You are reading 1 of 2 free-access articles allowed for 30 days
The funding will come from Enterprise Ireland, while the HSE will provide logistical support.
The Hub has already fostered a number of products and services since it was established on a pilot basis in 2012 at University College Cork (UCC). It has supported 23 projects involving 27 companies including an online tool for GPs to monitor the physical activity of patients via a smartphone or wearable devices; and infection control and hygiene management services.
In addition, it has helped Irish-based companies to sell their technology abroad. Abtran, for example, which was testing an electronic GP referral system, was able to use the knowledge gained to tender for a similar service in a UK Trust.
The funding announcement was made this morning by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton.
Minister Varadkar told journalists that most of the funding was coming from Enterprise Ireland. He said the key supports from the health service will be staff seconded by the HSE and access to services to test products and services.
“It is a good example of joined-up Government,” said Minister Varadkar.
Minister Bruton added that the initiative held great opportunities for healthcare companies in Ireland, as demonstrated during the pilot phase. “If we can successfully test-bed here, we create opportunities to go international,” he said.
Minister Varadkar noted that the wider health sector was a significant employer, with 100,000 employed in the public sector and a similar number working with private healthcare providers, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, the medical devices industry and in research/development.
The Hub has been funded as a pilot project and, following an evaluation, the Government decided to scale up to national level, with direct support from Enterprise Ireland and in-kind support from the HSE. Following a competitive process a consortium led by UCC with partners including Cork Institute of Technology, Trinity College Dublin and NUI Galway was appointed to host the Hub.
A new Hub director will now be appointed, who will guide the initiative through the next five years. The first call for proposals will be made later this year, while a stakeholder advisory group will be established to act as a forum between suppliers and users.