1. Important news for our network: Simon Butler

    It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of our former colleague, Simon Butler.

    Simon passed away unexpectedly on Sunday 4 April and will be greatly missed by the Grow MedTech team and those who knew him through our network.

    Working as part of our Technology Innovation Management team, Simon provided a wealth of knowledge and experience in medtech development, and he combined this with a positive, passionate and friendly personality. He built lasting relationships with both the core team and the wider network, and remained closely connected as he started his role at the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) in 2020.

    A page dedicated to the memory of Simon has been set up to allow those who wish to share their condolences, memories and photographs.

    Simon Butler - Grow MedTech team
  2. Grow MedTech members named in 20 of the most inspirational women in tech working in Leeds.

    Two members of Grow MedTech have been named in the Leeds List ’20 of the most inspirational women in tech working in Leeds.’

    Cat Colquhoun (pictured) is our Technology Innovation Officer at Leeds Beckett University, and helps academics to progress their medical technologies towards clinical application.

    Victoria Betton is Managing Director of PeopleDotCom and an active member of our External Advisory Board, providing knowledge and insight in tech development.

    To view the full list and read the bios of all 20 women, visit the Leeds List website.

  3. Invitation to quote – Evaluation of our innovation management process

    Do you have experience and a track record in evaluation – preferably in higher education or the medtech sector?

    Grow MedTech is calling for expertise to evaluate our innovation management process.

    Through this evaluation project, we aim to:

    • evaluate the extent to which we have met our innovation management programme objectives
    • explore the value of our approach to innovation
    • inform our reporting back to funders and other stakeholders
    • inform the evolution of current innovation management activities and the development of future programmes
    • understand whether we have demonstrated good practice in areas of activity, identify which themes these are and, where appropriate, inform the development of good-practice guides to share with peers and complimentary programmes

    Download full brief

    The deadline for quotes is 31 March, and we expect the work to be completed by 30 June.

    If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Rowan Grant, Communications and Engagement Manager.

  4. Invitation to quote – Evaluation of the Translate MedTech and Grow MedTech alignment

    Do you have experience and a track record in evaluation – preferably in higher education or the medtech sector?

    Grow MedTech is calling for expertise to evaluate the alignment of the Translate MedTech and Grow MedTech programmes.

    Through this evaluation project, we aim to:

    • explore the value of the alignment of the two programmes
    • inform our reporting back to funders and other stakeholders
    • inform the evolution of current activities and the development of future programmes
    • understand whether we have demonstrated good practice in areas of activity, identify which themes these are and, where appropriate, inform the development of good-practice guides to share with peers and complimentary programmes

    Download full brief (PDF)

    The deadline for quotes is 31 March, and we expect the work to be completed by 30 June.

    If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Rowan Grant, Communications and Engagement Manager.

  5. Invitation to quote – Evaluation of the programme

    Do you have experience and a track record in evaluation – preferably in higher education or the medtech sector?

    Grow MedTech is calling for expertise to evaluate the programme and the multi-partner consortium.

    Through this evaluation project, we aim to:

    • evaluate the extent to which we have met our programme objectives
    • explore the value of the programme, and the effectiveness of the consortium
    • inform our reporting back to funders and other stakeholders
    • inform the evolution of current activities and the development of future programmes
    • understand whether we have demonstrated good practice in areas of activity, identify which themes these are and, where appropriate, inform the development of good-practice guides to share with peers and complimentary programmes

    Download full brief

    The deadline for quotes is 31 March, and we expect the work to be completed by 30 June.

    If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Rowan Grant, Communications and Engagement Manager.

  6. Medtech development: call for expertise and mentoring

    Do you have experience in medtech development? Can you offer industry mentoring to our researchers to further their projects?

    Grow MedTech is calling for expertise to provide development and mentoring support for our projects.

