Partner Country Ireland

At last year's MedtecLIVE with T4M 2023, one country in particular was in focus for the first time: Ireland. The green island at the northwestern tip of Europe is one of the largest medical technology manufacturers in the world. Not only do a large number of internationally significant companies have a location on the island, but many up-and-coming companies and start-ups that develop innovative medical technologies and thus increase the growth potential of the industry come from Ireland. In partnership with Enterprise Ireland, the government agency responsible for promoting the growth and development of Irish companies at home and abroad, MedtecLIVE with T4M provides a platform to initiate contacts with Irish companies. 

To do so, take advantage of the following connection points: 

  • Tuesday, May 23, 2023 | Medtech in Ireland (Medical World Café) 
  • Tuesday, May 23 to Thursday, May 25 | B2B Partnering: Establishing contacts with Irish companies and representatives of Enterprise Ireland. 

In addition, come and talk to the exhibitors from Ireland:

  • identifyHer - Booth 1-363
  • Key Plastics Ltd - Booth 3C-223
  • NSI Microscopy Inspection Automation Ltd - Booth 3C-525
  • Obru Plastics Ltd T/A Thormac - Booth 1-350
  • Priors PLM Medical - Booth 1-613
  • Takumi Precision Engineering Limited - Booth 3C-51

"Enterprise Ireland is delighted to be the partner country of MedtecLIVE 2023. Our organisation and Irish companies are using this opportunity to showcase Ireland as an innovative medtech partner. We hope to explore synergies with research institutions and companies and initiate partnerships over the three days of the show."

Nicol Hoppe, Market Adviser Life Sciences at Enterprise Ireland

The medical technology industry in Ireland – What makes it attractive for the European market

The medical technology industry has gained importance worldwide in recent years. In this regard, Ireland has become an important location for the industry. This is visible in the rapid development of recent years.  The country's special features in export and innovation create great incentives for foreign and domestic medical technology companies and their suppliers.

Review: Development of the Medical Technology Industry in Ireland

The Irish medical technology industry has experienced rapid development in recent years. In the period from 2016 to 2021, the industry grew by an average of 4.8 % annually. Turnover in the Irish medical technology market will be around €1.31 billion in 2023. Essential to the growth is the country's attractive corporate tax policy with one of the lowest corporate taxes in the EU. It encourages many international medical technology companies to locate their European headquarters in Ireland. In addition, the industry benefits from close cooperation with research institutions, universities and the healthcare system.

Special features of the Irish medical technology industry

Ireland impresses with some special features in the medical technology industry:

  • High export rate: The Irish medical technology industry is highly export-oriented, meaning that about 90 percent of production is sold abroad, especially to the EU, the USA, and Asia.
  • Focus on innovation: Ireland specialises in the development of innovative medical technology products used in diagnostics, cardiovascular systems, orthopaedics, and minimally invasive surgery.
  • Clustering: In Ireland, there is an increase in regional clusters of companies, research institutions, and educational institutions to promote collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Largest employers in the medical technology industry in Ireland

Some of the world's leading medical technology companies already have sites in Ireland and are among the largest employers in the industry:

  • Medtronic: The US medical technology group has its international headquarters in Ireland and employs more than 4,000 people at five sites in Galway, Dublin, and Athlone.
  • Boston Scientific: This US medical technology manufacturer employs around 6,500 people in Ireland, mainly in the field of cardiovascular medicine.
  • Abbott Laboratories: The US pharmaceutical and medical technology company for diagnostics, diabetes care, and vascular therapy employs about 5,000 people in Ireland.
  • Johnson & Johnson: The global healthcare group operates several medical technology subsidiaries in Ireland, such as DePuy Synthes (1,500) and Ethicon, with a total of around 2,200 employees.
  • Stryker: The US manufacturer of medical devices and equipment has several production sites in Ireland and employs about 4,100 people for orthopaedics, surgery, neurotechnology and 3D printing.

    In addition to these global companies, there are also a number of indigenous medical technology companies, such as Aerogen, Trulife, and Vitalograph, which contribute significantly to the industry and also create a significant number of jobs.

"Ireland is one of the top five medtech hubs in the world. The reason for this is the ecosystem that has formed around major international companies. From academia to highly specialised suppliers, the industry in Ireland is the largest employer in Europe per capita."

Nicol Hoppe, Market Adviser Life Sciences at Enterprise Ireland

Research and development in the Irish medical technology industry
Close collaboration between industry and research institutions plays a crucial role in the success of the Irish medical technology industry. Institutions such as the Tyndall National Institute, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) operate leading research centres for medical technology. The focus is on topics such as the development of implants, biotechnology, material sciences and the digitalisation of medicine.

In addition, the Irish government supports research and development in the medical technology industry through various initiatives and programmes, such as the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centres Programme or the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund. The aim of these initiatives is to create innovative technologies from scientific knowledge and to bring new products to the market.


