Boost for UK medical technology innovation

Date: August 17, 2015

The University of Leeds Medical Technologies Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) has won £3 million to continue bringing the best of the UK’s medical technology research to patients.

The centre has been a leader in medical technology innovation since it was established in 2009, building a reputation for fostering close collaboration between industry and top researchers and translating cutting-edge research into practical medical devices.

The new funding, from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, will allow it to continue its work to 2020.

Forty new proof-of-concept projects will be selected through targeted calls over the next five years.

Professor John Fisher, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds, who leads the centre, said. “Half way through our ten year plan, we’re building on our success. We’re working with more industry and university partners to increase innovation activity across the UK in medical technologies and support emergent technologies.

“We see the potential to boost future investment in research and new product development to over £50m per year by 2020, building the platform of technology needed to establish a £1 billion per year industry over the next decade.”

At the heart of the centre’s success has been a focus on addressing the needs of an active, ageing population—working toward a goal of making “50 active years after 50®” a reality for millions.

The centre has introduced devices and scaffolds that enable the body to repair damaged tissues and restore function using its own cells and repair mechanisms. Developing further solutions for the musculoskeletal system will continue to be a major priority.

The new funding will also allow expansion into fields such as wound repair, maxillofacial reconstruction, dental reconstruction and general surgery.

A variety of vehicles will be used to get technologies to patients, including the use of new spinout companies and the transfer of technologies to large and small companies.

The centre works closely with industrial partners to accelerate products’ route to market, reduce risk of failure in the development process and to facilitate access to private and public sector investment.

The funding will also support research & innovation training for 150 undergraduates, PhD students and post-doctoral researchers, contributing to the development of a highly skilled workforce for the fast-growing medical technology industry.

Jo Dixon Hardy, Operations Director of the IKC, said: “By helping to develop a commercially aware cohort of researchers and technology specialists through training initiatives and career development programmes, we are also helping to address the needs for specialist skills within the new high-value industry being created.”

Further Information

Contact: Chris Bunting, Senior Press Officer, University of Leeds; phone: 0113 343 2049 or email c.j.bunting@leeds.ac.uk

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