By Gavin Mackintosh-
Six Yorkshire Universities have merged forces to highlight Yorkshire’s medical inventions and expose them to investors.
The Grow MedTech partnership is supported by almost £10m of funding by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which has contributed just under £5million. The shortfall of the funding is provided by the partner organisations.
Led by the University of Leeds, in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University, Leeds Beckett University, the University of Bradford, University of Huddersfield and University of York, among more than 20 partners in the three-year project.
The joint project will address issues that can block the process of commercialising products and bringing them from conception to clinical use.
The huge financial investment is expected to help researchers and developers take new products through the early stages of commercial development, the partnership expects to bring around 20 potentially life-enhancing devices into everyday use during the next three years.
This will include taking the business risk out of early-stage projects and providing proof of commercial concept funding, giving investors and businesses confidence that they have a realistic chance of success.
It will also support clinical evaluation to secure regulatory approval, essential for them to be commercialised.
Support throughout the development of devices and products will enable universities to commercialise more MedTech intellectual property and work more effectively with businesses and investors.
Alex Prince, head of knowledge transfer at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “This partnership is bringing together the best of the region’s engineering, design, manufacturing and biological teams and departments to help bring life-changing medical technology to those who truly need it.
“Our region is a leader in this field – and this partnership project further emphasises our reputation and ambition.”
Examples of some of the technological convergence on the cards include connecting robotics and medical imaging systems to automate surgical procedures, and digital health and smart drug delivery services.
The Grow MedTech programme is intended to bring together the extensive resources in the two city regions to stimulate a more-dynamic MedTech cluster.
The funding will empower researchers and developers in their work to take new products through the early stages of commercial development It is expected that the partnership will bring around 20 “potentially life-enhancing” devices into everyday use over the next three years.
Included in the project is taking the business risk out of new products, and make it easier for investors to see their commercial potential.
Professor John Bridgeman, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research and Knowledge Transfer) said: “We warmly welcome Research England’s support for connecting our distinctive strengths in research, development, and innovation with those of our partners in Leeds, Huddersfield, Sheffield and York and we are greatly looking forward to participating in the Grow Med Tech consortium.
This project is a great example of how collaboration between Yorkshire’s universities, including, for example, Bradford’s Digital Health Enterprise Zone, can offer improved health standards for everyone at the same time as boosting local jobs and economic growth.”
The funding is designed to help Bradford connect expertise in health services research, end-of-life care, digital health, medical engineering, and innovation management to the Yorkshire-wide consortium of universities with the objective of boosting the impact of university research into medical technology on patient well being.