£50m Randox Centres of Excellence launched in Northern Ireland

£50m Randox Centres of Excellence launched in Northern Ireland

A record £50 million investment which will deliver cutting-edge technologies to diagnose conditions like cancer, heart conditions and infectious diseases has been announced by Northern Ireland diagnostics company Randox Laboratories and Invest Northern Ireland.

This major project involves the establishment of three Centres of Excellence, enabling Randox R&D scientists to work collaboratively with colleagues from Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. The centres are being officially launched today at the Randox Science Park. The ceremony will include a keynote address from Sir John Bell, who chaired the UK Government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Board.

Advanced diagnostics have been identified as key to delivering sustainable improvement to healthcare systems struggling to cope with increasing levels of chronic and preventable conditions. Having been focused in this field for over 36 years, Randox has a successful track record of developing new and innovative tests – examples include assessing those at risk of Alzheimer’s disease and genetic cardiac conditions, to promote and enable preventive treatment, and a new clinically-approved test to diagnose prediabetes.

Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, Dr Peter FitzGerald, who today launched the three Centres of Excellence, said;

 “When almost a quarter of the deaths of people under 75 in the UK are considered preventable, we need to ask ourselves what can be done to improve healthcare outcomes. There is an undeniable case for radical change in the way healthcare is delivered, and sophisticated diagnostics will be at the fore of this revolution.

“Enabling earlier and more accurate diagnosis, to identify those at the earliest stages of illness, ideally before the onset of any symptoms, is a game-changer. Through early intervention we can restrict the development of chronic conditions and improve people’s lives. Our view of the future is one where people are empowered through earlier diagnosis to stay healthier for longer, and where healthcare systems are freed to deliver quality services to patients. Our announcement today demonstrates our continuing commitment in this field.

“We are grateful for the support offered by Invest NI and look forward to addressing these pressing healthcare needs.”

The Centres of Excellence will focus respectively on clinical diagnostics, engineering for biosciences and quality control. The project, which will strengthen collaborative partnerships between Randox, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, will accelerate the development of new technologies and drive healthcare improvements regionally, nationally and across the globe.

Of the £23m of support offered by Invest NI, £5m will go toward research projects at Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast.

Welcoming the investment, Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive of Invest NI said;

“Randox has a long history of investing heavily in innovation and R&D which has enabled it to create a globally competitive export driven business, capable of developing world leading research. This major investment will enable Randox to perform cutting-edge R&D which has the potential to revolutionise the global healthcare industry. This is excellent news for Northern Ireland’s life and health sciences sector. Northern Ireland is enjoying a growing international reputation as a region of expertise and knowledge in key areas such as Diagnostics, Precision Medicine and Advanced Manufacturing. The three new Centres of Excellence will help build on this and enhance Northern Ireland’s credibility, provide supply chain opportunities, and encourage knowledge transfer with our universities.”    

Sir John Bell, commenting on the potential for the UK Life Sciences sector said;

“The life sciences industry represents one of the dominant economic sectors in the UK, and one with considerable potential for growth.   However, whilst we have many natural strengths we cannot afford to be complacent.  We must strive to optimise our science base, to encourage collaboration across academia, industry and the NHS, and grow our industrial capabilities.  To do so we need to use our extensive data sets to best effect, and have in place a strong skills strategy.  Success requires vision and drive.  To that end I would like to congratulate Dr FitzGerald and Randox in the establishment of these three R&D collaborative Centres of Excellence – these are assets of national standing and will have a meaningful impact in enabling earlier and more accurate diagnosis, driving improvements in patient care, regionally, nationally and globally.  They are leaders in this field, committed to innovation, and I wish them every success.”

Professor Jim McLaughlin, Director of Ulster University’s Nanotechnology and Integrated Bioengineering Centre, added;

“This very welcome investment enables pioneering Randox-inspired engineering capacity at Ulster University and reflects our research commitment to the life sciences industry. From nanotechnology to the development of systems that will enable large scale laboratory capability to be produced in the palm of your hand, the partnership brings shared industry and academic research excellence from the lab into the marketplace. Life sciences is a vital economic sector locally and this collaboration will advance diagnostics and ultimately enhance patient health outcomes.”

