Collaboration between engineers and medical professionals leads to innovative products that not only help patients, but also benefit the Irish economy, according to John O’Dea
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Engineers Ireland’s new president aims to highlight engineers’ contribution to the betterment of health and promote greater involvement of engineers in the medtech sector, it was announced at the organisation’s 2013 Annual General Meeting on 13 June.

On taking his chain of office from outgoing president Michael Phillips, John O’Dea, chief executive of Galway-based medical devices company Crospon, said he wanted to highlight the engineering start-ups that are innovating in a variety of areas such as stroke management, cancer treatment, orthopaedics and surgery, among others.

“Working in this [medtech] industry affords the best of both worlds, having the ability to better the healthcare of many more patients that one could ever hope to encounter in medical practice,” said O’Dea. “Engineers play a vital role in working with physicians to develop and mature ideas into commercial reality.”

According to the new president, another area for review over his presidency would be the title of associate engineer, as the routes to titles are set to change. “The role of CPD will take on an even greater significance as mandatory CPD is introduced in the coming years as part of greater regulation of the profession,” O’Dea added. “Much work lies ahead in putting in place the infrastructure to support the logging of CPD credits.”

He also highlighted the upcoming revision of the Medical Devices Directive, which will set out the requirement for a ‘qualified person’ in every manufacturing facility. This role already exists within the pharmaceutical sector, but will be introduced in the medical devices sector once the new Directive is enacted. “Considerable progress has been made at Engineers Ireland in having changes tabled which, if accepted in Brussels, would see the chartered engineer title lead to automatic presumed compliance with the requirement for a qualified person,” according to the new president.

O’Dea also welcomed Bill Grimson as incoming vice president and expressed his thanks to past presidents Martin Lowry, PJ Rudden and Michael Phillips for their counsel and advice over the past number of years.

John O’Dea holds bachelor and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and a PhD in electronic engineering from University College Dublin, and an MSc in clinical research from NUI Galway. Prior to founding Crospon, he served as general manager of Respironics Ireland. He has also held R&D management positions in Nellcor Puritan Bennett and engineering positions in Digital Equipment Inc and Dataproducts Inc. 

O’Dea is currently adjunct professor at the School of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, where he is chair of the External Advisory Board for the Irish Regenerative Medicine Institute. He is also chair of the Irish Medical Devices Association.

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Engineers Ireland’s new president aims to highlight engineers’ contribution to the betterment of health and promote greater involvement of engineers in the medtech sector, it was announced at the organisation’s 2013 Annual General Meeting on 13 June. On taking his chain of office from outgoing president Michael Phillips, John O’Dea,...