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Victoria’s Minister for Higher Education has announced the launch of the Victorian Medical Device Prototyping and Scale-Up Facility, supported by AU$12.7 million in funding from the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF).

The new facility will focus on local technologies and advanced, personalized healthcare devices for prevention and diagnosis and is the first ISO-accredited prototyping facility in Asia Pacific to support the rapid translation of research projects into partnership and industry-led wearable and flexible medical technologies. The facility also aims to bring together start-ups, small companies and researchers to collaborate on clinical and field trials, towards regulatory certification and commercialization.

The state-of-the-art facility, which will be developed on RMIT’s city campus, will help cement Victoria’s unique position as a medical device manufacturing and prototyping hub for Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. The Minister noted that this is a significant investment in medical technology that will drive innovation to meet the health needs of people across Australia.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation and Vice President of RMIT said the initiative would create jobs, develop skills and create future opportunities, to advance post-pandemic renewal. He added that the skills required to design, build, integrate, operate and use medical device data span all sectors and will be integral to both economic recovery and sovereign capacity. 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, local technologies, he said.

The ISO accredited facility is the first of its kind in Australia and Asia-Pacific. It will be accessible to universities and industries in the region for collaborations on near objects (wireless electronic devices that can be worn as accessories, embedded in clothing or implanted in the body), near objects (smart devices that can detect and send data but do not need to be tethered to a person) and flexible medical technologies (soft, skin-like, ultralight electronics).

The RMIT project leader and co-director of RMIT’s Functional Materials and Microsystems Research Group said medical devices developed at the facility would improve and save lives. Local technologies and solutions developed at the facility will benefit critical support and care sectors, including disability support, mental health, elder care and domestic violence.

Led by RMIT University, the project consortium includes universities (Swinburne University, Deakin University, Monash University), industry partners, quality management and design partners, and leading organizations (Advanced Manufacturing Growth Center, Cooperative Research Australia, MTP Connect).

Support innovative local technologies

With a focus on wearables and near objects, the new facility will expand the capabilities and market potential of Melbourne’s renowned biomedical research sector. By keeping design and manufacturing local, the facility will support the development and commercialization of innovative technologies, with initial plans expected to include:

Forge a single path

The Victorian Medical Device Prototyping and Scale-Up Facility will be a one-of-a-kind pathway for medical device accreditation, attracting talent and investment.

The VHESIF funding initiative behind this announcement was developed in response to the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on universities. The same round of funding will also support RMIT’s Electric Vehicle Applied Research Center.

The two projects are part of the Victorian Government’s $62.5 million investment in RMIT to support Melbourne’s post-pandemic economic and social recovery, including $44.6 million in VHESIF funding to continue development of the neighborhood. of RMIT’s social innovation.

Create an ecosystem of advanced manufacturing and design

The Complementary Facility is a vibrant manufacturing ecosystem of partners, entrepreneurs and services that will partner with Australian start-ups and small businesses to support new ideas, from concept to planning, prototyping, scaling, testing, design, user experience, data insights, and marketing.

An engagement program will promote the participation of young people and women in STEM fields, working closely with schools and guidance counselors to introduce careers in STEM and cutting-edge technologies.

The facility will build capacity and support the development of new technologies in a booming field, with global spending on wearable devices expected to reach US$81.5 billion this year, an 18.1% jump from to US$69 billion in 2020. The Victorian Medical Device Prototyping and Scale-Up Facility is expected to be operational by mid-2023.