1. Apply to attend the Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate Course

    Translate MedTech is offering three fully-paid places (ordinarily valued at $5000 per person) on the upcoming London Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate Programme to qualifying academics from the Universities of Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Leeds Beckett, Sheffield Hallam and York. The places are being offered in partnership with the Institute of Biomedical Entrepreneurship

    The course takes place between 1 April – 5 April 2019, and offers successful applicants the opportunity to receive 45 hours of direct mentorship from highly successful industry leaders with decades of experience in creating commercial biomedical technology start-ups.

    Attending researchers and innovators will:

    • Learn how to develop ideas into commercial successes, including the major components of a full-cycle development process;
    • Analyse and validate the commercial potential of their research, and evaluate potential start-up opportunities for personal involvement;
    • Be provided with access to resources for developing their ideas and pursuing validated opportunities into commercial development;
    • Leave capable of beginning the implementation process on ideas that merit development.


    Dr Farshid Sefat was one of three successful applicants that was selected to attend the previous Translate funded IBE course. After attending, Dr Sefat said: “The Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship certificate programme was an excellent opportunity for me as a young lecturer to gain insight and useful information about the commercialisation of any medical product.”

    “Through the course,  I met great people from the IBE team and they provided excellent service to every participant. After meeting new people from academia and industry a new collaboration formed”

    Who can apply to attend the course?

    Applicants must be permanent academic staff or post-doctoral researchers (we are not able to offer places to PhD students or postdoctoral researchers) based at any one of the Universities of Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Leeds Beckett, Sheffield Hallam and York.

    When must applications be submitted by?

    The deadline for applications is 18 March 2018 at 12pm

    Apply now

    Email hello@translate-medtech.ac.uk with:

    • Your CV;
    • 500 words explaining why you believe you should attend and what you hope to achieve by completing the course.
  2. Sheffield Hallam joins Translate to develop medtech know-how

    Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University have joined partners across the region to enhance their medical technology innovation expertise.

    Sheffield Hallam joins the universities of Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Leeds Beckett and York in the Translate MedTech consortium.

    The partnership enables PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, academics and technology transfer professionals from Sheffield Hallam to take part in Translate MedTech’s extensive innovation and development programme.

    As well as enabling participants to progress their ideas for new technologies, the innovation development programme provides opportunities to stand out to potential collaborators and future employers. The programme includes a secondment scheme, courses, and access to innovation champions who have a wealth of experience and expertise in developing medical technologies.

    Sheffield Hallam’s Dean of Research, Wayne Cranton, said: “We are delighted to partner with Translate MedTech and support our academics in accessing expert-led training to support them towards commercialisation of our cutting-edge technology research.”

    Sheffield Hallam University is a national leader in creating innovative and real-world solutions for tackling today’s health and wellbeing challenges.

    The University is the largest provider of health and social care education in England. With courses covering all aspects of healthcare including: nursing, midwifery, allied health, social care and sport, its curriculum creates the skilled workforce the NHS needs to deliver better long-term health outcomes for the nation.

    The University specialises in healthcare research and its practitioners, scientists, engineers and designers regularly collaborate to create innovative solutions to global health challenges.

    About the opportunities

    Academics from the Translate MedTech partner consortium can benefit from courses running throughout 2019, covering NHS strategy and adoption, and public and patient involvement.

    Consortium academics can also apply for specific opportunities, like a three-month secondment with Versus Arthritis: an opportunity to understand the motivations and values of charitable medical research funders, develop project management skills, understand the grant funding process, and develop experience of patient involvement.

    Innovation Development Manager for Translate, Dr Lisa Hill, said: “Through secondments and expert-led training, academics build vital capabilities that enable them to understand the un-met clinical needs of our healthcare system and how their innovative new technologies can target these for successful commercialisation”.

    Wider goals

    Through this new partnership, Translate MedTech and Sheffield Hallam University are focused on developing the Leeds and Sheffield City Regions into nationally recognised centres for medtech innovation.

    The Sheffield City Region already brings well-established complementary sectors in digital and advanced manufacturing, which it is effectively converging as digital advanced manufacturing to the sector.

    Through the partnership, Translate MedTech will help to enhance commercialisation capability amongst medtech researchers at Sheffield Hallam University.

    Access opportunities now

    Courses are available to book now.

    Join the Translate and Grow MedTech mailing list to be kept up to date with further opportunities and announcements, including the launch of the 2019 secondment scheme.

    About Translate MedTech

    Translate MedTech was originally financed by the HEFCE Catalyst Fund (2015-2018), aiming to drive innovation in the Higher Education sector, enhance excellence and efficiency in HE, and support innovative solutions. The successful programme is now sustained through investment from partner HEIs.

