Vic govt backs medical device scale up facility

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

RMIT will lead a new multi-university and industry medical research and device translation lab at its Melbourne campus after receiving $12.7 million in funding from the Victorian government.

The Victorian Medical Device Prototyping and Scale-Up Facility will aim to develop and commercialise life-saving medical devices, offering a local option to researchers and companies currently forced overseas.

An instant sensor to detect COVID-19, smart bedding for aged care and health monitoring and diagnostic wearables will be among the initial projects at the design and manufacturing facility.

Sleeptite CEO Cameron van den Dungen, RMIT Vice-Chancellor Professor Alec Cameron, Higher Education minister Gayle Tierney, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation Professor Calum Drummond

Announced Monday, the Victorian Medical Device Prototyping and Scale-Up Facility is expected to be open by mid next year and focus on medical wearables, nearables and flexible technologies.

The Victorian government has pledged $12.7 million in funding for the $16.7 million facility from the $350 million Victorian higher education state investment fund, an initiative established to support universities impacted by the pandemic.

The ISO-accredited facility has been billed as an Australian first, offering the state’s biomedical research sector a place to rapidly translate technology with industry partners.

Startups, small businesses and researchers are expected to collaborate on field and clinical trials, towards regulatory certification and commercialisation at the facility at RMIT’s City campus in Melbourne.

The partners are expected to collaborate on medical wearables, including devices implanted in the body, nearable devices that can sense and send data but do not need to be attached to a person, and ultra light weight flexible devices.

The home-grown technologies have applications across a wide range of care sectors and potential outside of medicine.

“The skills required to design, build, integrate, operate and use data from medical devices cover every sector and will be integral to both economic recovery and sovereign capability,” said RMIT deputy vice-chancellor research and innovation and vice-president, professor Calum Drummond.

“This new facility bridges the gap between research and impact, supporting the deep collaborations we need to accelerate the translation of brilliant ideas into innovative, home-grown technologies.”

Most of the funding for the new facility comes from the million Victorian higher education state investment fund. The fund will provide $12.7m with another $4m coming in cash in kind contributions from partners.

The project consortium includes universities Swinburne, Deakin, Monash, and industry partners Sleeptite, Nutromics, Soterius, Vlepis, nthalmic, Innovative Manufacturing CRC, quality management and design partners Brandwood CKC, Fluffy Spider Technologies, Outerspace Design, Design+Industry and peak bodies the Australian Manufacturing Growth Centre, Cooperative Research Australia, MTP Connect.

The Victorian government will use the same fund to support an electric vehicles applied research facility at RMIT.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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