FPC@DCU - the Fraunhofer Project Centre for Embedded Bioanalytical Systems at Dublin City University - develops microfluidics-enabled “fit-for-industry” (f4i) solutions for decentralised testing of biosamples at high-technology readiness levels (TRLs). Amongst the main fields of application of FPC@DCU’s translational research and technology development (RTD) activities are point-of-use systems supporting decentralised bioanalytical testing in the context of healthcare, pharma, veterinary medicine, agrifood and life-science research as well as monitoring of the environment, infrastructures and industrial processes. Perspective applications are expected in big data / internet of things / artificial intelligence.
At its very core, FPC@DCU’s manufacturing-centric “Quality-by-Design” (QbD) platform approach fully incorporates design-for-manufacture (DfM) / readiness-for-scale-up (RfS) paradigms and virtual prototyping (VP) enabled by modelling and simulation from the very outset of its projects. FPC@DCU’s “one platform - manifold applications” strategy will substantially expedite and de-risk commercial development of compelling biosensing solutions for customers and partners in industry, institutional research and academia. The FPC@DCU programme funds two strategically important project strands, the development of DfM / RfS / VP compliant core platform as the basis for three pilot applications demonstrating the most common bioanalytical assays formats, general chemistry & immunoassays, nucleic acid testing and cell analysis.
FPC@DCU operates as a virtual institute (VI) headquartered in DCU and synergistically partners with a widely complementary mirror group within the Aachen-based Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (FhG-IPT). Within a joint development environment (JDE) aligning manufacturing and characterisation equipment, the Dublin branch leads microfluidic design, simulation, prototyping and fluidic testing as well as project acquisition and management while FhG-IPT is mainly responsible for the scale-up of production. FPC@DCU also benefits from its firm embedding in DCU’s interdisciplinary environment and its proven-track record in translational research, and can thus act as a 1-stop-shop for offering integrated solutions to its customers, clients and partners.
As an application-focussed research organisation, FPC@DCU commits to converging towards Fraunhofer’s ⅓s funding mode; this means that ⅔ of its research funding needs to be evenly secured from industry and public sources while the final ⅓ will be provided by a basic grant from exchequer sources. FPC@DCU is firmly committed to deliver all project objectives within the targeted techno-economical objectives, timelines and budgets. This objective is implemented in an entirely project-focused, competency-based organisational structure with controlling and monitoring formally implemented by regular progress meetings with well-defined outcomes / task assignment, clearance / initiation forms, formal reporting, time tracking, ticketing, prioritisation, ownership, milestones and deliverables.