    Our Executive and Innovation Management groups have identified a number of projects that could benefit from specialist input in one of two ways:

    A. Medtech consultancy – to address key questions and provide support for projects including developing a commercialisation strategy and next steps

    B. Industry mentoring –  to critically evaluate and provide support for projects including developing a commercialisation strategy and next steps. This will compliment skills and expertise in the technology management team and will build long term relationships between the project team and industry mentor.

    We have directly funded more than 100 technology development projects from a pool of over 250 identified opportunities, providing specific and directed translational support to bridge the gap between fundamental research and industry investment. As the programme enters the final six months, we are focussing on progressing selected projects downstream, strengthening their commercialisation roadmaps and strategy in order to build confidence for further investment.

    Download full briefs, including project summaries:

    Medtech consultancy brief (opens PDF)

    Support and mentoring brief (opens PDF)

    Quotes should be submitted by 12pm Friday 5 February. We expect competitive rates to be negotiated for distinct packages of work. If you have any questions or require further information, please contact: Danielle Miles, Grow MedTech Programme lead.

  7. AIMday: Grow MedTech Diagnostics – a review

    This event was coordinated by Joe Drake, Technology Innovation Officer for Grow MedTech, and Mohua Siddique, Innovation Development Officer for Translate MedTech. In this blog, Mohua recaps on the outcomes of the day:

    On 10 December 2020, Grow MedTech and Translate MedTech, in partnership with NIHR Leeds Diagnostics Co-operative ran AIMday: Grow MedTech Diagnostics, a day to discuss pressing diagnostic research and development needs, create or strengthen collaborations, and develop new diagnostic technology projects that can be further supported by Grow MedTech and funding bodies. 

    We had a fantastic response from our community of companies from within the region and internationally, submitting 23 questions in total.  Seven questions were then selected to be answered by our engaged network of academics and clinicians across the Grow MedTech and Translate partnership. Selected questions ranged from how to use AI technologies to determine immunotherapy treatment responses, to developing cost effective methods to detect drug levels in serum.  

    On the day we had 58 participants take part in seven question sessions, including company representatives, academics, clinicians and knowledge exchange professionals. We adapted the AIMday format so we could hold the event virtually and we are the first to do this.

    The selected questions ran as one-hour workshop sessions using a video conferencing platform, with facilitation from Grow MedTech Technology Innovation Managers. Company representatives introduced their question and set the scene, allowing for academics to propose innovative solutions and explore industry needs in detail. As the sessions came to a close, Technology Innovation Managers identified a number of next steps to continue progressing the conversations towards a solution, including identifying funding streams and strengthening the newly formed collaborations.

    Feedback for the event was resoundingly positive, with an emphasis on the importance of events like AIMDay to strengthen links between academia and industry. ”[It’s] rare for industry to have a platform to present novel concepts to academics. The meeting also provided the academics with access to something they really need.”

    About AIMday

    AIMday is an opportunity for academics and organisations to make contacts and exchange knowledge. It is simply the idea that a broad mix of academics can provide different perspectives and surprising new avenues to solving real-world problems – and to create favourable conditions for continued cooperation between academia and non-academic organisations. Developed by Uppsala University in 2008, the AIMday concept has been embraced by several leading universities in Sweden and other parts of the world.

  8. A Christmas message from the Grow MedTech team

    As we approach the festive period, most of us are preparing for a well-deserved rest with family and friends.  For us, it’s also a good time to take stock of the year gone by, getting ready to start fresh initiatives for the New Year.

    This year saw Grow MedTech achieve numerous – sometimes unexpected – milestones. COVID19 presented our programmes – as it did with most businesses – with numerous challenges, that thanks to our adaptive team and community, we have continued to deliver against targets successfully and support the fight against the virus.

    Our innovation development programme, Translate MedTech, successfully moved entirely online from March, running 4 courses (plus 2 in person pre-COVID), brokering 6 secondments and supporting two hackathons virtually through Zoom and other digital platforms.

    Grow MedTech has continued to run medtech translation funding calls, and our team of Technology Innovation Managers have supported projects whilst working from home. Since the launch of the programme, we have supported 231 total projects, 98 of which are funded by us.  The commitment from research staff to maintain their projects has not gone unnoticed and this year has testified the persistence of our innovation community.   

