European HealthTech Innovation Centre is a state-of-the-art R&D centre operating in Zabrze at the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering of the Silesian University of Technology, conducting interdisciplinary research, service, information, training, and promotion activities in the field of healthcare technologies.
Launched in 2021, the Center has been equipped with the world-class technology and software, the best available on the world market. Our highly specialized labs and workshops are committed to boost knowledge and technologies applicable to medicine, rehabilitation, and sport, and develop new solutions and products to meet the challenges and needs in these fields.
The R&D infrastructure is used by the ambitious and experienced researchers of the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering to design, create and develop innovative technological solutions in bioinformatics, bioelectronics, biomechanics, and biomaterials. Our engineers generate new knowledge and participate in the development of new and the improvement of existing research methods.
One of the strategic goals of EHTIC is to build a business ecosystem in partnership with the socio-economic environment by organizing the collaboration of various actors contributing to the field of health technologies, and by creating, developing and implementing innovative medical technologies to improve disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
An equally important element of our activity is the transfer of knowledge and technology to society, for example, through the organisation of training courses and seminars or the sharing of research results.
Our open-access laboratories and studios provide the support for the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises – we have an attractive offer for entrepreneurs and start-ups operating in the health technology industry. EHTIC does not only contribute to the development of innovative research and production techniques, but also has a real impact on raising the competitiveness of the region’s companies.
Cooperation with EHTIC provides the opportunity to participate in both, Polish and European technology platforms, creating chances to effectively exploit the opportunities presented by international cooperation and to compete with entities operating in the medical device industry.
The scope of our research and development activity goes in line with the development of technologies associated with the intelligent specialisations of the Silesian Voivodeship: medicine, information and communication technologies, and emerging industries.
The history of EHTIC
The history of EHTIC is closely linked to the establishment of the Silesian University of Technology’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.
The origins of the development of the discipline of biomedical engineering at the Silesian University of Technology date back to the 1960s, thanks to the achievements of the team led by Associate Professor Aleksander Kwieciński at the Faculty of Automation, Electronics and Computer Science of the Silesian University of Technology, which include the development of an automatic blood parameter analyser, the country’s first defibrillator and artificial lung-heart, an apparatus for detecting hearing defects in newborns, and an artificial kidney.
The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Silesian University of Technology also has a proven track record in biomedical engineering, with the establishment of the specialisation “Biomaterials and medical equipment” in 1988, followed by the specialisations “Biomechanics and medical equipment” and “Biomechanics and engineering of rehabilitation equipment production” in 1998.
In 1995, an interdisciplinary, part-time doctoral programme entitled ‘Engineering of materials and plastics for biology and medicine’ was also launched at the Faculty of Materials Engineering, Metallurgy and Transport at the Silesian University of Technology .
A heart-lung machine for extracorporeal blood oxygenation, 1968 r.
A dializer (artificial kidney), 1978r.
Another important step in the development of biomedical engineering at the Silesian University of Technology was the establishment of the university-industry “Centre for Biomedical Engineering” (CIB) under the direction of Prof. Jan Marciniak, the first such unit in the country. The CIB combined the potential of three Silesian universities – the Silesian University of Technology, the Medical University of Silesia and the University of Silesia.
On the initiative of, among others, Prof. Ewa Piętka, in June 2007, the Council of the Faculty of Automatic Control, Electronics and Computer Science of the Silesian University of Technology passed a resolution to launch a full-time, first-cycle course called ‘Biomedical Engineering’.
After three years of work, the Senate of the Silesian University of Technology, at the motion of the Rector, Prof. Andrzej Karbownik, on 26 April 2010 adopted a resolution on the establishment of the first, and still the only, Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the university as of 1 May 2010 and the commencement, as of the academic year 2010/2011, of full-time first- and second-cycle studies in the field of “Biomedical Engineering”.
Four internal organisational units have been established within the Faculty:
- Department of Medical Informatics and Apparatus – Head: Prof. Ewa Piętka,
- Department of Biomaterials and Medical Device Engineering – Head: Prof. Jan Marciniak,
- Department of Biomechatronics – Head: Prof. Marek Gzik,
- Department of Biosensors and Biomedical Signal Processing – Head: Prof. Ewaryst Tkacz.
