L-R: Matt Cotterell (MTU Head of School of Mechanical, Electrical and Process Engineering, blue tie at the back), Dr Barry O’Connor (CIT former President, red tie front), Prof Helen Whelton, Head of the College of Medicine and Health UCC, Professor John O’Halloran, Interim President, UCC (blue tie and glasses front of pic) and Dr Mark Tangney, Interim Head of the iEd Hub. (Picture: Gerard McCarthy)

The College of Medicine and Health, UCC, have announced the launch of The iEd Hub, which represents a consortium featuring Cork’s leading universities University College Cork (UCC) and Munster Technological University (MTU), enterprise stakeholders, and leading industries in the Health & Life Sciences sector. 

Funded by €8.7 million awarded under the Government’s Human Capital Initiative Programme (HCI), the novel iEd partnership aims to deliver an innovative approach to education for enterprise.

The curriculum content and mode of delivery will be designed and developed in conjunction with these industry partners, and will meet current and projected priority skills needs across Ireland’s economy. 

The iEd Hub is ideally placed to contribute to this goal for the Health & Life Science industry sector in Ireland. Over the next four years, the Hub will design and develop a novel, agile educational platform to produce next generation graduates to boost this sector. 

The industry and academic partners will co-design and deliver a suite of new undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and iEd students will spread their time between industry sites and academic campuses.

The needs of both young indigenous and mature multinational companies will be met, contributing to the creation and retention of thousands of Irish jobs, while ensuring that the skills provided are fit for purpose for future Irish industry.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD said: “Cork is the ideal home for this ambitious initiative. Pharmaceutical and medical goods account for 31% of Ireland’s total exports and the Cork region is Ireland’s largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cluster in this sector. 

“The iEd Hub will contribute significantly to the growth of the Cork region as an internationally renowned hub for health and life science enterprise, by providing uniquely skilled human capital to grow both the scale and scope of indigenous and multinational company activity.”

The Interim president of UCC, Professor John O’Halloran added: “The iEd Hub will result in the deepening of relationships with local enterprise partners in education, R&D, and new company formation, benefiting the local and national economy.

“The iEd consortium, featuring the Cork region’s academic higher education institutions, enterprise stakeholders, and leading industries in the sector, will develop, over the next 4 years, a novel educational platform for enterprise. It demonstrates a deep collaboration and an agile and innovative response for current and future skills needs.”

The iEd Hub is led by Professor Helen Whelton, Head of the UCC College of Medicine and Health, Dr Mark Tangney, Interim Head of the iEd Hub, Tim Horgan, MTU Head of Faculty of Engineering & Science, and Matt Cotterell, Head of MTU School of Mechanical, Electrical, and Process Engineering.

The Head of the UCC College of Medicine and Health, Professor Helen Whelton said: “The iEd Hub will produce a new generation of graduates, in line with the European Commission’s Skills for Industry Strategy 2030, resulting in the deepening of relationships with local enterprise partners in education, R&D, and new company formation thus benefiting the local economy.

“It is our hope the that the iEd Hub will eventually be hosted in an Innovation Hub building in Curraheen alongside other innovation enterprises with much of the classroom teaching, including lab classes, delivered here as well as onsite at industry. This hub will connect all the iEd actors, as it will be home to existing drivers of enterprise in the Health & Life Sciences.”

Dr Mark Tangney, Interim Head of the iEd Hub said: “Typically, people are thought of as being either within academia or within industry, thinking of them as mutually exclusive.  We prefer to take the approach that industry and academia are one – together, we develop people and technology.

“We are now building platforms that remove the traditional ‘time’ separation of academia and industry of ‘first college, then industry’. We also aim to remove the geographical separation of academic and enterprise activity, through building of the Cork Innovation Corridor, where academia and industry can exist under one roof.”

MTU President, Professor Maggie Cusack said: “MTU is focused on leading transformation through education and empowering people to succeed in a globalised world. In partnership with UCC and industry stakeholders, the iEd Hub provides a platform to deliver on these goals in a student-centric, industry-aligned, agile, and creative manner.

“It will introduce new learning models that meet the needs of the 21st century, while also providing opportunities for students in our universities and in the workplace.  Let’s succeed together.”

The official launch event took place on March 4th with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD; Interim President UCC, Prof John O’Halloran; President of MTU, Prof Maggie Cusack; the Head of the College of Medicine and Health UCC, Prof Helen Whelton and Director of Talent Management Global Operations at Boston Scientific, Barbara O’Gorman.

Click here to view the Launch event https://www.ucc.ie/en/med-health/iedhublaunch.