Guide to medtech innovation pathway launched

The Medical Technologies IKC has announced the launch of an online guide to medtech research translation for academics and researchers based in UK universities.

The guide aims to familiarise STEM researchers with the complex medtech innovation pathway from bench to bedside, signposting to credible further resources and suggesting reflective tasks to start practically building a business case.

The resource is free, and researchers can work through it from beginning to end or access relevant chapters to suit their requirements.

Take me to An academic’s guide to medtech translation

Dr Philippa Hemmings, Head of Healthcare Technologies at EPSRC said: “It’s great to see the launch of this online guide which will support research translation in medical technologies. Advances in medtech have fundamentally improved the length and quality of life on a global scale and the guide will help facilitate the development of new medical technology innovations.”

Professor Ruth Wilcox, Director of the Medical Technologies IKC said: “For many researchers, the goal of their work is to make an impact. Translating and commercialising research is a way of achieving that long-term impact on society but the route to clinic is highly complex. We developed this guide to untangle the process overall, and to hone-in on some of the trickiest hurdles to overcome, like regulatory issues and clinical studies. This guide provides practical advice to help researchers navigate the innovation pathway and signposts to appropriate support and resources available for each stage.”

The guide has been developed using experience and expertise developed throughout the lifetime of the Medical Technologies IKC, established by the University of Leeds in 2009, and through Grow MedTech, a consortium of six universities set up in 2018.

“Through these programmes, and working with our industry partners, we’ve progressed over 250 projects (proof of concept or technology development and demonstration), of which 84 have gone beyond Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 – with over 50 products or services reaching the market,” said Professor Wilcox.

Take me to An academic’s guide to medtech translation

About the Medical Technologies IKC and Grow MedTech

Since 2009, the University of Leeds has been working with UK HEIs to accelerate technologies closer to market through the Medical Technologies Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC), funded by the UKRI Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.  Over the years, we have developed a unique innovation infrastructure, a team of experienced professional innovation and IP managers, and successful innovation and evaluation methods to advance medical technologies and remove uncertainty and risk.

Our approach has enabled us to deliver a large portfolio of proof of concept projects. By de-risking technologies at an early stage, we’ve opened the door to over £200m private sector investment to progress technologies towards commercialisation. Most of this investment – £148 million – has supported seven start-up companies established to take the technologies forward, while the remainder has supported work by established industry partners. This investment has enabled new products to be developed and manufacturing facilities to be established in the UK, the European Union, Switzerland and the USA.

Other organisations, including the medical charity Versus Arthritis, have also partnered with us, to apply our approach to their research funding programmes.

7 spinout and start-up companies created and supported
Enabled £200m downstream private sector investment into the private sector
267 proof-of-concept, technology development and demonstration projects
… 84 have progressed beyond TRL 4
50+ different products and services reaching the market

In 2015, we won an award through Office for Students for Translate MedTech, to lead a targeted innovation development programme to enhance innovation awareness, understanding and capacity in the Leeds City Region (Universities of Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Leeds Beckett, Sheffield Hallam and York).

Then in 2018, the team won funding for Grow MedTech from Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund to replicate our original approach to innovation with our Translate MedTech programme partners, and welcoming Sheffield Hallam to the consortium.

From 2018 to 2021 Translate MedTech maintained activities from funding provided by the partner universities to run alongside and enhance Grow MedTech support.