The laboratory is a strategic partnership between Invest Northern Ireland, Ulster University, Randox Laboratories and Heartsine Technologies. It will offer expertise and state of the art equipment to assist companies to develop prototypes for the biomedical, engineering, electronic device and aerospace sectors.
Welcoming the new lab, Tracey Meharg, Invest NI’s Executive Director of Business Solutions said:
“The new BioDevices Lab is a welcome and exciting development for Northern Ireland’s Health & Life Sciences sector. The facility will open up opportunities for stronger innovation by hosting a suite of equipment which will allow companies to quickly develop prototypes and medical devices for testing.
“It is a great example of how partnerships between government, industry and academia can enhance Northern Ireland as a knowledge economy and boost the credibility and visibility of Northern Ireland as a global leader in connected health.”
The total investment is £7.3m. Invest NI has offered assistance of £3.7m through a Grant for R&D, with Ulster University contributing £2.9m and £716,000 invested through industry collaborations with Randox Laboratories and Heartsine Technologies.
Ulster University’s Professor Jim McLaughlin, overall project lead explains,
“Developing technology platforms to help translate our world class science and discovery to a device format as promptly as possible is essential for the very best design and performance.
“In healthcare technology, Ulster University leads the way in the development of new patient monitoring systems, stimulation devices, wearable solutions and diagnostic sensing. The lab will enable our researchers to develop the strong leadership and innovation skills so critical to future industry growth, working in collaboration with our industry partners.”
With medical device technology often requiring up to 20 iterations to reach a competitive solution, this major investment enables research to be carried out in one lab, reducing both costs and time, and enabling life changing interventions to reach the market more quickly.
Dr Peter FitzGerald from Randox Laboratories said:
“As one of the UK’s leading life sciences companies, we are delighted to be a partner in this innovative collaboration and to promote Northern Ireland as a global life sciences hub.
“We believe the greatest improvements to patients’ lives are possible through the continuous development of new technologies. This unique laboratory will facilitate that, as it will allow the rapid development of test prototype devices and also assist us to expand our unique range of high-calibre analyser systems.”
Invest NI’s R&D support is part funded by ERDF under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.