The University of Leeds has secured a £2.25 million investment to support the commercialisation of medical technologies developed by five universities in the Leeds City Region.
The Medical Technologies Innovation Catalyst project, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), will translate the regions best medical technology research into practical products available to patients.
Working closely with the already highly successful Medical Technologies Innovation and Knowledge Centre (Medical Technologies IKC) at the University of Leeds, the project will give researchers at the universities of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, York and Leeds Beckett access to a dedicated innovation team experienced in getting technologies to market.
The announcement comes after the Medical Technologies IKC was awarded an additional £3 million to accelerate commercialisation of regenerative devices nationwide.
Professor John Fisher, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds, is director of the Medical Technologies IKC.
He said: The Medical Technologies Innovation Catalyst project will enable us to share the expertise built up within the Medical Technologies IKC over the last five years and to help other universities in the Leeds City Region build capacity in innovation.
Dr Ceri Williams, Director of Research and Innovation Funding at the University of Leeds, said: Working with the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, our aim is to establish the region as the preferred location for medical technology innovation and inward investment in the UK. We have 100 medical technology companies in the Leeds City Region working in areas that match well with the research expertise within our universities, so the foundations are set already.
Dr Williams added: Capacity building and skills development will be central to the roll out of the new initiative to create a robust medical technology hub in the region and ensure its sustainability long-term. The University of Leeds already hosts a national Centre for Doctoral Training and a Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation Management, developed by the IKC.
The Catalyst will provide training and development support in innovation for researchers and academics across the five universities.
Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: Innovation is critical for the growth of our regional economy, and universities play a key role in both technology translation and development of high level skills. The Leeds City Region is fortunate to have the innovation and translation expertise of the Medical Technologies IKC on its doorstep. Combining those skills and knowledge with the research strengths of the regional universities will offer real advantages to local med tech businesses and the sector as a whole.
The project will start immediately. Representatives from medical technology companies in the region are encouraged to get in touch with the Medical Technologies IKC to find out about opportunities to collaborate.
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Medical Technologies IKC
Based at the University of Leeds, the Medical Technologies Innovation and Knowledge Centre originally received £10m of funding from UK research councils the EPSRC, BBSRC and Innovate UK (formerly Technology Strategy Board).
The Medical Technologies IKC aims to deliver successful innovation and accelerated delivery of medical technologies and regenerative therapies to patients. They focus on closing the technology gap to de-risk new medical technology products and services so that they are more likely to secure significant industrial investment. They focus on the commercial development of new technologies that will deliver 50 active years after 50® by helping the body repair and restore function.
Since 2009, the IKC has generated and leveraged a further £95 million in research and innovation funding, including more than £12 million from industry. As a result of the de-risking strategies of the IKC, private industry has invested a further £57 million in product development.