Medtronic to fund pandemic preparedness research at NUI Galway

6 Dec 2021

Medtronic CEO and chair Geoff Martha. Image: Medtronic

The medical device company has pledged to support research into ventilator supply chains and pandemic preparedness.

Medtronic is providing funding to support pandemic research and local initiatives in Galway, after its CEO received an award for the company’s contributions during the Covid-19 crisis.

The medical device company’s CEO and chair, Geoff Martha, said during an event at NUI Galway that it would support a pandemic preparedness research project at the university. It is part of Medtronic’s Giving Back to Galway initiative, which has contributed more than €900,000 to local projects.

It comes after Martha received the 2021 Global Achievement Award from the Ireland-US Council last week for his role in overseeing Medtronic as it responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘Medical technology and healthcare services, together with third-level colleges and local groups in Galway, joined forces in an unprecedented way at the height of the pandemic’

In early 2020, Medtronic’s manufacturing plant in Galway began working 24/7 to double its production of ventilators to meet global demand during the pandemic. The company also released the full specifications of one of its ventilator designs in a bid to overcome global shortages.

Medtronic said its Galway plant eventually reached five times its original production levels and that it rapidly mobilised funds and other supports to assist local staff and communities.

“We learned that in the most difficult of times, great things are possible when our staff and their communities rally together”, Martha said. “Medical technology and healthcare services, together with third-level colleges and local groups here in Galway, joined forces in an unprecedented way at the height of the pandemic.”

Funding boost for Galway

The support for NUI Galway includes funding and expertise that will go towards analysing the performance of ventilator supply chains during the pandemic, developing tools to enhance supply chain resilience for the next pandemic and enhancing the upskilling of nursing staff in mechanical ventilation.

“We are incredibly appreciative for all the support we have received from the Irish Government and the IDA, and partners such as NUI Galway, GMIT, Galway County Council and our local community,” Martha added. “The hard work of Medtronic staff and local partners in this respect is a testament to the tremendous community spirit in Galway, and indeed across Medtronic Ireland.”

President of NUI Galway Prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “Our links and engagement with Medtronic complement our values of excellence and openness and we welcome the opportunity to deepen this engagement and association as we pursue learning, research and innovation with a commitment to making a difference locally and globally.”

Medtronic is one of the largest medical device companies in the world, with more than 90,000 employees working across 160 countries. Its products include cardiac devices, surgical robotics, insulin pumps, surgical tools and patient monitoring systems.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic