Murray, UMass Lowell Announce Global Health Collaboration with N. Ireland

M2D2, University of Ulster to Work Together to Assist Medical Device Developers

10/23/2012


Media contacts: Laura Schroeder, Senate President’s Office, 617-722-1500 or Christine Gillette, UMass Lowell, 978-934-2209, or Christine_Gillette@uml.edu

BOSTON – Senate President Therese Murray and UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan today joined a delegation representing Northern Ireland and the University of Ulster to announce a new research partnership advancing international collaboration in the fast-growing field of eHealth and medical technology.

In an agreement presented at the State House to more than 400 health care leaders from 24 countries, 21 states and Washington, D.C., the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Northern Ireland’s University of Ulster launched a collaborative research relationship focusing on medical innovations and business models for cross-networking entrepreneurship.

“What starts off as a small connection can make a big impact, and that’s why I am very happy to announce this exciting collaboration,” Senator Murray said. “The agreement these two leading institutions have signed is the result of shared goals and a desire to capitalize on research advancements each has made in the areas of medical device technologies and innovation. This partnership will provide a mutual benefit to both Massachusetts and Northern Ireland and will lead to new opportunities and growth in medical science that will benefit everyone.”

“Fostering international relationships with key allies is critical in positioning Massachusetts at the forefront of cutting edge scientific research and business development,” Chancellor Meehan said. “This agreement between UMass Lowell and the University of Ulster represents a tremendous step forward for the global medical device industry, bringing experts on both sides of the Atlantic together to benefit both the United States and Northern Ireland.”

“The research of MATCH at the University of Ulster has demonstrated that Business Model Innovation is critical for bringing technology to the market place in health care,” said Dr. Michael Brennan, Senior Lecturer on Strategic Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Strategy at the University of Ulster. “The UMass Lowell and University of Ulster collaboration will explicitly research how entrepreneurs bring such technologies to the market in different ecosystems, share best practices and create opportunities for business development.” 

“This is a very significant development which not only recognizes the qualities, expertise and skills in both Northern Ireland and Massachusetts, but also plays a vital role in bringing state-of-the-art technology and innovation to market more quickly,” Northern Ireland Health Minister Edwin Poots said.

"Through this partnership with the University of Ulster, companies that work through M2D2 will have best practices to follow to move their products from concept to market even more quickly," said Dr. Stephen McCarthy, co-director of M2D2 and a professor of plastics engineering at UMass Lowell.

Inspired by an international connected health panel discussion hosted by Senator Murray last year at the State House, members of UMass Lowell and the University of Ulster recognized an opportunity to develop a working relationship that would cross international lines, build on individual achievements and open new doors.

The collaboration will identify specific research alignments that will link medical industrial clusters to advance innovations in biomedical science, engineering and other areas of medical science. It will also develop cooperative research and training programs for faculty and students at the two learning institutions that will result in joint publications and foster future research and collaborations.

The collaborative research announcement was part of the two-day EU-US eHealth Marketplace conference at the State House, Oct. 23rd and 24th, where public and private sector health care innovators from across Europe and the United States are gathering to generate business opportunities and relationships among participating companies, organizations and countries. The Marketplace conference includes presentations from international health care leaders, panel discussions, a formal matchmaking program, exhibition space and a medical device demonstration.

The Marketplace conference today also updated two previous collaborations on cutting-edge research in regenerative biology and non-invasive evaluations of premalignant lesions.

The first was announced at the 2011 BIO International Convention in Washington, D.C. by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland and the University of Tampere in Finland to advance developments in tissue engineering and open new avenues for economic development in the three regions. The universities are now providing student exchanges as part of a major project grant submission.

The second was announced this summer at the 2012 BIO International Convention in Boston by Dr. Ramon Franco of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary to develop more cost-effective diagnoses of premalignant lesions and non-invasive evaluations that could save patients from unnecessary surgeries. Dr. Franco’s research was awarded funding through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center with additional resources from Northern Ireland and Finland, including doctors and researchers.

For more information about the EU-US Marketplace conference, please visit the website www.b2match.eu/eu-us-ehealth-marketplace/pages/homeome. For more on M2D2, visit www.uml.edu/m2d2.