Thursday, 11 February 2016The Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA), the Ibec group that represents the medical technology sector, today published an ambitious strategy for 2020: ‘The Global Medtech Hub’. During the recent economic crisis, the medtech industry continued to expand and experienced 7% export growth reaching €8.5 billion. This steady growth which accounts for 9% of all Irish exports has now been bolstered as the recovery takes hold in the domestic economy. IMDA has identified key priorities to ensure Ireland is innovating for future healthcare and economic growth, including:
Drive our future: Identify and influence key areas of focus such as trade barriers, skills needs, and changes to the business environment.
Achieve the potential of the cluster: Assist companies utilise the cluster to expand and achieve their potential developing new technologies from concept to market.
Use technological innovations to help patients: Facilitate cooperation between sectors such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and ICT and realise the potential for advanced, additive and cell manufacturing.
Nurture entrepreneurship: Develop policies and conditions to ensure entrepreneurship can thrive, such as facilitating new funding opportunities.
IMDA Director Sinead Keogh said: "With more than 27,000 people now working in the sector, Ireland is one of the largest employers of medtech professionals in Europe. Another 2,000 jobs have been announced since 2014, but that's not enough, we want to make sure that Ireland is an attractive place to work, because the more these companies expand, the greater the skills needs. In the broader Irish economy, employment is around 2 million for the first time since 2009 and changes in migrations are seeing more people coming to Ireland than leaving.
"Ireland's medtech sector is diverse and can offer people rewarding careers developing and producing lifesaving technology. Programmes such as the IMDA Skillnet have proven to be successful in giving people the skills they need to start new careers with 4,000 people trained to date. Manufacturing is the second largest employer in Ireland, and IMDA is delighted to have successfully gained approval for two major new apprenticeships for technicians and engineers.
"One exciting new area which has the potential to not only create jobs, but also take pressure off our overburdened healthcare system, is connected health. Technological advances are creating new ways for healthcare to deliver better results for patients. These innovations require more, dedicated investment in R&D. However, with 10 out of 10 top global technology companies having bases in Ireland, we are uniquely placed to become a leader in this emerging area. IMDA will step up its activities to support collaboration between industries such as ICT to drive innovation among Irish businesses."
IMDA Chairman and VP, Manufacturing, Global Joint Reconstruction DePuy Orthopaedics Worldwide James Winters said: "The global medtech industry is expected to reach €475 billion in 2018. Ireland may be a small country, but we're a big player in the industry with 18 of the world's top 25 medtech companies located here. The move to value-based healthcare is revolutionising the commercial model used by healthcare systems across the world. The industry in Ireland must now adapt to these changes, so that it can continue to compete and be a global leader. Advanced medical technologies allow doctors to make an early diagnosis of diseases such as cancer and reduce recovery times for surgeries. New innovations in medtech save and improve lives, but we must do more to adapt to changes in international markets to be a global medtech hub."