The future of Irish MedTech

Posted Jun 21, 2017

The Irish Life Sciences sector (Pharma, Biotech and Med Device) has grown rapidly over the last 10 years and this phenomenal growth looks set to continue into the foreseeable future. Sometimes with all the numbers and job announcements it is hard to see the detail behind all that is happening. Given that we are in Medtech week let’s focus on Medical device in Ireland and it’s growth and importance to the Irish economy.

  • Medtech exports in 2006 were €3Bn and grew to €12.6Bn by 2016
  • In 2000 the Medical Device sector was made up of 75 companies, now in 2017 there are 450 Medtech companies in Ireland, of which 80% are SMEs
  • Over 29,000 persons employed in the sector (June 2016)
  • 4,000 new jobs forecast between 2016-2020
  • In the past 10 years employment in Medtech has risen by 33%
  • Second largest exporter of Medtech products in Europe (ranked by GDP)

The future for the Life sciences industry in Ireland and the Medtech sector in particular is extremely exciting. We have all the ingredients to be at the leading edge of a new era in human health, innovation and development. Steve Jobs in an interview shortly before his death said “I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning.” In the Irish Medtech association report “Medtech rising” the Chairman of the Irish Medtech Association, James Winter (VP manufacturing, Depuy Synthes) pointed out that Ireland is perfectly placed to catch this wave of innovation and exploration. “With 10 of the top 10 ICT companies, 9 of the top 10 Biopharma companies and 18 of the top 25 major Medtech players, we’re uniquely positioned to become a leader in both connected health and drug delivery systems”. A key enabler in the future of connected health and new drug delivery paradigms is the Medtech technology that brings the IT systems and life-saving drugs together. This convergence offers enormous and exciting opportunities for future engineers and scientists as they move from their labs and offices into hospitals and clinics to understand how the delivery of care works and can be met more efficiently and effectively. The Bioinnovate program  is an example of how hospitals, universities and industry are working together in a collaborative environment to find solutions to unmet clinical needs. The Medtech sector has also shown that it is not overly dependent on FDI and overseas multinationals to grow, with Irish owned SMEs making up over 80% of the companies in the sector. There is also a wide geographical spread of Medtech companies with hubs in Waterford, Cork, Limerick, Ennis, Galway, Sligo, Athlone and Dublin. All of this has been made possible because of the quality and calibre of the Irish workforce. The IMD World Competitive Yearbook 2017 ranks Ireland 1st for labour productivity and efficiency, and adaptability and flexibility of workforce. Adaptability and flexibility are key to a small open market economy such as Ireland being able to compete on the global stage. The next industrial revolution has begun and Irish Medtech companies are right there at the forefront of INDUSTY 4.0. If you’re looking for a career at the cutting edge of Medical Device contact us at LSC today.