Madeleine Martin discusses the recent opening of the Health Technology Centre and her vision for its role within the healthtech innovation ecosystem.
The Ōtautahi Christchurch Health Technology Centre in Te Matatiki Toi Ora - The Arts Centre has recently opened to create a space for a cluster of healthtech companies and the wider community to work from a unique and collaborative environment.
Te Matatiki Toi Ora - The Arts Centre is the largest collection of category 1 listed heritage buildings in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Health Technology Centre now sits at its heart, occupying most of the Engineering Extensions building built in 1923 and the top floor of the Electrical Engineering building built in 1902. The buildings were extensively damaged in the Canterbury Earthquakes, but have been seismically strengthened, restored, and linked by a new overhead bridge, the Bridge of Aspiration. The building restoration has been meticulous, and heritage features have been retained wherever possible, down to student and thespian graffiti in the rafters.
When Professor Robert Julian Scott was appointed the first head of the Engineering department at Canterbury College in 1889, little did he know that his pioneering vision would lay the foundation for a Health Technology Centre that seamlessly merges the past and the future; the arts and the sciences. Few workspaces can boast such a direct link to the city’s history of technological innovation. You can even host a board meeting immediately above the site of New Zealand’s first television transmission.
The location of the Health Technology Centre has numerous advantages:
The recently opened Health Technology Centre has some amazing founding tenants including Komodo, oVRcome, Myovolt, Johner Institute, The Kite Programme, ContentedAI, The Honest Human and Calmly.
But the vision of the Health Technology Centre has always been more than just a co-work space for health technology companies. It will be a place for inspiration, connection, and collaboration, and ultimately will provide the advice and services that the healthtech innovation ecosystem needs to ensure we are translating more research and clinical innovations into commercial products that have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of our communities.
The Health Technology Centre will become a platform dedicated to coordinating services that support new ideas and research from concept through to commercialisation. It will focus on building and accelerating capability in start-ups and scaling businesses in Ōtautahi Christchurch’s key areas of strength, such as next generation medical devices, sensors and diagnostics, manufacturing, and sustainable medtech. The Health Technology Centre will also provide a platform of relevant advisory services and expertise, such as quality, regulatory, health economics, reimbursement, marketing, sales and clinical research. This will help health technology ventures succeed and ensure that the technologies that have the most impact on community are supported.