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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Australian-first hub to transform medtech development ecosystem

Health Industry Hub | July 4, 2023 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: An innovative project aims to accelerate the development of the medical technology sector, enhancing the Victoria’s advanced manufacturing capabilities, creating skilled job opportunities, and improving access to cutting-edge medtech for Australians.

With an investment of $10.77 million, the Medtech Skills and Device Hub, an initiative led by the University of Melbourne and supported by the Victorian Government, will serve as a collaborative platform, bringing together businesses, universities, and education providers to develop comprehensive training courses, degrees, and internships in the field of medical technology. The hub’s primary objective is to produce up to a dozen investment-ready startups, generate 1,000 industry-based training places, and support local companies in developing and manufacturing medtech products locally, with an eye on expanding exports to the thriving global market.

The launch event of the hub was honoured by the presence of Victorian Minister for Industry and Innovation Ben Carroll, along with esteemed representatives from the University of Melbourne. Notable figures such as Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor James McCluskey, and Hub Directors Professor Andrea O’Connor and Professor David Grayden, who are from the University’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, were in attendance.

Minister Carroll expressed his enthusiasm for the potential impact of the hub, stating, “Victoria’s medtech sector is a significant player in a booming global market – this Australian-first hub will boost local production, attract investment to Victoria, and train the innovative staff the sector needs for its strong future.”

The Medtech Skills and Device Hub is supported by the Victorian Government’s Australian Medtech Manufacturing Centre and co-funded by the University of Melbourne. It has garnered the support of more than 20 local medtech companies, including prominent names such as Neo-Bionica, Synchron, Seer Medical, and Trajan. Additionally, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology, and the national peak body MTPConnect are also partnering with the hub, with more collaborations expected as the initiative expands.

Expressing gratitude for the Victorian Government’s support and the involvement of various collaborators, University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said, “We are excited about contributing our expertise in education, research, and innovation to the medical technology ecosystem and look forward to supporting the growth of a vibrant industry that will benefit the Australian community and beyond.”

One of the pivotal functions of the hub will be the establishment of the Navigator, a centralised medical device engagement office for Victoria. The Navigator will identify skills gaps, aid in the design of industry-aligned courses, provide guidance to students, and facilitate continuous collaboration between education providers and the industry. It will also offer valuable support to emerging companies within the Victorian medtech ecosystem, providing access to expert professional services such as regulatory advice and commercialisation guidance.

Addressing the critical need to bridge the workforce skills gap in the medtech manufacturing industry, the hub will develop and deliver training programs that cater to both vocational and tertiary education levels. Additionally, it will offer continuing education and professional courses tailored to the specific needs of the sector.

Hub Co-Director Professor Andrea O’Connor emphasised the benefits of co-locating industry, bioengineering, biomedical, and clinical researchers, students, and hospital end-users. “The University is at the forefront of Australian medtech innovation,” she said. “It will be enormously exciting to see innovations nurtured through to commercial production, to benefit the public, new ventures, and Australia’s medtech workforce.”

Professor David Grayden, also a Co-Director of the hub, highlighted the comprehensive ecosystem that the initiative provides to leverage the opportunities within the growing sector. “The Hub will provide a pipeline of ‘work-ready’ employees and address key skills and labour-force gaps that have hindered companies from scaling up domestic manufacturing and bringing products to market.”

The Victorian Medtech Skills and Device Hub will be strategically located within Melbourne’s renowned medical and research precinct at the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery, situated in St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. This location is set to become Australia’s first hospital-based biomedical engineering research centre upon completion of construction in 2024.

Prominent figures from partner organisations shared their thoughts on the initiative. Dr Erol Harvey, CEO of the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery, expressed pride in being the hub’s home and highlighted how it complements their research and activities focused on real-life health needs. Dr Ludovic Labat, CEO of Neo-Bionica, acknowledged the necessity of training initiatives to develop an industry-ready workforce and applauded the Victorian Government for supporting the medtech sector.

Mish Eastman, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Vocational Education and Vice President at RMIT University, highlighted their commitment to collaborate and leverage their advanced manufacturing precinct to provide practical spaces for graduates to work in a manufacturing environment. Professor Rachael McDonald, Director of the MedTechVic Hub at Swinburne University of Technology, welcomed the opportunity to partner with the University of Melbourne and contribute to educating and training the next generation of medtech professionals.

In reimagining healthcare across the entire patient journey, Health Industry HubTM is the only one-stop-hub bringing the diversity of Pharma, MedTech, Diagnostics & Biotech sectors together to inspire meaningful change.

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