17th March 2022 - Galway, Ireland: Global healthcare technology company Medtronic is to support research into ventilator supply chains and pandemic preparedness in partnership with the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics. This critical project, to futureproof supply lines of medical devices such as ventilators, is led by Insight and the Global Health team in the School of Medicine and School of Nursing at National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway.

‘Pandemic preparedness: Strengthening procurement, supply chain and training methods for ventilators and respiratory support devices’ is a two-year project that will exploit knowledge gained in 2020/2021 as Ireland responded to emergent needs in healthcare settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medtronic, one of the largest healthcare technology companies in the world, rapidly multiplied its production of ventilators at its facility in Galway to meet global demand during the pandemic. The company released full specifications of one of its ventilator designs in a bid to overcome global shortages. 

Ariel Mactavish, President of the Medtronic’s Respiratory Interventions Operating Unit, said, “We are exceptionally proud of the efforts of our Galway employees for leading Medtronic’s response to the global ventilator demand throughout 2020 and 2021. We are honoured to partner with Insight SFI to support this critical research and look forward to leveraging the lessons learned over the past two years with the goal of improving supply chain and pandemic preparedness.”  

This new collaborative project will analyse the performance of ventilator supply chains over the last two years and will develop tools to enhance supply chain resilience for health emergencies to come. The project will also evaluate training materials for nurses without prior experience of managing ventilated patients to support rapid upskilling in a future pandemic. The €300,000 investment is part of Medtronic’s ‘Giving back to Galway’ initiative which has contributed over €900,000 to local projects in Ireland. 

The Global Health team in the School of Medicine is led by Prof Máire Connolly, a Funded Investigator at the Insight SFI Research Centre in NUI Galway. Speaking about the partnership, Prof Connolly said: “Insight and the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences welcome this collaborative venture, and we look forward to developing this crucial area of research for better pandemic preparedness and supply chain resilience in the future.”

Dr Siobhan Roche, Director Science for the Economy, Science Foundation Ireland, said: “I am delighted to welcome this new research collaboration involving the Insight SFI Research Centre and Medtronic. Enhancing the performance of ventilator supply chains will be of significant value in the case of future pandemics, helping to advance global healthcare and offering real-life tangible benefits to our society and economy.”

Prof Noel O’Connor, CEO of the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics, said: “If it wasn't clear before 2019, the events of the last two years have demonstrated the absolute necessity for investing in projects like this to ensure that we are prepared for future pandemics. I am delighted that this project gives Prof Connolly, one of the world's leading academics in pandemic preparedness, the opportunity to partner with a world leading healthcare technology company like Medtronic.”