DR Peter Fitzgerald has invested £1.2 million to support the next generation of medical innovators.
Randox may now be a global diagnostic superpower, but it all started in a chicken shed at the back of his parents’ Crumlin home in 1982.
In those early days money was tight. He was engaged to be married but was saving for a freeze drier - and the vital piece of tech eventually won!
To ease the journey of the people following in his footsteps, however, he has provided the substantial funding to Ulster University for medical education and research,
Thanks to this generous donation from Randox Laboratories, the University is creating its first Professor of Medicine post, to be titled the Randox Professor of Medicine.
This will be a clinical and academic post so the appointee to the Randox Professorship will provide educational leadership, teaching and training thus inspiring the next generation of doctors and researchers in the area.
Alongside education, the post holder will develop a research portfolio in line with the research strategy of the School of Medicine and ambitions included in the Health Research Institute-THRIVE Project as part of the Derry and Strabane City Deal.
The successful appointee to the Randox Professorship will have an outstanding track-record in medical research with the experience, vision and enthusiasm to build on current strengths in the University and develop a leading research presence in the School of Medicine.
They will have the opportunity to collaborate with existing researchers in personalised medicine and influence the research and innovation direction of the proposed THRIV Research Units that currently include: Blood Cancer; Cardiovascular Research and Improvement Science; Neuromuscular Health (Motor Neuron Disease, MS, Parkinson's Disease); Brain Health (Depression, psychosis, Alzheimer's Disease); Orthopaedic and Rheumatic Health; and Multiple Long-term Conditions.
Dr Catherine McDonnell is excited at the new appointment.
“This is a unique opportunity, and shows what can be achieved with collaborative working and by forging partnerships between organisations.
“The Randox Professorship will play a crucial role in the delivery of patient care in the months and years ahead, and will help us bring in fresh expertise to what is already a very strong team on the ground.
“We would like to thank both Ulster University and Randox Laboratories for partnering in this exciting venture, which we believe will have a very positive impact on our patients.”
The role will be supported by Randox Laboratories for a period of five years.
And Dr Peter FitzGerald said it was money well spent.
“At this time of rapid and significant change within medicine, it is imperative that industry, academia and medical education are aligned to improve both patient outcomes and the efficiency of healthcare services,” he said.
“The announcement of the new post of Randox Professor of Medicine within the new Ulster University School of Medicine shows our commitment to these critical national priorities.
“Ulster University and Randox are both renowned globally for healthcare research and education, particularly in the field of diagnostics, and together provide a vital platform to support the next generation of aspirational clinicians - to develop critical skills, make a positive difference to patient healthcare around the world, and cement Northern Ireland’s reputation as a global hub for life sciences.”
Professor Paul Bartholomew, Vice-Chancellor at Ulster University also welcomed the investment.
“By opening the School of Medicine in August we are committing to address the acute shortage of doctors in Northern Ireland and to recruit students and staff who will be locally focused yet globally ambitious.
“The appointment of the Randox Professor of Medicine will enable us to further this ambition and allow us to enhance the University’s existing expertise and research excellence in personalised medicine diagnostics and contribute to expanding the medical diagnostics sector. “