Australia opens new research hub to drive technological advances in medical devices

According to a press release by the Australian Research Council (ARC), the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Advanced Manufacturing of Medical Devices (AMMD Hub) is launched at the University of Queensland.

The ARC Research Hub will focus on research partnerships that will develop cost-competitive technologies for the rapid production of medical devices to improve the health of Australians and grow the country’s multibillion-dollar medical devices industry.

The new AMMD Hub is receiving A$2.8 million over five years through the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme, part of the ARC’s Industrial Transformation Research Program. This investment was matched by industry partners, with a total value of more than A$10 million of cash and in-kind funding.

ARC Chief Executive Officer Professor Sue Thomas said the Research Hub will develop new advanced materials, optimise designs and identify improvements in the processes involved in the manufacturing of medical devices, and train the next generation of industry-ready researchers.

She also acknowledged the importance of advanced manufacturing to Australia’s economic future.

“This Research Hub’s industry-focused research collaboration will develop new, advanced materials and processes that will not only lead to tangible health outcomes for Australians, but also drive new technologies and skills that are vital for the competitiveness of Australia’s medical devices industry,” she said.

Researchers based at the University of Queensland’s Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology will work closely with the University of Sydney, RMIT University; and University of the Sunshine Coast; and with partner organisations Cook Medical Australia Pty Ltd; Robert Bosch (Australia) Pty Ltd; Advanced Material Solutions Pty Ltd; Heat Treatment (QLD) Pty Ltd; and Queensland Manufacturing Institute Solutions Limited.

“Working in collaboration with its partnering industry organisations, the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Advanced Manufacturing of Medical Devices will drive the development of competitive technologies such as the rapid production of personalised medical devices,” said Professor Thomas.

“The ARC Research Hub for Advanced Manufacturing of Medical Devices will endeavour to make the production of devices better, faster and more efficient,” she added.

Currently, researchers have already begun work in the area of lean manufacturing to improve the production times of custom-made devices to surgeons. Projects looking at adaptive automation systems, metallic biomaterials and collaborative robotics are also underway.

Other than improving patient health outcomes, the AMMD Research Hub will also grow workforce capability in the medical device industry and increase the translation of new technology.

The Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme aims to foster collaborative research activity between the Australian higher education sector and industry, designed to focus on strategic outcomes that are not independently realisable.

Previously, the ARC Research Hub for Computational Particle Technology and the ARC Research Hub for Nanoscience-based Construction Material Manufacturing were launched at Monash University to focus on collaborative research and development projects to drive industry growth, productivity and competitiveness.

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