    Further information:

    For further information on Translate MedTech and opportunities available visit our website or contact Mohua Siddique: m.siddique@leeds.ac.uk.

  3. Apply for a Translate MedTech Secondment

    Researchers developing medical technologies can apply for support and funding to gain fresh insights from new environments.

    Download application form

    Translate MedTech has funding to support up to 10 secondments to enable researchers to temporarily take up a role in a complementary organisation, or to host a clinician, healthcare provider, or collaborator from industry or academia.

    Applications to this scheme must support the development of innovation skills and/or the progress technologies towards clinical application.

    Secondment support on offer

    We can provide:

    • guidance and advice pre-application
    • help identifying a placement suited to your needs
    • an introduction to academics in other institutions
    • contact with clinicians
    • help to identify an industry specialist
    • up to £2500 to cover the cost of travel and accommodation

    Outgoing secondments provide an opportunity for academics, researchers, research students to broaden their experience, supporting:

    • The acquisition of new knowledge and skills
    • The development of new collaborations
    • Access to unique laboratories and facilities
    • Technology progression

    Host organisations can include:

    • Hospitals and other healthcare providers – supporting insight into clinical needs
    • Industrial companies and enterprises – providing an appreciation of commercial priorities, market drivers, health economics, manufacturing constraints
    • Innovation teams – offering knowledge and expertise in progressing medical technology opportunities
    • UK or international laboratories – providing training, access to equipment, and opportunities to develop collaborations
    • Technology intermediaries, including regulatory bodies

    Incoming secondments

    An incoming secondment may be more suited to your needs: allowing academics and researchers to host clinicians, industrialists or innovation specialists at their institutions.

    Contact Mohua Siddique: m.siddique@leeds.ac.uk

    How to apply

    For further details, eligibility criteria and deadlines, download the Translate MedTech Secondment Scheme Guidelines and EOI Form.

    Closing date

    Applications to be submitted by 22 March 2019.

    About Translate MedTech

    The Translate MedTech programme is a partnership of universities in the Leeds and Sheffield City Regions with world-class expertise in the development of new medical technologies. Translate’s mission is to establish a sustainable community of academic, industry and clinical partners that are connected and committed to working in partnership to deliver a strong local economy and patient benefits.

  4. Secondment Opportunity at Versus Arthritis

    Download application form

    Are you a PhD student or post-doctoral researcher based at one of the Translate partner universities and looking to broaden your knowledge, skills and networks with a secondment?

    Translate MedTech is seeking a PhD student or post-doctoral researcher (based at one of the Translate partner universities: University of Bradford, University of Huddersfield, Leeds Beckett University, University of Leeds, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of York) to work alongside the Research Liaison and Evaluation, and Research Awards teams at Versus Arthritis. These teams work closely together to provide information on research funded by Versus Arthritis.

    This Translate MedTech secondment opportunity can be fully flexible, full or part-time, and continue up to a maximum of three months starting in April 2019. Up to £2,500 is available to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. The successful candidate will be expected to work from either the Versus Arthritis office in Chesterfield, Derbyshire or London. 

     The secondment will provide an opportunity to gain understanding of musculoskeletal disorders; enhance communication skills; understand the motivations and values of charitable medical research funders; develop project management skills and understanding of the grant funding process and provide experience of patient involvement.

    We are Versus Arthritis. We are volunteers, healthcare professionals, researchers and friends, all doing everything we can to push back against arthritis. We’re reaching out to everybody with the information and support they need, funding vital research and changing the way society sees arthritis. Together we’ll keep running, researching, influencing, volunteering, advising, chatting, baking, listening.  We won’t stop until no-one has to tolerate living with the pain, fatigue and isolation of arthritis.

    Join us and use your skills, knowledge, passion and energy to help us defy arthritis.

    The Translate MedTech programme is a partnership of universities in the Leeds and Sheffield City Regions with world-class expertise in the development of new medical technologies. Translate’s mission is to establish a sustainable community of academic, industry and clinical partners that are connected and committed to working in partnership to deliver a strong local economy and patient benefits.

    Closing date: 5pm on Wednesday 6 March 2018.

    For further details, eligibility criteria and deadlines, download the Translate MedTech Secondment opportunity at Versus Arthritis  Guidelines and EOI form.

    Download application form

  5. Opening doors to better business engagement

    Dr Julian Sorrell is Business Development Manager at Leeds Beckett University and has overseen the University’s engagement with the Translate programme.

    As an institution, Leeds Beckett University is benefitting hugely from Translate – in part because the programme’s approach very closely mirrors our own, with an emphasis on bringing together effective partnerships to co-develop innovative new products and services.

