Ulster University becomes major medtech hub with new £7m lab

4 Sep 2017

From left: Prof Brian Meenan, Ulster University; Tracy Meharg, Invest NI; Prof Jim McLaughlin, Ulster University; and Stuart McGregor, Randox Laboratories. Image: Invest NI

Ulster University has established itself as a major centre of biotech with the opening of a new multimillion-pound biodevices lab.

The new £7m Advanced Biomedical Engineering Laboratory has been established at the Ulster University campus, announced as part of a partnership between Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI), Ulster University, Randox Laboratories and HeartSine Technologies.

According to Invest NI, the centre will offer expertise and state-of-the-art equipment to assist companies to develop prototypes for the biomedical, engineering, electronic device and aerospace sectors.

Out of a total investment of £7.3m, Invest NI said it contributed £3.7m through a grant for R&D, with Ulster University investing £2.9m and the remaining £716,000 coming from Randox and HeartSine.

Welcoming the new lab, Tracey Meharg, Invest NI’s executive director of business solutions, said: “The new biodevices lab is a welcome and exciting development for Northern Ireland’s health and life sciences sector.

“The facility will open up opportunities for stronger innovation by hosting a suite of equipment, which will allow companies to quickly develop prototypes and medical devices for testing.”

Will work with recent medtech centre

Ulster University’s Prof Jim McLaughlin was equally pleased with its opening, saying: “Developing technology platforms to help translate our world-class science and discovery to a device format as promptly as possible is essential for the very best design and performance.

“The lab will enable our researchers to develop the strong leadership and innovation skills so critical to future industry growth, working in collaboration with our industry partners.”

It marks the second new centre at Ulster University in the space of a few months after it unveiled a £2m medtech centre in May.

The centre will now look to the biodevices lab to provide equipment that can facilitate the conversion of medical device ideas into working demonstrators in a matter of hours.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic