About CHIC

The Northern Ireland Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) addresses the needs of industry to answer research questions, work collaboratively with other businesses and health stakeholders, and develop skills and knowledge at the leading edge of technology.

CHIC is industry-led, providing an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers to deliver collaborative research solutions through an extensive array of capabilities including rapid prototyping, platforms and systems development, artificial intelligence (AI), 3d printing, app development and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

With a current membership of 30 companies the mission of CHIC is to aid economic development in Northern Ireland through the development of capabilities and solutions in the area of health. Research activities are 75% funded by Invest Northern Ireland through the Competence Centre model. Annual membership of CHIC is from £500 for companies and is free for health providers.

The CHIC team comprises a pool of post-doctoral researchers, led by Centre Director David Branagh and key academics Prof Jim McLaughlin and Prof Chris Nugent.

As a University based centre CHIC draws on the extensive Intellectual Property identification and protection services of the university simplifying this sometimes-complex activity for the benefit of member companies. Intellectual capital is fully exploitable by CHIC member companies.

In addition to the formal projects of which some examples are presented in later sections, CHIC provides industry workshops and limited casual access to CHIC resources and capabilities. CHIC is also a source of reference for the latest funding opportunities and sector developments.

With demand-driven growth in the healthcare industry and ever decreasing product development timelines CHIC provides a longer term growth opportunity through which to explore future product direction and solutions for your company.

CHIC capabilities and resources

CHIC embodies a world-class research capability of talented researchers and state-of-the-art equipment. Being centred at Ulster University CHIC also has access to complementary capabilities in the BioDevices Lab and leading academics in sensors, systems and field such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). CHIC has the capabilities to rapidly transform an idea into a working prototype as is often required in answering the research questions posed in CHIC projects.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Electromechanical design and 3d printing
  • Electronic circuit design
  • Embedded software development
  • Internet of Things technologies and protocols
  • Cloud based database and analytics systems
  • Prototype app development
  • User eXperience (UX) research and design
  • Novel sensors, especially low cost
  • Microfluidic design
  • Point-of-care biomarker systems such as lateral flow
  • Rapid prototyping using 3d printing
  • Image analysis including use of Machine Learning (ML)
  • Science-driven research coupled with extensive industry experience

The development of platforms has attracted new funding including an NSF £100k Project in cardiac monitoring; Interreg SEUPB ECME projects (£8m in total) and key elements in the recently announced Belfast Region City Deal. These will be focussed around Living Lab projects within the new Digital Healthcare Technology Hub.

Get in touch to discuss your connected health research needs.