    Establishing effective networks

    An important part of Translate is its ability to create a collaborative environment. We’ve certainly expanded our network of relevant business contacts through engagement with the Translate programme – and this is an area where Leeds Beckett already takes an innovative approach.

    One example is our University Business Centres (UBCs), set up, not on our campuses like many universities, but across West Yorkshire. These act as shopfronts for the University, offering business space, support and training and helping us to have a wider reach, particularly to SMEs. The UBC in Leeds is focused purely on digital technology: maybe one day it will house a start-up that we can trace directly back to the Translate programme.

    Co-developing solutions

    But business engagement is only one part of the picture for medtech innovation – the collaboration has to include clinicians and end users, often patients or those with long-term conditions. Again, this is an area where we had already been developing new approaches, that have a direct synergy with Translate. We co-funded, for example, a post with Assistive Living Leeds (ALL), an arm of Leeds City Council that deals with assistive technologies and support for people with disabilities and the elderly.  This led to the creation of ALLINN – the Assistive Living Leeds Innovation Lab – which provides end-user consultation and needs analysis services to companies developing assisted living technologies.

    In 2016, Translate worked with ALLINN to run a workshop on assistive technologies, one of a series of similar workshops bringing academics, clinicians, industry and end users together to identify unmet clinical needs and potential technologies to address them. We recognised the value of this model and so made sure our academics took part in as many of the workshops as possible, creating connections and making new contacts in different client and end user groups. Although of course, not all the workshops led to projects and technologies being taken forward, they did create the right environment, so multi-disciplinary teams could be put together quickly to assess opportunities.

    Creating a two-way knowledge exchange

    At Leeds Beckett, most of our research is already very applied. But, however experienced they might be, academics rarely have all the skills they need, all the time. Translate has allowed us to increase the level of skills within the University around key technology areas, through secondments with companies or clinical partners – or even other universities. Too often knowledge exchange is seen as one way: academics sharing their expertise. But through Translate, the knowledge exchange has been inward, helping our academics gain the skills they need to progress an medtech idea.

    We’ve benefitted in the Business Development Team as well, in particular from the additional IP support available through Translate. The programme has provided tools and expertise to help us analyse business propositions more rapidly, to assess commercial potential and identify next steps, particularly around patient and clinical engagement. We’ve been able to speed up our processes as a result, something that will continue to bear fruit in the future. Above all, our aim is to meet the needs of the region’s business. Through partnerships like the one we’ve established with Translate, we can ensure our contribution delivers real impact.

  6. Top tips for collaborative innovation

    Liz Towns Andrews is a member of Translate’s Advisory Board, where her expertise in forging links between the worlds of business and academia has been invaluable. As Director of Research and Enterprise at the University of Huddersfield, Liz led the development of the University’s flagship 3M Buckley Innovation Centre (3M BIC). The centre has become a highly successful regional hub, supporting both spin-in and spin-out ventures. In 2013, Liz was awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion, recognising the role she has played in promoting entrepreneurship in the region. Here, she shares her advice for successful collaborative innovation.

    1. Learn to speak two languages

    Years ago, when I was Director of Innovation for the Science and Technology Facilities Council, I realised that taking an academic into a business meeting could often be counter-productive. They would talk at length about the specifications of the technology they had developed, but wouldn’t manage to get across what problems it can solve – or how exciting it might be!

    I started to understand that you need a foot in both camps. You need to be able to grasp the languages spoken by both academics and business. Once you can get a dialogue going, you find the differences are much more to do with perceptions than about reality. They start to fall away and then you can start to find common ground.

    2. Help build the business pyramid

    Businesses need far more than simply access to finance if they are to grow successfully. They need access to market, and those early deals. Later they might need finance for developing new concepts, products and technologies, and after that they need access to skills and research and development expertise.

     You could imagine this as a pyramid – the basic things like business security and cash flow are towards the bottom, with more sophisticated needs further up. In order to help businesses on that journey, you have to help with the basics and support their development towards the higher end services that we, as a university, are really well-placed to deliver. At 3M BIC, we’ve provided a one-stop shop for all those services, forging partnerships with intermediaries who can help with things like accountancy, or business plan development to make it as easy as possible to get the right support in those early stages.

    3. Deliver access to technology

    It’s one thing to help businesses get off the ground and develop to the point where they might need access to university skills – but how do you persuade academics that they want to work with industry? One approach we’ve used is to offer access to technology. We’ve been able to bring in grant funding to purchase capital equipment that augments what is already available in the University. Researchers have access to this kit, on the understanding that its primary purpose is for engagement with industry.