    Bringing together new collaborations between academia, business and NHS partners will always be at the heart of what we do. We are proud to have brought together 159 new collaborations in total, and this has of course challenged us more under the circumstances of last year.  We hosted an in-person MSK workshop in February, and later successfully moved our workshops online to deliver our AIMday (Academic Industry Meeting day) in diagnostics event, both in partnership with NIHR Leeds In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative, and Translate. 

    Being shortlisted for a Collaborate to Innovate Award from The Engineer was an encouraging way to end the year and we’re looking forward to the special Collaborate To Innovate Week, hosted on The Engineer’s website in February, for the winners’ announcements. 

    Finally, we are excited for the re-opening of the Thackray Medical Museum, when restrictions allow. In the first collaboration of its kind for Grow MedTech, the coming months will see the Thackray Medical Museum showcase six Grow MedTech projects in Future Space, part of a £4 million redevelopment project for the museum.

    We are now just weeks away from 2021 and the team are excited about what the coming year has in store.

    On behalf of Jo, Danielle and all of the team, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our partners and collaborators for their continuous support and we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy 2021.

  9. Grow MedTech shortlisted for prestigious collaboration award

    Grow MedTech and The Medical Technologies IKC have been shortlisted for The Engineer’s Collaborate to Innovate (C2I) Award in the healthcare and medical category.

    The awards recognise and celebrate great examples of technology-led engineering collaboration across a range of different disciplines and sectors.

    The submission highlights its distinctive medical technologies research, innovation and translation system, collaborating with University of Leeds and UKRI EPSRC, UKRI Research England, 27 academic research organisation collaborators, 234 industry and clinical research organisation collaborators and a wider network of 928 associate members.

    Professor John Fisher, Academic Director of the IKC, said: “We are honoured to be shortlisted for an award that will celebrate collaborative innovations in this life-changing field. Our success in developing technologies that help people stay healthier for longer, addressing the challenges of an ageing population, has always been a collaborative effort for us.”

    The winners will be announced during a special C2I Week that will hosted on The Engineer’s website from 1st to 5th February 2021.

  10. Pioneering Leeds researcher accepted into leading programme

    A Grow MedTech supported researcher has been accepted into a prestigious scheme run by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

    Dr Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso, from the School of Biology, is Associated Professor in Plant Sciences at University of Leeds. Her cross-disciplinary research centres on the biophysical and biomechanical properties of cell walls surrounding plant intercellular channels, named plasmodesmata, and their potential uses in the development of new strategies for crop improvement and biomaterial development.

    Dr Benitez-Alfonso is among 101 individuals awarded Future Leader Fellowships today by UKRI. Grow MedTech supported her application through one-to-one coaching and mentoring.

    Created in 2018, the government-backed scheme is designed to promote ambitious and challenging research and innovation. 

    The £109 million fund supports outstanding researchers across UK business and academia. It enables them to develop their careers while helping to advance the UK’s vibrant research and innovation environment.

    And Leeds has been selected as one of seven universities to form the Future Leaders Fellowship Development Network, providing expertise and enabling recipients to collaborate and build key links in their areas of research.

    The recipients were announced on 15 October by Science Minister Amanda Solloway, who said: “We are committed to building back better through research and innovation, and supporting our science superstars in every corner of the UK. 

    “By backing these inspirational Future Leaders Fellows, we will ensure that their brilliant ideas can be transferred straight from the lab into vital everyday products and services that will help to change all our lives for the better.” 

    UKRI Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said: “Future Leaders Fellowships provide researchers and innovators with freedom and support to drive forward transformative new ideas and the opportunity to learn from peers right across the country.

    “The fellows announced today illustrate how the UK continues to support and attract talented researchers and innovators across every discipline to our universities and businesses, with the potential to deliver change that can be felt across society and the economy.”

    To read the full article, visit the University of Leeds website.