New project to increase medtech innovation in Yorkshire
New project to increase medtech innovation in Yorkshire

The Grow Medtech partnership will build on the cluster of medical technologies expertise available within Leeds and Sheffield in an attempt to address issues that block products from getting to market.

The project is backed by £9.5 million of funding and includes more than 20 partners, six of which are northern universities. Other participants include local enterprise partnerships, National Institute of Health Research organisations, councils and chambers of commerce.

Grow Medtech will financially back researchers and developers to advance new products through the early stages of commercial development. The process will aim to take the business risk out of early-stage products and provide proof of commercial concept funding to give businesses a realistic chance of success. It will also support clinical evaluation to secure regulatory approval, helping projects become commercialised.

The project is expected to bring about 20 new devices into everyday use during its three years.

Grow Medtech has been backed by secretary of state for business, energy and the industrial strategy, Greg Clark, who said: “Through the Industrial Strategy, Grand Challenges and the funding announced today, we are helping turn innovative new ideas into products and services which could help change our lives and keep the UK as a world leader in developing the products of tomorrow.”

Leading the delivery of the partnership is Dr Josephine Dixon-Hardy, director of Medical Technologies Innovation at the University of Leeds.

“We are bringing the best minds in engineering, biological development, design and manufacturing together with industry to drive products into everyday use to improve the quality of life for people across the world.

“Our region already has an acknowledged reputation as a leader in this field – we plan to consolidate and extend that and provide the underpinning support needed to take new inventions through the important regulatory and testing processes needed to get them to market.” Dixon-Hardy said.

Grow Medtech will be supported by the University of Leeds’ innovation and enterprise centre, Nexus, which is set to open in September.

Nexus will offer incubation areas, lab spaces, meeting facilities and dedicated staff whose role is to facilitate productive working relationships between academic experts and business.

Professor John Fisher, director of the EPSRC Medical Technologies Innovation and Knowledge Centre, at the University, is the project’s academic lead.

He said: “The rate of change associated with technology convergence at the moment is unprecedented, and the UK medtech sector needs to transform to exploit this opportunity.

“We aim to lead this change in the UK, recognising the need for greater collaboration between researchers, industry and the wider healthcare sector, and the growing value of multi-disciplinary knowledge and skills across the med-tech sector. The programme will deliver growth in the economy and benefits to the health and care services”.