DCU to host new €5m Fraunhofer ‘lab-on-a-chip’ centre

6 Mar 201722 Shares

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Lab-on-a-chip. Image: science photo/Shutterstock

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DCU is to add a new €5m centre to develop ‘lab-on-a-chip’ technology for the life sciences sector, with the announcement of a new partnership with Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

A new lab-on-a-chip centre at Dublin City University (DCU) will be known as a Fraunhofer Project Centre (FPC) and has been co-funded by the German research institution and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

This includes €2.5m funding from SFI, as well an additional €2.5m to be matched by Fraunhofer over the next five years.

The aim of the FPC will be to focus on contract and collaborative research, and projects addressing cost-efficient design, development and manufacture of microfluidic lab-on-a-chip designs.

Such technologies have increased in applications in recent years, thanks largely to their flexibility and the rapidly decreasing cost of producing them, such as the one announced by the Stanford University Medical Center last month.

The systems to be developed at the DCU centre will aim to enable immediate point-of-use testing of samples such as blood or water.

Among the uses of such chips will include personal healthcare, pharmaceutical production, life sciences research, quality testing in agrifood and environmental monitoring.

‘Translating 21st century breakthroughs in medical research’

By forming a partnership with Fraunhofer, SFI said Irish academia and industry will gain access to the Fraunhofer network of institutes, directly supporting 12 research positions in DCU.

With close ties to research in the UK and North America, Fraunhofer is one of the largest research institutes of its kind, employing 24,500 staff in 69 institutions and research units at locations throughout Germany.

Prof Jens Ducrée, director of the new FPC, said: “This FPC at DCU is geared to provide modern lab-on-a-chip technologies for translating 21st century breakthroughs in medical research and the life sciences into reality for the direct benefit of people’s health and lives.”

DCU’s president Prof Brian MacCraith added: “This exciting partnership with the renowned Fraunhofer Institute will amplify the transformative impact of DCU’s expertise in the application of microfluidics to the life sciences.

“Impact and transformation, both societal and economic, are central to our research vision, and the mutual benefits of this new collaboration will deliver impact that transcends geographical boundaries.”

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Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com