DigiBio Innovator's Programme to accelerate digital health innovation in Ireland

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Carl Power, DkIT Programme and Business Development Director; Dr Aoife Gallagher, RCSI Head of Innovation; Aidan Browne, DkIT Head of Business Development and Innovation; Professor Fergal McCaffrey, DkIT; Dr Diarmuid O'Callaghan, DkIT President.

RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences is the core partner on a new €7M DigiBio Innovator’s Initiative Programme, led by Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) in partnership with Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin and the Tyndall National Institute. The programme aims to enhance and accelerate digital health innovation in Ireland.

The DigiBio digital health needs-led innovation programme provides innovators with innovation training, mentorship and direct access to healthcare environments to identify commercially viable opportunities across all stages of the care pathway. 

The DigiBio programme is aimed at high-calibre experienced individuals with clinical, commercial, financial, entrepreneurial and/or technical backgrounds. Through the programme’s 'learn by doing' approach, participants will become highly skilled innovators who will learn to identify and select unfulfilled market needs. This in turn will lead to new product and process ideas, ultimately with a view to commercialisation through the creation of high-potential digital health start-ups. 

Opportunities for digital solutions will include areas such as mobile health, health information technology, AI, digital therapeutics, wearable devices, telehealth, telemedicine, and personalised medicine. Access to expertise and mentorship in these areas will be available through the consortium partners. 

The DigiBio Post Graduate Diploma programme will run annually commencing in September 2024 with participant recruitment starting early in 2024. Participants will receive a stipend of €38k and will be required to participate full time in the 10-month programme. 

DigiBio is supported under the Innovators’ Initiative Programme co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the Southern, Eastern and Midland Regional Programme 2021-2027. 

Research activities

Professor Fergal O’Brien, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences said: “RCSI is delighted to be a partner in the DigiBio programme. The programme aligns with our mission to ‘educate, nurture and discover for the benefit of human health’ and our strategy to maximise economic and societal impact from our research activities. We look forward to enabling the programme by providing access to Clinical Champions and immersive environments spanning the healthcare continuum, aligned with our core strengths and with an initial focus on primary care.” 

Dr Diarmuid Callaghan, President DkIT said: “We are delighted Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) in partnership with RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences has secured this meaningful investment for the DigiBio programme. This investment leverages DkIT’s digital health focussed research, innovation, education and business supports, which include the dConnect Digital Health Innovation Hub, the Connected Health & Wellbeing Industry Cluster, the Regulated Software Research Centre, the Netwell Casala research centre and School of Informatics and Creative Arts. We welcome the opportunity to work alongside the progressive partners that the DigiBio programme brings to realise its ambition.” 

Aidan Browne, Head of Business Development and Innovation at DkIT added: "This investment is a welcome endorsement of the calibre of work at DkIT with partners and stakeholders over the last number of years with a vision of creating a digital health innovation ecosystem. Digital health innovation is a critical area of focus nationally, and we are excited to launch the DigiBio Innovator's Programme to foster innovation in this space. We believe that this programme will help identify and develop the next generation of digital health innovators who will drive growth and create new opportunities in Ireland and beyond. "