The Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC), Ireland’s largest incubator in the heart of Dublin City and home to more than 160 innovative start-ups, has launched Health@GEC, a unique healthcare innovation cluster that connects and enables greater innovation within the sector by fostering collaboration between start-ups, medical practitioners, patients, and problem-solvers.
Following on from its partnership with St. James’ Hospital (SJH) – Ireland’s largest acute teaching hospital – the GEC hosted an event at the centre to launch and showcase some of the activity already underway and to seek new partners to join this successful ecosystem. Twenty healthcare companies are already engaged with the cluster, ranging from early-stage start-ups to established international organisations.
Innovation projects currently in progress include those focused on specialised clinical research and training, with others involving technologies to support patients – both bedside and outside the hospital setting – alleviating capacity issues which remains a universal challenge faced by healthcare systems worldwide.
The cluster has also attracted interest internationally from non-clinical partners who are eager to participate, as well as major global healthcare players. To date, this has included visits from the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical complex in the world, and the hosting of a visit from the Enterprise Ireland, Global Healthcare Forum earlier this year.
Beyond commercial engagements, the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Programme, a partnership between campus colleagues SJH and Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), has been working with the GEC on a pilot programme whereby a multi-disciplinary team supports adolescents and young adults living with cancer in a non-clinical setting. It also engages with guest speakers and entrepreneurs – all keen to support these young people in an innovative model that may be expanded next year.
In preparation for the opening of the new children’s hospital at SJH campus in Dublin, CHI has also been using the GEC as a base for innovation workshops and upskilling healthcare workers to use Design Thinking to help solve complex challenges. CHI joins Health@GEC as an ecosystem partner, significantly increasing the potential for collaboration and open innovation for the group. The SJH/CHI campus, offering a full suite of ‘womb to tomb’ health services, will rank amongst the largest and most contemporary and comprehensive Academic Health Sciences Centres in Europe – employing in the region of 10,000 persons when fully operational.
Speaking at the event, Orla Veale, Programme Director for the Academic Health Science centre, said:
“St James’ recognises the value of open innovation to ensure it remains a leading healthcare organisation nationally and internationally, but also to continue to meet the needs of our patients into the future.”
Paul Anglim, Health Lead at GEC added: “Health@GEC promotes innovation in heath by linking healthcare providers and institutions with companies and a supporting ecosystem of partners and investors. It is a hub from which innovators can access the network, locations, supports and people to bring their product to market successfully, thereby improving patient outcomes and new product adoption.”
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