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University of Ulster Emeritus Professor and leading medical engineering entrepreneur, Professor John Anderson, was  honoured at last night's Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP) CONNECT £25K Awards, for his contribution and dedication to the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation in Northern Ireland

Professor Anderson, who is qualified in both medicine and engineering, was responsible for the development of the world’s first truly portable defibrillator, which was subsequently manufactured and sold throughout the world. Today, Professor Anderson is best known as founder and Chief Technology Officer of HeartSine® Technologies Inc., a world leader in life-saving defibrillation therapy.  He is also a founder of Intelesens, the manufacturer of world-leading body-worn vital sign monitoring devices.

Recognising the need for continuous advancement in research, Professor Anderson formed the Northern Ireland Bio-Engineering Centre (NIBEC), at University of Ulster (Jordanstown), and was its first Director. He was also the Head of the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at that University.

NISP CONNECT’s £25K Awards are sponsored by Bank of Ireland, Invest NI, University of Ulster, Queen’s University Belfast, and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), and aim to identify local talent and offer a platform to launch the ‘Next Big Thing’ in intellectual property from within the NI publicly-funded research base. 

Speaking at the event, Professor Anderson shared his own entrepreneurial journey from designing the portable defibrillator to his role in ten start-up companies in the field of medical engineering.

 Professor Anderson said he had always subscribed to the belief that in Northern Ireland has some of the most innovative and creative minds around.

“I am delighted to be joining the £25K Awards event to celebrate and showcase the latest intellectual capital to come forward. It is a great honour to be recognised in this way and I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with the next batch of innovation entrepreneurs, many of which certainly have the potential to compete on the global stage.” 

His message to the entrepreneur community was a simple one: "Stay the course, and you will achieve success." And he recalled the words of defibrillator pioneer the late Professor Frank Pantridge: " We are all born equal - but some of us overcome it."

According to Ulster’s Pro Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation, Professor Norman Black, the role played by Professor Anderson in the development of Medical Engineering in general and Bio Engineering in particular with Northern Ireland should not be under estimated.  

He said: “When inter-disciplinary research of this nature was in its infancy, Professor Anderson's drive, determination and vision proved the catalyst in overcoming  the significant difficulties.  Today we can see the fruits of his leadership in the NIBEC research facility which is recognised around the world as a leading centre for medical and other related technologies.”

NISP CONNECT Director, Steve Orr said: “It is a great honour to have one of Northern Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs and innovators join us at the 25K Awards, a competition where we hope to inspire the innovative entrepreneurs of tomorrow. 

"Each year we aim to find and showcase ‘the next big thing’ from within the NI publicly-funded research base, the hottest revolutionary intellectual property concepts capable of becoming commercialised business products.

“Professor Anderson is a person with many talents rarely found in one individual. He is qualified in both medicine and engineering and with vast experience and insight will undoubtedly prove invaluable to all those in attendance at the event, never mind our short-listed entrants. We are very pleased to be honouring his ongoing commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation in Northern Ireland.”

The event is sponsored by Bank of Ireland, Invest NI, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Ulster and the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).