Flinders University together with collaborative partner, Shandong Academy of Sciences (SDAS), were pleased to launch the China-Australia International Laboratory for Health Technologies (ILHT) in Jinan, Shandong Province, on July 18.
Flinders University’s Vice President and Pro-Vice Chancellor (International) Mr Sebastian Raneskold and SDAS’ President, Professor WANG Yinglong officially unveiled the ILHT in Jinan, with the Hon. David Ridgeway, South Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Shandong Province’s Vice Governor, Madam REN Ai Rong witness to the occasion.
The ILHT will support the development of novel, internationally competitive medical devices, and assist traditional industries to develop and globalise medical equipment and digital health technology.
Co-funded by the South Australian State Government, SDAS and Flinders University, the ILHT spans two locations (Jinan and Adelaide), with researchers from both institutions working across both sites.
Bringing together the complementary expertise of Flinders University and SDAS’ Shandong Centre for Computer Science, the first two projects to be announced through the ILHT are focussed around cardiac health and chronic kidney disease.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most common form of heart disease and leading cause of death worldwide. It is also regarded as being highly preventable. The first research project, led by Flinders Professor Anthony Maeder, will analyse routinely collected health data in an effort to provide earlier and more informative risk prediction for CVD.
The second project led by Australian Deputy Director of the ILHT and Flinders Associate Professor Youhong Tang, is to design a new device to assist with earlier detection and appropriate management of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition characterised by a progressive loss of kidney function over time, is a significant and growing public health problem throughout the world, responsible for a substantial burden of illness and premature mortality. However, early detection and appropriate management of CKD can reduce the kidney failure by up to 50 percent.
Following the official launch, Mr Raneskold and President WANG Yinglong signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will enable SDAS PhD Candidates to undertake research at Flinders University’s ILHT in Adelaide.
Mr Raneskold said the joint laboratory provides mutual benefit to both organisations and will span teaching, research and technology development.
“The joint laboratory will lead to the development of new, advanced medical technologies with commercial opportunity. It will facilitate training of students and provide industry exposure and generate clear outputs to the economy and community” said Mr Raneskold.
“Research will be driven in areas of priority and the primary focus of the ILHT is to deliver health technologies with global impact”.
The two institutions have complementary expertise to deliver real benefit. Shandong Centre for Computer Science specialises in cloud computing, big data, information security and intelligent manufacturing expertise. Flinders University was the first university in Australia to offer an accredited biomedical engineering program, and has since built a national reputation of excellence in biomedical engineering recognised with both state and national accolades. Flinders University has also connected the South Australian medtech ecosystem through ten years of the Medical Device Partnering Program.
The ILHT is the second Flinders-Shandong Academy of Sciences joint laboratory to be supported by the South Australian State Government, further cementing the SA-Shandong Province sister state/province relationship.
The International Laboratory for Health Technologies (Australia) is led by Professor Karen Reynolds as Director, and Associate Professor Youhong Tang as Deputy Director. Professor Karen Reynolds is the Dean (Research) of the College of Science and Engineering, Director of the Medical Research Institute, Director of the Medical Device Partnering Program at Flinders University and was South Australian Scientist of the year in 2012. Associate Professor Youhong Tang is a materials engineer who specialises in nanotechnology and biosensors, he was awarded a DECRA from 2012-2014.