DkIT Secures Major Innovation Boost for North East with €4.7M Investment in New Connected Health & Wellbeing Hub

Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) has unveiled plans to establish a new centre of excellence in the area of Connected Health & Wellbeing for the North East Region.

DkIT launches New Institute of Connected Health and Wellbeing

Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) has unveiled plans to establish a new centre of excellence in the area of Connected Health & Wellbeing for the north east region. The new centre will be delivered as part of the DkIT Connect project which aims to grow the existing Connected Health & Wellbeing ecosystem within the region and stimulate new opportunities for entrepreneurship, research and innovation.   

The DkIT Connect Project received €3.7M funding via the Enterprise Ireland Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF).   Investment was also secured via partners and benefactors including DkIT, Louth County Council, Dundalk Enterprise Development Company, Servisource, STATSports, Dundalk Credit Union, the Louth Enterprise Fund and Intact Software.   

Connected healthcare is one of the fastest growing markets worldwide and is expected to reach a market value of approximately US$ 6.6 billion by 2027 (Acumen Research and Consulting, May 2020). Ireland has significant capability in this sector with many successful companies located in the north east region. DkIT Connect aims to leverage the growth opportunity for this market and cultivate an industry-led initiative supporting start-ups and scale-up companies to grow and collaborate with multi-national enterprises and other companies based in the region. The project is anticipated to generate more than 460 direct and indirect jobs over 5 years, which will produce important social and economic benefits for the region. 

Part of the project includes a major expansion of the Regional Development Centre (RDC), DkIT’s on-campus centre for business engagement, innovation and research. The expansion will include the development of a dedicated 1300m2 collaboration hub with a remit to support start-ups, businesses, and researchers in the Connected Health & Wellbeing sector together under one roof. When completed, the new centre will be one of the largest campus-based innovation centres on the island of Ireland. Construction of the new facility will commence in 2021 and will include a mix of various own door offices, state-of-the-art co-working areas and shared learning spaces.   

Companies selected to join the centre, will participate in a structured development programme, led by a fully resourced DkIT Connect team. They will also receive technological, innovation and commercial supports, in addition to fast track access to national and international expertise.  

President of DkIT, Michael Mulvey, PhD, stated:  

“DkIT Connect is a step-change project that has the potential to transform the entrepreneurial, research and innovation landscape of our region and position the north east as a global leader in the area of Connected Heath & Wellbeing. The project builds on existing strengths in research, innovation and enterprise support within DkIT and is a strong endorsement of the vision from the public-private partnership involved to develop the Connected Health & Wellbeing ecosystem in the region. We firmly believe that this will be a catalyst for innovation in indigenous companies, both start-ups and existing businesses and will continue to bring about positive transformation for our region by supporting job creation,  enhancing leadership development and creating opportunities for upskilling. It will ultimately improve the overall competitiveness of North Leinster-South Ulster.” 

Aidan Browne, Head of Innovation & Business Development at DkIT and lead coordinator of the DkIT Connect project added, 

“The initiative is a cornerstone of the DkIT strategic plan and will strive to increase dynamism and agility of industry in this sector enabling upstream and downstream interaction between the SME community and FDI companies helping create, validate and commercialise a pipeline of products, services, business models and methods that will enable Irish research, start-ups and existing SMEs to move up the value chain and become high growth trajectory companies who can compete in new markets, partner with new customers and access new consumer opportunities.”