Life and health sciences
A history of medical innovation
Belfast's strength in medical innovation isn't new. The first portable defibrillator was designed in the 1960s by Professor Frank Pantridge who installed his first version in a Belfast ambulance.
Since then Belfast has continued to be at the centre of a vibrant international health and care community tapping into exemplar R&D, engineering and technological expertise.
Belfast is home to a number of businesses that have a global presence and that are at the leading edge of medical research and practice, including:
- Andor Technologies - renowned for building the world’s most advanced scientific cameras used in medical research and space exploration.
- HeartSine - a world leader in emergency cardiac technology. Thousands of air travellers are now protected in the event of a cardiac emergency, after a number of carriers installed HeartSine Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) on all their flights.
Belfast is also Europe's leading destination city for new medical software development projects. The city's strong creative and digital, and sectors have supported the growth of the life and health sciences sector. Oxford Economics forecast over 3,000 jobs in the professional, scientific and technical sector over the next decade.
Our universities play a leading role not only in creating spinouts such as Andor Technologies but also in pioneering global research.
The Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) at Ulster University leads transformational research which aligns care needs with technology providers, researchers and clinical experience. It targets research in areas such as ehealth, digital health, telemonitoring and homebased care.
CHIC is part of the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHA). Based in Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP), ECHA brings together more than 320 member organisations, 15,000 profiles and has a presence in 25 countries. It involves a number of ecosystems which make the connections between research and practice in the field of health care, and which also support new business opportunities and identify new ways of working to improve healthcare outcomes.