New backing for medical devices brings R and D and industry together

The development and production of high-tech medical devices in South Australia will enter a dynamic new phase with the establishment of a $3.3 million program, based at Flinders University. Flinders will play a lead role in the Medical Devices Partnering Program, which will bring together university researchers with commercial backers, manufacturers and end-users of medical assistive technology.

A funding grant of $565,000 from the Premier’s Science and Research Fund for the new program was announced on in December. Additional funding will be supplied by the program’s partners, including a significant contribution from the Office for the Ageing.

The Medical Devices Partnering Program is a collaborative initiative that will enable the early involvement of all the relevant parties in identifying clinical needs and levels of demand for medical devices, and will also streamline the complex process of bringing new products to the market.

Associate Professor Reynolds (pictured), who heads Flinders University’s medical devices research cluster, said that Flinders already has a strong research and development record in the field, with a number of devices designed at the University currently in commercial production. These include the Epidural Injection Simulator, a device that allows trainee anaesthetists to practise administering spinal injections with a high degree of realism and without risk to patients. The new Program will also have the benefit of the expertise of the University’s commercialisation arm, Flinders Partners.

Associate Professor Reynolds said the Program will promote consultation and co-ordination between researchers, industry and organisations representing end-users of medical devices. Some 26 companies in South Australia are involved in the manufacture of medical devices, and the high demand for assistive technology is growing steeply, thanks to Australia’s ageing population.

“The program builds on current capability in South Australia,” Associate Professor Reynolds said.

“It will comprise a world-class research team, the equipment and facilities to undertake medical device development and prototyping, and will be a driver to manage and coordinate targeted medical device projects across the State.”

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