    These investments tick a lot of boxes with our business partners as well. By getting access to equipment they would not otherwise be able to afford, they can de-risk their innovation processes, experimenting on a pay-as-you-go basis.

    4. Lead by example

    The 3M Buckley Innovation Centre first opened five years ago and now it operates as a stand-alone business. By attracting ‘spin-in’ companies to co-locate in the University and develop their R&D potential, we’ve created an environment where research intensity can build. That’s contributed to the University’s own IP development – and, as that expands, the resulting spin-out companies have a home where they can start to grow.

    We’ve shown how successful this model can be. As a result, we’re getting regular visits from other universities who are looking to emulate our example. Our story is even gaining international attention – I am currently participating on an international advisory board with a university in Chile which is exploring ways to boost innovation and business engagement.

    5. Understand the innovation landscape

    We’re in the early stages of planning 3M BIC2. For that to be successful, we need to be able to reflect on our successes, but also recognise things we should do differently. In particular, we need to work harder to really understand the demographics of the Leeds City Region and where we sit within that – and where the business opportunities are. We can see, for example, that medtech and rail are key growth sectors, but there are older industries, such as textiles and manufacturing, that could thrive if we can innovate and transform them through digital technologies.

    I really believe that innovation occurs at boundaries. When you bring people together from different sectors and disciplines, that’s where you get great new ideas. That’s as true for us as it is for the businesses we support. We need to be listening continually to our partners and trying out new ways to engage, support and grow.

  7. Publish or patent? How researchers can have the best of both worlds

    University researchers work incredibly hard to produce work that can be published in journals through the academic peer review system. Publishing is a tangible research contribution: often it is the mechanism through which academics contribute to their field. It is also a necessary product of research grants – and it may represent a step towards promotion.

    But research often also leads to innovations that could, in turn, result in new products and services that can benefit society. Developing these commercially can be a complex and costly process – particularly in the field of medical technology where the route to market will often involve an industry partner or a licensing deal. For that to happen successfully, the innovation needs to be protected via a patent application.

    Of course, in order for patent applications to be filed successfully, the researcher is required to understand and carefully monitor disclosure– and particularly not to publish the work before it has been assessed for potential patentable subject matter.

    It can sometimes appear as if there is a tension between these two activities: filing a patent application and publishing research. But in fact, there is no reason why the two cannot work well alongside each other. All it takes is some good communication between the academic, the university’s technology transfer office (TTO), and the patent attorney.

    As specialist patent attorneys at Symbiosis IP, we’ve seen the best, and the worst, examples of how this relationship can work in practice. Ideally, the researcher will speak to their TTO at an early stage and will share all the information required for us to put a detailed patent application together. But even if time seems short it will usually be possible, given the right information, to file a patent application in advance of a publication deadline.

    Getting specialist advice

    The details of intellectual property protection can seem daunting, but as specialists in this area, patent attorneys can work alongside the TTO to provide advice and guidance to help academics through the process.

    We can advise, from an early stage, whether an invention comprises patentable subject matter or not. If there are particular gaps in the research that might prevent a patent being granted, we’re able to suggest other work that the researcher might need to do to gather more evidence.

    Once we’re sure that we have enough information regarding the invention, we’ll prepare an application. Although we understand what is required to put a robust application together, we need to work closely with the researcher to make sure the claims we are making are accurate, so we may go through several iterations before we arrive at a finished version.

    After this first filing has taken place, the researcher is free to publish the research, but there are still several hurdles to overcome before a patent is granted, including filing and examination of the application in the countries where patent protection is desired.

    There are costs involved along the way, and not just in securing granted patents: product development might also involve clinical trials, and activities necessary to gain regulatory approval. The final product will need to be able to offset the patent costs in order to be successful in the marketplace. Having the appropriate IP protection in place is key to success, so it’s important to get good advice as soon as possible.

    Demystifying patent law

    Often the biggest barrier to success is communication, but I think it is possible to demystify the process, and this is something we’re working on with Translate. Through Translate’s mentoring scheme, we have been able to offer some guidance to researchers who are working on innovations that will need IP protection.

    It doesn’t cost very much to take those first few steps, to find out what is involved and even to file the patent application – but it is worth being aware that starting a patent application will require commitment. Taking time to understand a little bit about the system will make those later steps much easier to understand.

  8. Running a successful secondment scheme

    This guide explains how temporary placement of academic, industrial, clinical and other collaborators on a shorter-term basis, with a small amount of budget, can lead
    to significant innovation and knowledge exchange outcomes.

