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Health Innovation Hub Ireland Opens in the West

Saolta University Health Care Group, NUI Galway and HSE have announced the opening of the newly established ‘Health Innovation Hub Ireland’ based in Galway, which will work with both the Irish health sector and Irish businesses to improve healthcare services. This is a joint national initiative between the Department of Health and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation with a national oversight group chaired by Enterprise Ireland. Health Innovation Hub Ireland is a national entity, led by University College Cork that brings together a partnership of clinical and academic centres in Galway, Cork and Dublin.

Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI) evaluates concepts for healthcare innovation provided from those on the frontline - from clinicians to nurses to porters, and businesses from the health sector. HIHI provides a support structure to healthcare staff to pursue a project from concept, to pilot, to implementation stage. Similarly, any company that has a product that can significantly enhance healthcare can work with the HIHI team who will match individuals and companies with the relevant clinical teams, while overseeing a study testing each product in an Irish clinical setting.

Health Innovation Hub Ireland has three pillars:

  • For the healthcare community, HIHI has an open door policy and provides the support structures to develop ideas that will improve patient care. 
  • For companies, HIHI connects enterprise with Ireland’s leading healthcare professionals who will pilot and test innovative products, services and devices.
  • HIHI wants to embed an innovation culture in Irish healthcare. HIHI education programmes, designed for HSE staff, will empower problem solvers and convert thinking into action.

Aisling Dolan, Manager of Health Innovation Hub Ireland in Galway, said, “We are delighted to have our new office here in the West, located at the Lambe Translational Research Facility on the grounds of University Hospital Galway and beside NUI Galway, providing access to both clinicians and academic experts in healthcare and medical devices. We have a full team in place and welcome innovative ideas from both healthcare individuals and healthcare companies.”

John R. Higgins Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork, Clinical Director for Maternity Services, South/Southwest Hospital Group and HIHI Lead Principal Investigator said, “I am delighted to see the team at HIHI expanding to NUI Galway and the Saolta Healthcare Group, it allows us to operate at a truly national level providing valuable expertise that will benefit healthcare and innovative companies”

This September, Health Innovation Hub Ireland will launch IGNITE 2018 with partners HSE NDTP, National Doctors Training and Planning, Saolta University Healthcare Group & ICAPPS, Irish Centre for Applied Patient Safety and Simulation. IGNITE 2018 is a competition aimed at people working in healthcare in the West or Ireland, where individuals or teams can submit innovative ideas and have an opportunity to engage with experts in innovation. A mentoring forum for healthcare staff to develop early stage ideas and potential solutions. The best applicants will be brought together for a Dragon’s Den style pitch on 29, November 2018, and the winners and runners-up will receive a bursary to develop their idea in collaboration with Health Innovation Hub Ireland. An IGNITE 2018 information session will be held on Thursday, 27 September at 5pm in the Clinical Science Institute at University Hospital Galway.

HIHI has also launched a double national call for start-ups and Small Medium Enterprises (SME’s) who have developed new healthcare products. Companies can submit an application now to the focused call for innovations that address the specific HSE priority theme ‘Enabling Positive Aging’ or to a second open call for innovations that address ‘Any Healthcare Need’. The open calls closes on 31 August, 2018 and full details can be found on

HIHI has strong support from NUI Galway to build on the leading research and innovation ecosystem based on campus. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President of Research at NUI Galway, said, “Health Innovation Hub Ireland builds upon the fantastic networks already linking researchers, clinicians and companies here in Galway. NUI Galway’s Business Innovation Centre - the technology transfer and entrepreneurial hub for the university, runs the BioExcel medtech accelerator programme and supports the innovation training programme, BioInnovate Ireland. We look forward to partnering with the Hub to strengthen the supports for innovation in this space.”

Dr Martin O’Halloran from the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway and a key collaborator in the development of HIHI with a vision for how it will impact the MedTech sector, said, “While we often focus on technical innovations in our lab, for me the real output from the hub will hopefully be a team of empowered innovators within the Irish health-service, making a real and tangible impact on patient care and outcomes.”

Professor Anthony O’Regan, Saolta University Healthcare Group commented that, “As chief academic officer at Saolta, I am excited about the focus on innovation for all our healthcare providers. We strive to foster inter professional learning and cooperative enterprise. Through our quality improvement programmes we have seen remarkable initiatives which lie at the heart of improving patient care. I am part of a Health Innovation Hub Ireland working group to bring together the key stakeholders in primary and community care in the HSE, NUI Galway and industry groups. This will harness the energy of HIHI for the benefit of patients into the future.”

Dr Dara Byrne, Intern Co-Ordinator NUI Galway/West Northwest (WNW) Intern Training Network & Director of ICAPPS highlighted, “We are excited to work with our partners in the Hub and the HSE on IGNITE 2018.  This is a chance to submit your own idea or to work with a team, to build your innovation skills and to compete in a pitch event. A follow-on from the success of Neurotransmitter 2016, we are planning with Health Innovation Hub Ireland and the HSE to expand IGNITE further to Cork and Dublin in 2019.”

For further information on HIHI and IGNITE 2018 contact Aisling Dolan, HIHI Galway Manager at

For more information visit or follow us on twitter @hihireland


Photo caption
HIHI Team L:R - Aisling Dolan, HIHI Manager, Galway; Paddy McGowan, HIHI Tech Advisor; Gillian O' Mahony, HIHI Research Support Officer;  Diana Hogan-Murphy, HIHI Clinical Lead; Noreen Lynch, HIHI Clinical Research Nurse Manager; Noel Murphy, HIHI Biomedical Engineer; Colman Casey, HIHI National Director;  Niamh Allen, HIHI Clinical Research Nurse Manager; Emily Naylor, HIHI Clinical Research Nurse Manager; Dan Maher, HIHI Academic Advisor; Jane O' Flynn, HIHI Manager, Cork;  Tanya Mulcahy, HIHI National Manager and Eimear Galvin, HIHI Manager, Dublin


The article above is specific to the following Saolta hospitals:: 
University Hospital Galway (UHG)