jobs 2013, with agreement to commence a demonstrator project in University College Cork to support the development of a national solution. Its mandate is equally shared by the Departments of health and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Staff will be located in Cork, Galway and Dublin offices and augmented by staff allocation from the HSE in those same locations.

Dr. Colman Casey
Dr. Casey joins HIHI having served as Administrative Director for Research and Industrial Liaison within University College Cork’s College of Medicine and Health where he pioneered the Health Innovation Hub Demonstrator project. He has had a profound impact within industry and academic circles where he has served as the Interim Director of the Cork Science and Innovation Park, the non-Executive Director of Avecia Biologics, a founder member and former President of PDA Ireland and as a General Manager of Schering-Plough, now owned by Merck.

Prof. John R. Higgins
Professor Higgins is the Principal Investigator of HIHI. He is the Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at University College Cork and is a practicing Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Cork University Maternity Hospital. He is the current Head of the College of Medicine & Health at UCC. In 2012/13, he chaired the national group which provided recommendations to the Minister on “The Establishment of Hospital Groups as a transition to Independent Hospital Trusts”. This report was approved by Irish Cabinet in May 2013. As Head of the College of Medicine and Health John is the Acting Chief Academic Officer for the South/ South West Hospital Group.

Dr Colman Casey- Director, Health Innovation Hub Ireland
Dr Tanya Mulcahy- Manager, Health Innovation Hub Ireland
Mr Noel Murphy- Biomedical Engineer HSE and Health Innovation Hub Ireland,
Ms Gillian O’Mahony- Research Support Officer, Health Innovation Hub Ireland.
Ms Audrey Desmond, Clinical Liaison and Project Manager, Health Innovation Hub Ireland

Mr Daithi Fallon, Head of Department of BioMedical Engineering, CIT, Director of Medic

Professor Martin O’Donnell, Professor of Translational Medicine at NUIG
Dr Martin O’Halloran, Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Medical Electronics, NUIG
Professor Mark Bruzzi, Professor of BioMedical Engineering, NUIG, Programme Director, BioInnovate, NUIG
Professor Timothy O’Brien, Consultant in Endocrinology and Metabolism, UHG, Dean of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUIG

Professor Seamus Donnelly, Professor in Clinical Medicine, TCD, Head of Department, Tallaght Hospital
Professor Michael Gill, Professor of Psychiatry, TCD, Director and PI of the Dublin Centre for Clinical Research
Mr Dan Maher, Business Development, TCD