Dublin, Ireland, 9 May 2017 - Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen TD, today launched a Fraunhofer Project Centre (FPC) for Embedded BioAnalytical Systems at Dublin City University (DCU), following an investment of €2.5 million by Science Foundation Ireland, in partnership with Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s renowned Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen, Germany.
The Fraunhofer Project Centre for Embedded BioAnalytical Systems will focus on contract and collaborative research, as well as technology development projects addressing cost-efficient design, development and manufacture of microfluidic “Lab-on-a-Chip” technologies. The Science Foundation Ireland investment in the DCU site will be complimented with an additional €2.5 million provided by Fraunhofer to support the partnership over a period of five years.
These technologies will enable immediate ‘point-of-use’ testing of samples, such as blood or water for a wide range of applications, including personal healthcare, pharmaceutical production, life-science research, quality testing in agri-food and environmental monitoring.
Speaking at an event to open the FPC, Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen TD, said: “I am delighted to launch the first Fraunhofer Project Centre to be established in Ireland, at Dublin City University today. As the world-leading organisation for applied research in Europe, the decision by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft to come to Ireland, is evidence of the excellent work being carried out by Science Foundation Ireland and the top scientific talent we are producing. This partnership promises to generate new knowledge ready for commercialisation, which will help create a global competitive advantage for Ireland.”
Also speaking at the launch, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be working jointly with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft to establish the Fraunhofer Project Centre for Embedded BioAnalytical Systems at DCU. This new initiative builds on knowledge and expertise in innovative diagnostics device research, which has been supported by a decade of funding at DCU by Science Foundation Ireland. By growing international partnerships and collaborating with such a world-leading organisation, we are creating significant opportunities for innovation and providing access for Irish academia and industry to the Fraunhofer network of institutes. I am also delighted that the FPC will directly support twelve new research positions.”
For the Fraunhofer IPT, co-operation with the FPC at DCU will extend its international reach and provide access to DCU’s highly recognised techno-scientific expertise, infrastructure and equipment, as well as its many academic and industrial collaborators within Irish-based life science activities and their close links with the UK and North America. Combined with the Fraunhofer IPT's capability for scale-up from prototyping to mass production, this approach will provide ‘fit-for-industry’ solutions, which are vital in supporting innovation and driving national economic success.
Professor Fritz Klocke, Executive Director of the Fraunhofer IPT, said: "The Fraunhofer IPT has the expertise and excellent equipment for the production of microfluidic systems. The partnership with the colleagues in Dublin creates a significant added value for us because this synergy not only contributes to the extension of our design competencies, but also allows us to establish a Fraunhofer Project Centre with distinctly unique features."
Professor Jens Ducrée, Director of the new FPC said: “This Fraunhofer Project Centre at Dublin City University is geared to provide next-generation Lab-on-a-Chip technologies for translating 21st century breakthroughs in medical research and the life sciences into reality for the direct benefit of people’s health and lives.”