Ziltron is a lead investigator on a European grant submission entitled "Encore: Enabling Technologies for Minimally Invasive Surgery". Ziltron is among a consortium of partners including University of Leeds, University of Dundee, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, UCD, UCC, Delft University of Technology and Norwegian University of Science.
The aim of ENCORE is to produce the next generation of researchers equipped to take on the challenge of advancing MIS. Patients and healthcare providers will be the immediate beneficiaries, but there will be far reaching benefits for the MedTech industry. The MedTech industry is an important player in the European economy. It comprises around 25,000 companies and employs more than 575,000 people. Europe has the second largest MedTech market in the world, operating a trade surplus of €15.5 billion in 2012, and with an annual growth rate of 4% over the last 6 years. Continued investment is necessary to ensure its predominance on the world stage and its contribution to the health and wealth of Europe.
To achieve its objectives, ENCORE will draw on leading academic partners from across Europe to provide state-of-the-art scientific expertise. In a unique arrangement, academic partners will be paired with regional teaching hospitals to provide an immersive scientific-clinical learning environment. Partners from industry will add diversity and depth to the training programme, leading work packages and projects, and hosting secondments. Individual research projects will address specific challenges related to MIS, providing the enabling science and potential solutions. Collectively, the combination of scientific outputs from ENCORE will make a palpable contribution to the advancement of MIS. It will accelerate the development and introduction of new MIS techniques into clinical practice, ensuring that the European healthcare system is well placed to respond to future needs as the population demographic and health dynamic change.
There are no other EU programmes that approach surgical technologies training in the same way as ENCORE; other EU funded training tends to be in small partnerships and consortia, focused on specific technological challenges. ENCORE aligns with the principles embedded in Europe 2020 to promote smart growth through more investment in education, research, and innovation. The need to reinforce the research base in biotechnologies was highlight in A Strategy for Europe – life sciences and biotechnology to address the fact that Europe’s performance is not achieving its objectives. ENCORE addresses this deficit and aligns to ground-breaking initiatives outlined in Innovation Union, particularly Innovation Partnerships to bring public and private sectors together. ENCORE specifically aims to advance surgical care in the context of changing disease and an ageing population, and in so doing will contribute to objectives set out in the Partnership on active and healthy ageing.