Ireland sets out its stall as Europe’s medtech hotspot


Ireland has made the case to build on its position within Europe’s medtech research and manufacturing sector in a new report that highlights how it can support companies in areas like digitalisation and sustainability.

The white paper - titled Where next for MedTech – Key considerations for the factory of the future – notes that medtech is facing a period of profound change, driven by technological disruptions like artificial intelligence, the need to increase innovation and productivity and mitigate climate change, and global supply chain disruptions.

IDA Ireland says the next five years will be a critical period for medtech, claiming that companies can help to meet those challenges by tapping into the country’s medtech ‘ecosystem’ that draws on “innovation, regulatory performance, talent, and a commitment to sustainability and digital transformation.”

One example of that is the launch of Digital Manufacturing Ireland (DMI), which was formed last year by the Irish government to help manufacturers that are based in the country adopt digital technologies that can enhance the oversight and management of their supply chains; for instance, by predicting demand.

An early initiative set up by DMI is the industry-led Visual Cognitive Manufacturing Group (VCMG), bringing together 60 organisations to promote the use of computer vision technology, robotics, and AI in manufacturing, with the aim of keeping a close eye on quality control and responding to any issues in real-time.

Ireland is already home to around 450 medtech companies, including nine of the world’s top 10 players such as DePuy Synthes, Bausch and Lomb, Baxter Healthcare, Cook Medical, Janssen, and Boston Scientific. It also boasts the largest EU employer of medtech workers per capital across Europe, what IDA Ireland describes as a “deep and diverse” talent pool.

The white paper also highlights Ireland’s efforts to foster R&D collaboration between industry and educational institutions, research centres, and supply chain partners, helped by an increase in R&D tax credits that reached 30% in the 2024 budget, as well as its commitment to climate action driven by “the dual transition towards digitalisation and sustainability.”

“The global medtech sector is absolutely committed to saving lives and enhancing patients' quality of life. This demands a continuous focus on innovation, requiring companies not only keep pace with evolving patient needs, but also new technologies,” said Rachel Shelly, global head of life sciences at IDA Ireland.

“World leading companies need to be flexible and agile to adapt quickly to emerging global trends and challenges in order to remain competitive.”