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Nanotechnology represents a vast field of research and innovation with applications extending from Civil Engineering to Biotech. Allied Market Research estimates that the global Nanotechnology market was valued at $1.76 billion in 2020, which is projected to increase to $33.63 billion by 2030 based on a compound annual growth rate of 36.4 % from 2021 to 2030. However, for such predictions to become reality, industries will need to invest significantly in emergent technologies, particularly in fields including Medtech and Precision Medicine to care for the world’s growing and ageing population.


A key difficulty relating to Nanotechnology research is its cross-disciplinary nature, often requiring the combined expertise of engineers, physicists, chemists and biologists working together to transform fundamental research into viable market products. A further challenge associated with emergent Nanotechnology is the high risk and high cost associated with early-stage research, requiring significant levels of collaboration between industry and academia to ensure economic viability.

Introduction to Ireland's innovation landscape


Whilst the US and China dominate the global Nanotechnology market in terms of financial investment and patent filings, global Tech companies have long taken advantage of Ireland’s highly-educated talent pool, investment structures and collaborative networks between industry and academia. The Irish Government - particularly through Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, the State’s inward investment promotion and development agency - is incentivising companies to establish and expand their R&D operations by cultivating Ireland’s attractive environment in addition to providing financial support in the form of tax credits and grants. For example, the Irish Government spent €952.4 million on supporting R&D in 2021, an increase of 9.9 % over 2020 levels.


In addition to Ireland being home to nine of the world’s top ten Medtech companies and all of the world’s top ten Biopharma and Tech companies, various collaborative programs are further incentivising private investment in Ireland’s R&D sector. As an example, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research Centre (AMBER), hosted at the Crann Institute, Trinity College Dublin, partners with seven of Ireland’s other leading universities and research institutes and provides integrated networks for industrial collaboration with industry-leading Biotech companies.


The US-based Integra Lifesciences is teaming up with researchers at Trinity College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) to develop novel biomaterials and methods for peripheral nerve regeneration and recovery of associated motor or sensory function.


The SFI Research Centre for Chronic and Rare Neurological Diseases, FutureNeuro, hosted at RCSI and partnered with six other of Ireland’s top academic institutions, aims to improve the health and healthcare of people living with neurological diseases. As part of this program, Roche, the world’s largest Biotech company, has partnered with researchers from RCSI to generate new mRNA therapies for treating neurological disorders and paediatric epilepsies.


Whilst programmes such as AMBER and FutureNeuro offer industry the opportunity to collaborate with researchers across multiple academic institutes, allowing them to draw upon a vast pool of cross-disciplinary technical expertise, the Irish landscape offers fertile ground for direct collaboration between industry and academia. For example, Medtronic - the world’s largest medical device company operating across 150 countries - recently announced a €5M five-year innovation partnership with the University of Galway. This aims to expand the University’s Medtech ecosystem by establishing two new research institutes for clinical trials and medical technologies focusing on advanced therapeutics. Speaking on its long-standing collaboration with the University of Galway, Medtronic’s CEO Geoff Martha said: “In our business, scale helps and so Ireland is something we are going to continue to look to expand”.


Supporting innovation at Medtech Rising


The deep connection between Ireland and the global Nanotechnology and Medtech economy is displayed at Ireland’s annual Medtech Rising conference, hosted in Galway on Ireland’s Atlantic coast, which continues to bring together world leaders not only in emergent technologies but also in partnership networks, R&D capacity development and sustainability. Keltie has attended, exhibited at and sponsored Medtech Rising in recent years. We will continue to represent the IP profession at the conference in 2024, showcasing our services to protect the intellectual property assets of academics and industrial innovators not just in Ireland but around the globe.

Continue reading about Ireland: a Growing Innovator in Nanotechnology and Medtech
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