National University of Ireland Galway has come first in class in winning a €2.1 million grant from the EU – ahead of 71 other competitors – to develop a research programme in medical devices.
The university’s Cúram research centre for medical devices developed the programme which will see 31 two-year postdoctoral fellowships granted over the next four years.
Known as “MedTrain”, it gives researchers a chance to develop their entrepreneurial side in bringing discoveries out of the lab and into commercial products. The fellowships include industrial participation, allowing a real prospect of the research reaching the market.
The fellow is allowed to choose their research topic, provided it falls within the remit of Cúram, and also the company that will co-host them during the two-year programme.
This was an ideal programme for anyone wishing to “diversify their skill set”, said Professor Abhay Pandit, scientific director of Cúram at NUI Galway.
“This will be a really valuable opportunity,” he added.
Fellows will work in medical device research and development, which includes areas such as tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, biomaterials, drug delivery and computational modelling.
The scientists who take up the fellowships will find a ready market for their skills.
The medical devices sector is huge in Ireland, with 160 companies producing goods worth €6.8 billion annually while employing 24,000 people.
The Science Foundation Ireland Cúram centre is based in Galway but includes other academic partners including University College Cork, University College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Fellows can choose to be based at any of these centres and are seconded to companies involved in similar research.
The programme also provides for mentoring with access to experts and to state- of-the-art facilities in support of the fellow’s research.
Funding comes from the EU via the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions Scheme within the Horizon 2020 science budget.