AMMD Research Hub to transform Australia’s medical technology sector

Researchers from The University of Queensland, industry partners, government and academia gathered to officially launch the Australian Research Council Research Hub for Advanced Manufacturing of Medical Devices (AMMD Hub) at Cook Medical Australia in Brisbane.

The new research hub is set to transform Australia’s medical technology sector by developing competitive technologies for the rapid production of medical devices.

One of the key goals for the AMMD Hub is to create better health outcomes for patients in Australia, and around the globe, by improving the time it takes to design, manufacture and supply customised medical devices such as endovascular stent grafts for patients with aortic aneurysm — a condition that currently has post-rupture survival rates of only 10 to 20 per cent.

AMMD Hub Director and University of Queensland Professor Matthew Dargusch said the AMMD Hub scheme fosters collaborative research activity between the Australian higher education sector and industry with a focus on strategic outcomes that are not independently realisable.

“Effective collaboration between interdisciplinary teams from industry and university is key to making a significant impact in terms of both research outcomes and quality that will address challenges in the advanced manufacturing of medical devices,” said Professor Dargusch.

With researchers based at Cook Medical Australia, the AMMD Hub has already begun work in the areas of lean manufacturing for the improvement of production times, adaptive automation systems, metallic biomaterials and collaborative robotics.

Cook Medical Australia General Manager Dr Samih Nabulsi said the AMMD Hub would deliver outcomes for patients by fostering growth in the medical technology sector in Australia.

“Our primary goal is to improve patient health outcomes, but we are also growing workforce capability in the medical device industry and increasing the translation of new technology,” Dr Nabulsi said.

“Research and industry partnerships like the AMMD Hub are vital to increasing and accelerating the translation of new technology in the medical device industry.”

In 2016, the AMMD Hub was awarded $2.8 million in ARC funding for five years. This investment was matched by industry partners, with a total value of more than $10 million of cash and in-kind funding.

ARC Chief Executive Officer Professor Sue Thomas acknowledged the importance of advanced manufacturing to Australia’s economic future.

“This Research Hub’s industry-focused research collaboration will develop new, advanced materials and processes that will not only lead to tangible health outcomes for Australians, but also drive new technologies and skills that are vital for the competitiveness of Australia’s medical devices industry,” Professor Thomas said.

The AMMD Hub brings together researchers from The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney, RMIT University; and University of the Sunshine Coast; and with partner organisations Cook Medical Australia Pty Ltd; Robert Bosch (Australia) Pty Ltd; Heat Treatment (QLD) Pty Ltd; and QMI Solutions Limited.