Extending our influence – Dr Jo Dixon-Hardy

Date: February 5, 2019

Dr Jo Dixon-Hardy is the Director of Medical Technologies Innovation.

Among the IKC’s most energising achievements has been its success in extending successful innovation practice across academic research translation programmes both regionally and nationally.

Our distinctive contribution is driven by our technology innovation managers (TIMs). Because they all have extensive experience of developing commercial products in or with the private sector, they fully appreciate the pressures involved in technology development for industry. At the same time, they also understand the objectives underpinning academic work. The ability to offer project management in a way that draws academic and industry imperatives together and delivers impact and outcomes for all parties really sets the IKC apart.

Another aspect of our approach that makes the IKC distinctive is the variety and depth of our engagement with  industry. Our core mission is to develop commercial products and deliver economic benefits. To do that effectively, we need to build partnerships across a broad stakeholder community. That’s why our programme includes industry-led funding calls and includes industry members on our advisory board. Our engagement with the sector, through initiatives such as the Science Innovation Audit, has also helped us understand emerging trends, for example the increasing growth opportunities offered through technology convergence projects.

The value of our approach can be seen throughout our project portfolio as technologies progress towards commercialisation. But it’s just as exciting to see the IKC’s influence and good practice extending into other initiatives such as the HEFCE (now Office for Students)- funded Translate programme, and the nationally focused MeDe Innovation. Most recently, we’ve secured funding for Grow MedTech, which brings together six universities in the Leeds and Sheffield city regions to tackle commercialisation challenges. One of 14 projects nationwide funded by Research England, Grow MedTech is a £9.5m programme which will extend our approach into partner institutions by embedding a technology innovation manager in each one. These TIMs will work as a team, working to find the best partnerships across the programme to promote industry engagement, to increase academic opportunity and, ultimately deliver new benefits to patients.

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