Imec started out in the semiconductor area and still works with all major players in the electronics field. The health care space is unique because solutions require more than a next best chip design. What imec provides to a medical system and device designer is to use its vast knowledge of things like circuit design, complex integration, and novel types of sensors, in combination with their other specialties such as fluidics and biocompatibility.

“We put it all together for our partners to create very novel types of systems for healthcare, diagnostics, and even for consumer-type health care applications. Our expertise ensures that their new technology is at a very high level,” said Paru Deshpande, Director of Life Science Technologies.

“Imec partners with industry in all areas. But, particularly in the health care technologies, they come to us with--often unusual--specifications. It is usually a collaborative effort with us providing specific expertise that’s complementary to the expertise they have on their side,” added Deshpande.

Deshpande explained that while imec also runs some of its own internal R&D programs, they are still joint efforts together with several industry partners to develop what the company calls “platform technology.” This results in having knowledge in-house of many things that may be too expensive for any single company to invest in.

“By multiple companies investing in a joint research program, each gains the benefit. Each company takes what they learn from that program to develop their own products. Imec is usually not the producer of the end product. It’s always done in some form of partnership with industry,” said Deshpande.