dConnect launches at DkIT – Ireland’s first Digital Health & Innovation Hub for Start-Ups & SMEs25 May 2021
A new digital health innovation hub, dConnect has launched today in Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) which will support Ireland’s ambition to become a global leader in the development of digital health solutions. dConnect will act as a bridge between business, the healthcare sector, higher education and society, forging innovative partnerships that will deliver disruptive technologies to revolutionise healthcare as we know it.
The new national hub is supported by investment from Enterprise Ireland and other partners and is located within the soon-to-expand, Regional Development Centre at DkIT. The €4.7Mhub will provide a spectrum of supports for start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) including mentorship, networking, regulatory or technical consultation and commercialisation of research. In addition to its focus on the high-tech indigenous sector, dConnect will collaborate with larger businesses and investors to provide access to innovation and partnership opportunities.
dConnect officially launched today at a virtual event attended by representatives from industry, academia and the government sector. DkIT President, Michael Mulvey, PhD delivered the opening address, during which he said,
“We are delighted to launch the country’s first ever digital health innovation hub, dConnect, here at our campus in North Leinster South Ulster. DkIT has a longstanding reputation for leadership in healthcare, digital health and regulated software, and we look forward on building on these competencies through the formation of dConnect.
Working together with industry and government partners, dConnect has an opportunity to develop and grow a world-leading cluster of digital health enterprises that can generate huge economic and societal benefits for our region and beyond.”
The newly formed dConnect team is comprised of four professionals with expertise across digital health, early-stage investment, software development and entrepreneurship. The hub is led by Angela Duffy, Director of Programmes & Business Development who coordinated today’s launch event.
Speaking today, Ms Duffy added,
“Ireland has a strong track record in MedTech, Life Science and Pharma and with a substantial presence of tech giants here it is perfectly positioned to become a major player in the new era of digitalised healthcare. dConnect will harness this expertise by driving collaboration with researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs and corporations to deliver cutting-edge innovation that will unlock untapped potential within the sector.
At dConnect we firmly believe in the power of digital health to transform today’s healthcare systems and support patient-centred care. We look forward to working with enterprises of all sizes and backgrounds to address some of the industry’s greatest challenges and to create advancements that will improve healthcare for the general population.”
dConnect received €3.7M funding via the Enterprise Ireland Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF). Additional investment was also secured via supporting partners including DkIT, Louth County Council, Dundalk Enterprise Development Company, STATSports, Servisource, Dundalk Credit Union and the Louth Enterprise Fund.
Statsports CEO, Sean O’Connor, grew his world-leading GPS player tracking company from the Regional Development Centre at DkIT. He a passionate supporter of the dConnect initiative and believes that this type of focused engagement and support is essential to the growth of indigenous businesses.
Speaking at the launch event today, he said,
“STATSports history is embedded in both DkIT and the RDC in particular. The dConnect Digital Health is about bringing the best minds, ideas, concepts and technology into one place. We see this as the perfect blend of research, collaboration and commercial drive which is required to have a positive impact on digital health in both Ireland and beyond and we at STATSports are excited to be part of that.”
Also speaking at the launch event, Ronan Kelly, Global Director Smart Factory Lead at Pfizer commented,
"Digitization is critical to progression of the Pharmaceutical / Healthcare industry but it has additional complex challenges that need to be solved, augmenting to better patient care. It is great to see a focus on this at DkIT."
Other Supporting Quotes:
Sinead Keogh, Director, Ibec Medtech & Engineering Sectors added,
“Ireland’s unique ecosystem with leading digital health, medtech, pharma, and tech companies along with key infrastructure supports like dConnect can make us a global digital health powerhouse.
Ireland has the potential to become a leader in the development of digital health solutions, attracting international investment and growth in high-tech indigenous companies.”
Maeve McGrath, Head of Healthcare Innovation at Roche also commented,
“Ireland’s lack of an EHR is actually a unique opportunity to leapfrog straight to newer technologies and build a digital health system that uses data to enable better outcomes for patients.”