Healthcare research and development offers global opportunities

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster welcomed the global opportunities presented by the launch of the European Connected Health Campus, in Belfast, today.

The European Connected Health Campus (ECHCampus) is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to bring together the expertise of industry and academia to maximise commercial opportunities arising from healthcare research and development.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister said: “The ECHCampus will position Northern Ireland at the centre of an international collaborative Connected Health network, supporting the Northern Ireland Executive’s focus on developing a strong, knowledge-based economy.

“Northern Ireland has an impressive track record in the ICT and Life Sciences sectors, the combined technologies of which are essential in the emerging Connected Health market. Local universities and companies continue to perform strongly in these areas, with many developing world leading products and concepts that continue to deliver major benefits to the local economy and vastly improve the treatment of chronic illnesses.

“The launch of this ECHCampus will ensure that we have a coordinated, effective method of maximising the commercial potential of local and international expertise and knowledge. The ECHCampus will provide a formal network to support and promote long-term collaborative partnerships between industry and academia. In turn, this will open up further significant global market opportunities in healthcare, for ICT and Life Sciences companies.”

A number of local organisations are working in partnership to support the ECHCampus including Invest Northern Ireland, BioBusiness NI, Momentum, Queen's University, University of Ulster, Titanic Quarter and the Northern Ireland Science Park. In addition, the ECHCampus will link into the research capabilities of a number of local and international private sector companies across Europe and the US.

Eoin Lambkin, Executive Director of the ECHCampus said: “Today’s official launch of the European Connected Health Campus highlights the global challenges of healthcare delivery. Healthcare organisations and governments in all countries are searching for ways to improve services and reduce costs.

“New technologies will provide part of the answer but their effectiveness is dependent on a complex blend of other factors, not least the active engagement of citizens in wellness programmes and greater equality of access to Connected Health services. The ECHCampus will play a major part in developing Northern Ireland’s contribution to the connected health arena.

“We are delighted that Bosch, CA, Bayer and Intel have already joined the ECHCampus as Foundation Members, bringing their international skills and expertise to Northern Ireland. In addition we are delighted to welcome the Continua Alliance, a global organisation representing over 180 companies, the Centre for Connected Health, Boston, USA and the Netwell Centre, Dundalk, Republic of Ireland as our first Alliance Partners.”