As our expertise has grown, we’ve expanded to become a national centre. We’ve shown how the collective know-how we’ve developed in Leeds can be effectively applied in other universities across the UK.
Over the past five years, we have developed a track record of successfully securing investment from the private sector to develop technologies arising from world-leading academic research. During that period, we have gained significant experience in evaluating technologies, and developing tools to help researchers commercialise technologies with real market potential.
As the Medical Technologies Medical Technologies IKC enters its second phase, we will be broadening our sphere of operations and using our wealth of knowledge and experience to work with other UK academic partners. At the heart of this is our Proof of Concept programme, which will be made available nationally to all projects that fit with our strategic objective of removing barriers to industrial investment.
At each Proof of Concept call for proposals, we will invite informal expressions of interest and produce a shortlist of projects that have strong market potential. These will be invited to make a full application to the fund.
We will also expand our communications networks to increase their national focus, inviting academics from across the UK to join our events and workshops. These will offer invaluable opportunities to make new contacts and to learn more about how to develop and present projects that will attract support and investment.
Where we are able to support projects more closely, we will assign a Technology Innovation Manager to work alongside the research team. Typically, this support will include regular reviews, where we can help researchers identify and manage risk, identify funding opportunities and develop relevant partnerships.
We’re very much looking forward to building on our achievements and working with a wider set of university partners to progress even more technologies through the pipeline and into the marketplace.
UK Academic Partnerships
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Our strategic alliance with Regener8 allows us to tap into a powerful resource for establishing new partnerships between top scientists, engineers, and both national and international industry.
Regener8 is the largest network for regenerative medicine in the UK. It brings together world-leading scientists in the N8 group of Northern universities and in other partner universities to support the translation of research in regenerative medicine into commercial products that deliver genuine clinical benefits.
Regener8 and the Medical Technologies Medical Technologies IKC have launched a growing network of Proof of Concept projects which, combined with the national and global growth of Regener8, has widened the reach of both organisations.
Working together, the Medical Technologies IKC and Regener8 are able to offer an even greater pool of expertise and resource to deliver networking, translational support and national influencing. In particular, we have established effective working relationships with organisations such as the Northern Health Sciences Alliance, that draw together those North of England centres that have both leading universities and teaching hospitals. Partnerships such as these will enable us to widen clinical and industry reach and add value to the Regener8 network.
We are also working with Regener8 to raise translational awareness and capability among academics through its partnership activities with Arthritis Research UK (ARUK). For example, our experts have been closely involved with the launch of ARUK’s proof of concept awards, including developing and reviewing funding application calls.
In partnership with Regener8 the Medical Technologies IKC has also established a partnership with the Cell Therapy Catapult (CTC), which focuses on the development of the UK cell therapy industry. The CTC’s regenerative medicine strategies clearly complement our own strategic priorities and plans are being made to identify collaborative opportunities where academic, clinical and industrial members of Regener8 and the Medical Technologies IKC can support the successful translation of research with the CTC.
Our Proof of Concept programme has been extremely successful at a regional level and is now being rolled out nationally to close the early stage translation gap in other universities. We are working with universities across the country that have aligned capabilities to develop new regenerative devices.
Nine POC projects have now been funded at different UK universities, including UCL, Imperial College London, Nottingham, Cambridge, UEA, Manchester, Sheffield, Bradford and York. A national evaluation panel has been set up to ensure all projects meet the requirements for Medical Technologies IKC investment and are evaluated consistently.
Our POC programme is not just a matter of providing funding – there is a clear demand for specialist innovation management to develop medical technologies to the point where they are investment ready. Our Technology Innovation Managers are key to this. They bring unique industrial expertise in the regenerative devices sector. They help identify early stage translation projects with real commercial potential and develop them in partnership with academics and clinicians.
Our Technology Innovation Managers can also help to identify national funding sources. This is particularly valuable, as it helps researchers take the next steps in successful research translation after POC funding has ended. We offer other late stage guidance as well, including health economics evaluation, clinical trials design and help to define the regulatory pathways for each new technology.
We are also forging relationships with core business partners who collaborate with funded projects. There are currently 66 industry collaborators working on POC and collaborative development projects nationally.
Our alliance with Regener8 is fundamental to this approach, enabling us to widen our reach and connectivity across the UK. The Medical Technologies IKC now holds a unique role in the UK medical technology and regenerative devices landscape and, together with Regener8, has established the UK’s largest regenerative technologies network.