Mark Little to Chair Industry Leaders Panel Discussion at NUI Galway

Monday, 1 March 2010

Building and Maintaining International Industry Clusters: Galway's Medical Devices Cluster

An expert panel of industry leaders, chaired by journalist and broadcaster Mark Little, will discuss the significance of building strong international industry clusters as a critical element in growing economic activity within regional and national economies, at NUI Galway. This open forum discussion, hosted by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics on Thursday, 4 March, will focus on 'Building and Maintaining International Industry Clusters: Galway's Medical Devices Cluster'. The development of the medical device sector in Ireland and particularly the Galway cluster typifies the nature of economic growth that the country has experienced over the past two decades. With fifteen of the world's top twenty medical technology companies having significant international operations in Ireland combined with a smaller base of indigenous companies, they employ an estimated 24,000 people in approximately 140 companies. Research shows there is a significant regional dimension to the Irish medical devices sector with almost 40% of total employment in the sector in the West of Ireland. Panellists taking part in the discussion will include: Paraic Curtis, Managing Director and VP Operations, Boston Scientific (Galway); Mike Devane, Chairman, American Chamber of Commerce R&D Working Group and Partner, Quilly; Jim O'Hara, General Manager, Intel Ireland and VP Technology Manufacturing Group (TMG), Intel Corporation; and Helen Ryan, CEO Creganna Tactx Medical (Galway). Speaking in advance of the event, Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway, said: 'Being export driven with world class product development and manufacturing, combined with strong and vibrant university industry linkages, Galway's medical devices cluster has developed as an exemplar of modern high-tech regional clusters". Research conducted by the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change at NUI Galway provides evidence that the Galway medical devices cluster is characterised primarily by trading linkages on a global scale. The local cluster is vibrant and dynamic with a clustering effect occurring through university-industry linkages, the development of a pool of skilled labour, knowledge transfers in the form of start-up firms, the growth of supplier firms and most significantly, the development of a regional and international reputation through the presence of Boston Scientific and Medtronic President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "This Expert Panel Discussion hosted by the School of Business and Economics is of real interest to national and international economic policy makers. The West of Ireland's biomedical device industry is a great example of successful industry clustering and the sector is now a vital element of our national economy. The collaborative efforts of Industry and University are key to generating the dynamic culture of innovation and commercialisation which distinguishes successful industry clusters. We, in the West of Ireland, are taking full advantage of the strengths in our region to build partnerships which will bring international competitive advantage". For further information or to register to attend this free event please visit http://www.conference.ie.
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