    Interactive secondment scheme guide

    View our animated secondment scheme guide on your device:

    Big innovation, small budget: Running a successful secondment scheme animation (opens interactive guide in a new tab or window)

    Downloadable secondment scheme guide

    Download and print the PDF of our secondment scheme guide.

    A note to knowledge exchange and technology transfer professionals

    As a Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation (KEC) practitioner, you translate research outcomes into products and services that have an economic and social impact, often with tight budget constraints. You know that this isn’t always straightforward.

    Gaining fresh perspectives and new approaches for research is at the heart of successful innovation.

    The second part of this guide is a case study of our successful secondment scheme.

    Since the secondment scheme launch in 2016, Translate has funded 45 secondments with destinations to academia, industry and healthcare settings.

    Four steps to big innovation on a small budget

    Prepare, publicise, support and evaluate to innovate:

    Set out your aims
    Identify your participants
    Allocate your budget

    Prepare the information
    Choose your audience friendly channels
    Channel your success

    Give prompt feedback
    Broker relationships
    Target opportunities
    Provide post-secondment support

    Through feedback from participants and hosts

    Secondment scheme toolkit for KEC practitioners

    Download and adapt our secondment scheme toolkit, which includes:

    • Guidance for applicants
    • Outgoing secondment application form
    • Incoming secondment application form
    • Blog template

    Download the secondment scheme toolkit (opens a Word doc)

    Download and print the PDF of our secondment scheme guide (opens a PDF doc)

  9. Sustainability of Translate

    Translate has secured funding until the end of 2020 to continue to support innovation in medical technologies in the Leeds City Region. This funding will be used to continue supporting Translate activities which have demonstrated success throughout the duration of the program.

    Activities available will include:

    • secondment scheme – with 20 secondments funded per year
    • ‘pick and mix’ medtech innovation training courses
    • the Innovation Champion network
    • support for the development of early-stage ideas (for example, through hosting unmet needs workshops or supporting early-stage funding applications).

    Translate activities will be advertised through our new regional medtech innovation programme, Grow MedTech. Until then, you can keep up to date with opportunities through our social media pages using the links below or sign up to our mailing list.

    For any further information, contact Lisa Hill: l.hill1@leeds.ac.uk

  10. My Translate MedTech secondment: Peter Iddon

    The Translate Medtech Secondment Scheme provides an opportunity for academics, early career researchers and PhD students to develop new collaborations, progress technologies, develop capabilities and access specialist facilities.

    My name is Dr Peter Iddon, and as Development Manager at Neotherix Ltd, I am responsible for the development and translation of new bioresorbable electrospun scaffolds for tissue repair and regeneration. Neotherix develop such regenerative devices in order to enhance the body’s capacity to repair itself, by providing patients’ own cells with micron-scale 3D architectures to enhance the recruitment of reparative cells for neotissue formation.

    Neotherix has had a long history of working collaboratively with Universities across the UK, and as a small company have found the approach to be a valuable way of accessing cutting-edge research expertise that we don’t possess in-house. Therefore when the opportunity arose for me to become seconded to the University of Bradford, it seemed like a natural extension of that way of working.

    What we hoped to achieve

    We supported the application for Translate Secondment funding for two main reasons – the first was to enable one of our scientists to directly take advantage of the facilities available at a leading research-focussed university, allowing us to more effectively contribute to an existing but separate collaborative project we were involved in at the University of Bradford. The second reason was to allow us to develop proof-of-principle for an exciting new electrospun scaffold technology incorporating an additive developed at the University of Bradford, leveraging both the skills and facilities available at the institution and my own experience of electrospinning to demonstrate the potential of the approach and generate data to support an application for substantial funding.

    We achieved both objectives, with the first main benefit to Neotherix being that we could fulfil an existing critical project commitment, removing a potential barrier to project completion and allowing a key technology development programme to progress.

    The second main benefit to Neotherix was the strengthening of a nascent research collaboration and the collection of important proof-of-principle data for a very interesting potential technology. All companies have to carefully select which technologies they choose to invest in, and the data generated as a result of the secondment has strengthened the case for further investigation.

    A fantastic opportunity

    When I look back at my secondment experience I am somewhat surprised by the number of different members of the University of Bradford research community I interacted with over a relatively short time. This included staff assisting me with everything from administrative matters through to technical support, advice on how to accomplish certain tasks, or providing me access to certain items of equipment. A personal highlight is the number members of the community that were engaged with what I was doing and were willing to help, even those that didn’t even have an indirect involvement with the project!

    It can often be hard to judge whether the commitment of limited resource to any particular collaboration will result in an overall benefit. However after having taken part in this I am pleased to say that if the need and opportunity for Neotherix to undertake further secondment projects arose in the future, I would not hesitate in applying.