Belfast Telegraph

Scientific sector mourns death of pioneer Anderson

By Heather McGarrigle

Northern Ireland has lost "one of its entrepreneurial heroes" following the death of a leading medical engineer.

Professor John Anderson's death at the age of 69 after a six-month battle with cancer was announced by the University of Ulster this week. His funeral takes place today.

The former head of electrical and mechanical engineering at the university created a number of technology start-ups and is best known for his work creating the world's first portable defibrillator.

In 1990, he formed the Northern Ireland BioEngineering Centre (NIBEC) at the University of Ulster. It is now known as the Nanotechnology and Integrated BioEngineering Centre and continues to research new treatments for cardiac illness.

Prof Anderson was a co-founder, director and chief technology officer at two global technology companies, both based in Belfast.

HeartSine Technologies specialises in user-friendly automated external defibrillators and Intelesens provides monitoring equipment.

In 2002, Prof Anderson received a UK Business Fellowship, one of only 12 in the UK. The Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP) team named him Innovation Founder at their 2010 CONNECT £25K Awards and HeartSine Technologies won the Excellence in Technology award at last year's Belfast Telegraph business awards.

Professor Jim McLaughlin, a colleague and friend, said: "We are all saddened by this tragic news. John was admired and respected by all who knew him, whether professionally or personally, and the university, Intelesens and Heartsine have been privileged to have worked with a true pioneer."

Professor Hugh McKenna, pro-vice-chancellor of Research and Innovation at the University of Ulster also paid tribute: "As the founder and chief technology officer of HeartSine Technologies and Intelesens, John exemplified all that was good about the ability of universities to transfer the scientific knowledge they amass for the benefit of society.

Norman Apsley, chief executive of NISP, said yesterday: "Today Northern Ireland lost one of its entrepreneurial heroes.

"Second only to his family, the young technical entrepreneurs of NI were his first concern and they will miss him most of all."