NUI Galway establishes CÚRAM as a global hub of research expertise in medical device technology to strengthen the Irish medtech industry which employs 29,000 people. The centre's aim is to develop devices for a multitude of chronic illnesses
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Ireland’s positon as one of the top medtech clusters in the world has been bolstered with the official launch of CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices. CÚRAM, a Science Foundation Ireland research centre based at NUI Galway and previously profiled in the Engineers Journal, is a unique symbiotic relationship of academia and industry partners that pushes the scientific frontiers in medical devices.

CÚRAM represents investment of €49 million over six years from Science Foundation Ireland and industry.  In just over 18 months, this support has already been used to leverage a further €19 million in funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, over €4.3 million of which has been awarded directly to indigenous Irish industry.

Some of the 24 indigenous Irish and multi-national companies partnering with CÚRAM include Aerogen, Arch Therapeutics, Aquila Bioscience, Boston Scientific, Collagen Solutions, Cook Medical, Medical Energetics, Medtronic, Mylan, Neograft, Neosurgical, Neuravi, Ocean Harvest Technology, Spraybase, Stem Cell Technologies, Stryker Instruments and Viscus Biologics.

“The medtech sector is hugely important to the Irish economy with over 400 companies based here, it accounts for over 29,000 jobs and is responsible for €12.6 billion worth of exports. I am delighted to launch CÚRAM a world class research centre which will be very significant for our society and our economy,” said Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation  Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

“CÚRAM will also play a key role in ensuring that world class skills will be available to companies in Ireland as it is here to futureproof the medtech industry by providing access to unparalleled scientific expertise and innovation.”

Global demographic shifts mean we are living longer, but with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and heart disease. The research approach at CÚRAM is collaborative, multidisciplinary and informed from all perspectives so that it translates from basic research to clinical application as efficiently and quickly as possible.

“Chronic diseases are the particular focus of CÚRAM’s research.  Working with industry partners and clinicians, we will better understand the ‘hostile environment’ of the body and advance medical devices to the next stage where they mimic the body’s biology. We want to launch devices which are more effective for the individual patient, but more affordable to lessen the burden on healthcare systems worldwide,” said Professor Abhay Pandit, scientific director of CÚRAM.

CÚRAM brings together strands of biomedical science which have come of age over the last decade including glycoscience, biomaterials science, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, drug delivery and medical device design.

“Bringing together expertise from various fields leads to tantalising possibilities,” continued Professor Pandit. “In the long-term we may have minimally invasive injections instead of operations for back pain, electrodes which degrade within the body over time, or 3D printed muscles and tendons. This will not happen overnight, but the unparalleled combination of scientific, industry and clinical and regulatory expertise which CÚRAM facilitates will get us there in the coming years.”

CÚRAM has six academic partners including UCD, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, University College Cork, The Royal College of Surgeons Ireland and NUI Galway where it is based. CÚRAM has over 250 researchers engaged in current projects both in collaboration with industry and on blue-sky research.

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Ireland’s positon as one of the top medtech clusters in the world has been bolstered with the official launch of CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices. CÚRAM, a Science Foundation Ireland research centre based at NUI Galway and previously profiled in the Engineers Journal, is a unique...