Comparison of the Irish market with the overall European market
The Irish medical technology market is a significant player in the European context. In 2021, the turnover of the medical technology industry in the European Union totalled €126.45 billion. With a turnover of 1.03 billion euros, Ireland accounted for approximately 0.81 percent of the total European market. This may not sound like much at first glance, but it is remarkable when you put the size and population of the country into perspective.

Ireland has established itself in European comparison as a centre for medical innovation and as an attractive location for international medical technology companies. This is also reflected in the high export rate of the industry and the establishment of numerous global companies in the country. Nevertheless, there are differences between the Irish and European markets in some areas:

Market concentration: While small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) predominate in the European medical technology market, the Irish market is more strongly characterised by large, international companies. This is primarily a result of the attractive tax policy and the favourable location conditions that Ireland offers for global companies.
Research and development activities: The Irish medical technology industry is particularly strong in research and development compared to other European countries. This is thanks to the close cooperation between industry, research institutions and universities, as well as targeted support from the government.
Regulatory framework: Ireland has similar regulatory requirements to the rest of Europe due to the EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR). However, Ireland has a fast and efficient approval process for medical devices, which facilitates the market introduction of new products and gives companies a competitive advantage.
Focus sectors: While the European medical technology market as a whole covers many different sectors, the focus in Ireland is more on specific disciplines such as diagnostics, cardiovascular systems, orthopaedics, and minimally invasive surgery. This can be attributed to specialisation and clustering in the industry.
Employment: Compared to other European countries, Ireland has a high employment rate in the medical technology industry. This is partly due to the establishment of large international companies and partly due to the successful development of indigenous companies in the sector.

Outlook and challenges
The Irish medical technology industry has developed successfully in recent years and is assuming an important position in the overall European market. However, there are also some challenges ahead for the future:

Adaptation to regulatory changes: The introduction of the EU Medical Devices Regulation (MDR) and the constant updating of standards and regulations require companies to continuously adapt and invest to keep their products and processes up to date.
Growing competition: The Irish medical technology industry has to compete against growing competition from other European countries and globally, especially in innovation, research, and development.
Skills shortage: In order to continue to support the growth of the industry, skilled professionals need to be trained in the fields of technology, engineering, materials science, and biotechnology.
Sustainability and environmental regulations: The medical technology industry faces the challenge of developing more sustainable production and disposal processes to meet growing environmental regulations and the need for resource-efficient solutions.
Despite these challenges, the Irish medical technology industry continues to offer great potential for growth and innovation. The close collaboration between industry, research, and educational institutions, the targeted support from government, and the attractive business environment are key factors that keep Ireland in a strong position. To maintain and build on this strength, companies, and policy makers need to actively address the challenges ahead and continuously invest in the future of the industry.

"Irish companies are valuable business partners because of their reliability and ability to flexibly adapt to changing situations. We look forward to partnering the show and contributing to the Summit with experts from Ireland."

Nicol Hoppe, Market Adviser Life Sciences at Enterprise Ireland

Another factor that will influence the growth of the Irish medical technology industry is the increasing digitalisation in healthcare. The introduction of telemedicine, artificial intelligence, big data and connected health solutions offers new opportunities for the development of innovative medical devices and services. To benefit from these technologies, Irish companies and research institutions will need to develop their competencies in these areas and enter into strategic partnerships to strengthen their position in the global competition.

Demographic change and the ageing population in Europe also present a challenge but also an opportunity for the Irish medical technology industry. The increasing demand for healthcare and medical care offers new market opportunities for innovative medical devices and solutions that meet the growing needs of an older population.

The medical technology industry in Ireland has experienced impressive development in recent years, making it an important player in the overall European market. The industry benefits from attractive corporate tax policies, close collaboration with research institutions and universities, and a strong focus on innovation. The largest employers in the Irish medical technology industry are international companies such as Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, and Stryker. However, indigenous companies such as Aerogen, Creganna Medical, and Mainstay Medical also contribute to the industry.

Compared to the overall European market, the Irish market is characterised by a high export rate, a stronger focus on certain areas of medical technology, and a higher employment rate. Nevertheless, the industry faces a number of challenges, such as adapting to regulatory changes, growing competition, skills shortages, and the need to develop more sustainable production and disposal processes.

The Irish medical technology industry therefore has the potential to continue to grow and innovate successfully. However, for this to happen, companies and policy makers need to actively address the challenges ahead and continuously invest in the future of the industry.

Facts about Ireland

  • One of the top 5 medtech hubs in the world.
  • Ireland is the largest medical technology employer per capita in Europe.
  • World-class capabilities in academic and clinical research.
  • Enterprise Ireland is the number one VC investor in Europe in the health technology sector.
  • 9 of the world's top 10 medical technology companies are based in Ireland.
  • Largest exporter of contact lenses in the world.
  • Largest exporter of stents worldwide.

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Image sources: Cliffs of Moher and Logo of Enterprise Ireland © iStock / mbbirdy