Irish people have never been opposed to taking on new and better business approaches from elsewhere. One area particularly ripe for increased commercialisation in this State is the medical devices industry. While our experience of commercialising academic research is still on a learning curve, US universities have been adept at the process for a long time.
When Ian Quinn of BioInnovate Ireland visited Stanford University a few years back, he hoped some of the American entrepreneurial spirit might rub off. It did.
Running in Stanford for 10 years now, the Biodesign Fellowship recruits eight people who, in two groups of four, look into the current needs of the medical device industry.
BioInnovate Ireland, based in NUI Galway, has the same objectives and has just completed its first programme since it began in 2011.
“It’s always a great idea to bridge the gap between academia, industry and innovation, says Quinn.
“In the medical device sector it’s worked at Stanford for years and doesn’t require huge resources.”
In a nutshell, the programme “hot houses” individuals from multidisciplinary backgrounds so they can discover and develop new opportunities for innovative medical devices. Doctors, engineers and business people are brought together to work intensively for one academic year. By the end, the expectation is that new spin-outs will emerge.