It was the EU’s 2014-2020 perspective that became the opportunity to raise the necessary funds to build a complementary laboratory base under the Regional Operational Programme.
In autumn 2012, Prof. Marek Gzik, then the dean of the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering and now the director of the EHTIC, came up with the initiative to create “the Silesian Centre for Engineering Support in Medicine and Sport: Assist-Med-Sport-Silesia”. The proposal was well acknowledged by the local authorities, included in the Territorial Contract for the Silesian Voivodeship and enlisted as one of the key projects for the Silesian region development. The project, amounting to more than PLN 90 million, was entered in the ROP 2014-2020.
At that time we had to deal with one more challenge – the regulations for key projects required a contribution of non-public funds of 20% of the investment value. Royal Philips, one of the largest medical technology manufacturers in the world, came to the aid of the challenge. Establishing cooperation with Philips was possible thanks to the personal involvement of Prof. Andrzej Hajdasiński from Nyenrode Business University (the Netherlands), a graduate of the Silesian University of Technology.
The implementation of the project at the Zabrze Campus of the Silesian University of Technology was possible also thanks to the land that the City of Zabrze donated for the investment.
The signing of a letter of intent for cooperation between the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering of the Silesian University of Technology and Philips took place in Zabrze on 3 February 2016 and was a historic event.
A ceremonial meeting inaugurating the process of creating the Silesian Centre for Engineering Support in Medicine and Sport based on the agreement with Philips was held on 13 March 2017 at the ‘Diament’ hotel in Zabrze. Under this agreement, Philips became a strategic partner with its own contribution in the form of state-of-the-art technologies and cash amounting to 20% of the project value.
The summary of many years of intensive work was the ceremonial signing of an agreement between the Silesian University of Technology and the Marshall Office of the Silesian Voivodeship for the creation of the ‘Silesian Centre for Engineering Support in Medicine and Sport – Assist-Med-Sport-Silesia‘, which took place on 21 December 2017 in the Silesian Parliament Hall in Katowice.
The ceremony of signing the foundation act and symbolic shovel driving for the construction of the Centre took place on 20 May 2020 in Zabrze.
Assist Med Sport Silesia Project
The project has been implemented jointly with the world leader in medical technology, Philips, whose financial contribution amounts to nearly PLN 18 million. The aim of the project was to create a unique team of highly specialised research and technology laboratories, dedicated to supporting companies operating in the area of implementing medical devices and technologies.
The main objective of the project is to develop state-of-the-art technologies and medical devices addressing current health issues and in response to the challenges of modern medicine in the area of ageing society and the implementation of personalised medicine solutions.
The opening ceremony
The official opening of the European HealthTech Innovation Centre took place on 4 October 2021 as a part of the jubilee celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Philips’ activity in Poland, and was held within the Eropean HealthTech Innovation Congress, organized from 4 to 7 October 2021 in Zabrze.
The event was held under the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda, who honoured us with his presence during the opening ceremony.
The event gathered a number of prominent guests, including the local authorities, representatives of the world of politics, healthcare units, science and business
“The establishment of the Centre is a fine and inspiring example of how science, business and local government can work together, with significant support also from the Polish state. I would like to express my great satisfaction that research and development centres with such strong potential are being developed in Poland, which proves that our speciality is not only in competitive products “Made in Poland”, but also in future-oriented technologies “Created in Poland”. I am very pleased that the Centre being opened today is a truly state-of-the-art facility where cutting-edge technologies will be developed for use primarily in medicine, but also in sport. I am convinced that everything that happens in the laboratories here will make a significant contribution to improving disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. This is a unique project in our part of Europe.”
President of Poland, Andrzej Duda
“I am proud that after almost 10 years of hard work by many people, we can open one of the most modern research centres in Europe. The solutions created here will help doctors and physiotherapists in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. I am delighted that by working together we have been able to bring such an innovative centre to life. Together, we have a chance to contribute to the development of modern medical technologies, improve the quality of treatment and strengthen Silesia’s position as a leader in cooperation between science, business and local government.”
Rector of Silesian University of Technology, prof. Arkadiusz Mężyk