Dr David Jess, Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast School of Mathematics and Physics, added;

“The Randox Centres of Excellence will allow Queen’s University Belfast to continue to deliver cutting-edge and world leading research. We look forward to collaborating further with industry to develop pioneering research, focused on the needs of society.”

Invest NI’s R&D support is part funded by ERDF under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014 – 2020.

For further information please contact the Randox PR Team: phone 028 9442 2413 or email randoxpr@randox.com 

 


Randox announces launch of APEX programme 2018 for first year QUB and Ulster University students

Global health diagnostics provider Randox has launched the third year of its innovative APEX Programme. The APEX Programme is a unique career package which offers first year students a paid 8-week summer work experience between first and second year, a paid placement year in their third year of study and, finally, a graduate job if they complete their degree with a 2:1 or above.

There are many different disciplines which are critical for Randox’s global operations, from pioneering research and development scientists to business strategists, savvy marketing teams to top-level engineering departments.

The APEX programme is open to all students currently studying biological sciences but also those studying business, marketing, maths, physics, graphic design, computer science and any form of engineering.

The APEX Programme is like no other in the UK and Randox were pleased to recruit 20 first-year students last year after a high number of applications. The difficulty for students trying to find work experience and a coveted graduate position has been highlighted in recent years. In 2016, official UK government figures reported that one-in-three young graduates were working in low-skilled jobs, being unable to find work which matched their skills. In the same year there was a 2.2% drop in the number of 21 to 30-year-old graduates in skilled worked compared with the year earlier.

The APEX Programme application process is as unique as the programme itself. No CVs or lengthy application forms needed – just submit a 15 second video on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and 140 character cover note telling us why you are the one for Randox, including hashtags #IAmTheOneQUB or #IAmTheOneUU, depending on your university. It really is that simple! Submit your video from 27th November to 8th December 2017 to be in the running to join the Randox team.

Graduates often face tough competition for jobs in their field of study once they leave university. It’s a well-known cycle for budding young professionals ready to enter their first graduate job – how can I gain the vital experience needed when many roles cite a year or more work experience as an essential requirement?

Linda Magee, Randox Human Resources Manager, says initiatives like the Randox APEX Programme are essential.

“Graduates leave university and enter a tough environment, where expectations are high and competition is fierce. The ones who do best are those who can get the necessary real-life work experience in their area of expertise.

“Randox believes in giving young people a chance to make their mark by taking on real responsibilities right from the start. Undergraduates will work side-by-side with our top teams in science research, manufacturing, engineering, business, marketing and many other disciplines who are working on ground-breaking diagnostic innovations and campaigns which will make an impact globally. 

“As a result, the APEX programme gives our recruits incredible confidence in their abilities. It’s also very important to us that the programme offers paid placements which last for the duration of their degree, so they are able to focus on their studies while working towards a graduate position with a world-leading company after graduation.”

Lee Armstrong, who is studying chemistry at Ulster University, completed his first placement with the APEX Programme in summer 2016 and is now back completing his placement year in the clinical chemistry team. He said:

“I was attracted to the APEX Programme because it was completely different from any other company’s placement – nowhere else do you get a summer placement, a year placement and then a job after graduating if I achieve a 2:1.

“I am currently on my one-year placement, which has allowed me to gain experience with real-life projects. I’m not treated like a student at all – I’m treated like another scientist in the team and I get to work on real projects.

“I would recommend students to apply for the APEX Programme because you gain invaluable experience throughout your degree, there’s the possibility of a job in your field at the end of it – and the application video is much easier than labouring over a CV!”

In 2015, 5% of the world’s population received a diagnosis using a Randox product. It is a world-leading diagnostics company which is developing state-of-the-art facilities at the Science Park in Antrim. It has 1400 employees and operates in 145 countries.

More information about the APEX Programme can be found at http://iamtheone.randox.com 


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