Ireland’s new Connected Health & Wellbeing Cluster officially launched at DkIT

One of 12 Enterprise Ireland-funded Clusters nurturing strategic collaboration

A new Connected Health & Wellbeing Cluster was launched on November 4th at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) which supports Ireland’s ambition to become a global leader in the sector that merges the latest technology with established healthcare solutions.  The new Enterprise Ireland-funded cluster will encourage and facilitate increased collaboration between industry (indigenous and FDI), academia, healthcare providers, and enterprise support agencies. Connected Health is a broad area that encompasses a variety of terms including e-health, m-health and telehealth and captures everything from electronic patient records, remote monitoring, connected devices, digital therapeutics and more.

The national cluster is supported by investment from Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Technology Cluster Fund (RTCF) and is located within the Regional Development Centre at DkIT. Europe has seen a large increase in the number of specialist clusters who have successfully increased the innovation and productivity rates of their members. The RTCF was created with the specific aim of enabling third level institutes to lead on Cluster initiatives that foster increased productivity by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), drives SME competitiveness, and supports internationalisation activity. Members of the Connected Health & Wellbeing Cluster will work together on joint R&D, upskilling, new product development, and targeting of overseas markets.

The CHW Cluster officially launched at a virtual event attended by representatives from industry, academia, healthcare, and the government sector. DkIT President, Michael Mulvey, PhD delivered the opening address, during which he said,

“We are delighted to launch the CHW Cluster.  DkIT has a longstanding reputation for leadership in healthcare, digital health and regulated medical software, and we look forward on building on these competencies through the work of the Cluster. In May, I launched dconnect, the Digital Health Innovation Hub which is also based at DkIT, and this cluster announcement is a further testament to our International standing and our strategic plan. I am particularly delighted that Enterprise Ireland chose to work with regional third level institutes to manage the technology clusters.”  

Aidan Browne Head of Innovation & Business Development added,

“Working together with industry, healthcare, and government partners, the Connected Health & Wellbeing Cluster has an opportunity to develop and grow a world-leading cluster of digital health enterprises across the wider health ecosystem that can generate huge economic and societal benefits for our region and beyond.”

The cluster is led by Breanndán Casey, Education & Outreach Manager, who added,

“Ireland has a strong track record in MedTech, Life Science and Pharma, and with a substantial presence of technology firms here it is perfectly positioned to become a major player in the new era of digitalised healthcare. The members of the Connected Health & Wellbeing Cluster exemplify the wide range of technological and health expertise needed to compete in the emergent sector and includes industry giants like AWS and BD, alongside startups such as aCGT Vector, Soothing solutions and Isaac Care. 

Effective clusters rely on building trust across the wider ecosystem, and I’m delighted that IDA Ireland, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, and the ‘ICT, Health and Ageing’ Research Centres at DKIT have also committed to working within the cluster.   We will harness this expertise by driving collaboration with researchers, innovators, healthcare providers, and corporations to deliver cutting-edge innovation that will unlock untapped potential within the sector.”

Declan Murphy, CEO of Isaac Care, one of the members of the Cluster spoke at the launch on how they have developed new digital remote monitoring products that are increasing in popularity due to technological advancements, changing consumer demand, and an ageing demographic. Speaking at the launch event, he said:

Isaac Care has created a next generation fall alarm that offers peace of mind that someone is always on hand to help. This easy to use pendant allows the user to call for help, whether at home or out and about, and provides the family with real time updates through the Isaac Care app. We’re delighted to join the Connected Health & Wellbeing Cluster and see it a vital support mechanism to support our overseas plans and increase our rate of Innovation”