NUI Galway Research Group Making Good on Government Investment

Feb 04 2013 Posted: 10:10 GMT

NFB delivers five-fold increase in initial exchequer funding

The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), a multidisciplinary research group based in NUI Galway, is celebrating the award of its fifth successful coordinated EU grant. Over the past two years NFB has secured €14.2 million in EU-coordinated grants.

This brings to €20 million the amount of funding which NFB has attracted, an almost five-fold return on initial exchequer funding through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). In addition to the initial investment from SFI in 2007, NFB has secured its additional funding from the EU, Enterprise Ireland and national and international industry partners.

NFB is an SFI-funded Strategic Research Cluster developing functional biomaterials which have clinical applications in orthopaedics, cardiovascular, neural and soft tissue repair. Through the coordination of EU grants, NFB has teamed up with ten academic institutions and fourteen industrial partners in eight countries, highlighting the strong industrial component and integrated nature of NFB’s research.

One of NFB’s latest grant successes will fund research which aims to reduce the re-narrowing of arteries following implantation of stents through the use of novel cardiovascular stent material. Other projects being undertaken by the group include research into a medical condition known as ischemia which occurs when blood supply to a tissue is limited. The aim is to form new blood vessels to supply the ischemic tissue and restore function. Repair of damaged nerves is another research area being investigated with hopes to improve the lives of patients suffering from spinal cord damage. Biomaterials include both natural and synthetic materials, or a combination of both and these are placed within the body to restore cells and tissue that have become dysfunctional through disease or injury.

Speaking about NFB’s success, its Director Professor Abhay Pandit said: “The research being carried out will have a real impact on patients’ lives and economic benefits will also be reaped by the country as the next generation of scientists and engineers are being trained for skilled jobs in the ever growing Irish medical devices market.

Meanwhile, Vornia, a start-up medical device company that has been spun-out from NFB is expanding rapidly and bringing superior and consistently high-quality biodegradable biomaterial products to the market. As a medical device company, Vornia also uses its own superior grade materials to develop and scale up products in niche clinical targets including tendon regeneration, soft tissue repair and spinal cord repair. 


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