1. Free good practice guide: Investment-ready early-stage tech innovation

    The guide introduces proactive ways of focusing on early-stage innovation to increase the chance of success

    Translate has launched its second good-practice guide for knowledge exchange and commercialisation (KEC) practitioners.

    “Investment-ready, early-stage tech innovation” explains how focusing on early-stage innovation in a proactive way – through activities that identify problems, generate new ideas, and build productive teams – leads technology innovation projects to success and later-stage adoption.

    The guide is available as an interactive experience – just like the innovation process itself, the user may enter and exit the process at any stage, and each stage ends with a stage-gate with four options: repeat the stage, move to the next stage, end the project, or hand-off the project.  A series of useful quick-guides are also available on topics like project scouting, leading productive innovation workshops and freedom to operate analysis, prior art, novelty and IP landscaping for patentable technologies.

    The second part of the guide is a case study of Translate’s successful early stage innovation programme 2015-2018. 

    “Since the programme launched in 2015, our approach to supporting and progressing projects has relied on ensuring that innovative ideas are de-risked and validated at the earliest opportunity” said Lisa Hill, Innovation Development Manager for Translate.  “This process focuses on developing technologies with the greatest potential and making sure they meet the needs of end users. We’ve generated £12m of public sector income and worked with 128 academics and 113 companies as a result.”

    The guide can be applied to KEC in any sector area, and is being shared in partnership with PraxisAuril – a KEC network of more than 170 member institutions and 5,000 individuals.

    “It’s part of our mission to develop knowledge exchange and technology transfer professionals by promoting best practice for our sector, so we’re keen to support distribution of this guide” said Georgina Wark, Professional Development Programme Manager for PraxisAuril.

    Visit the Investment-ready early-stage tech innovation webpage now.

    About Translate 2015-2018

    Translate was a partnership between the universities of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds Beckett and York 2015-2018, working to improve health and wealth by translating early-stage ideas into new medical technologies.

    The programme provided researchers at the partner universities with access to a dedicated innovation team experienced in progressing technologies to market. It also provided a model for successful innovation, innovation training and development, and collaboration within the higher education sector.

    Translate aimed to:

    • identify and progress technology opportunities
    • increase innovation capability among Leeds City Region academics
    • foster and facilitate research better aligned to clinical, patient and public drivers.

    Translate was funded by HEFCE (now Office for Students) to 2018, and is now being funded by partner HEIs until the end of 2020, with Sheffield Hallam University – a national leader in creating innovative and real-world solutions for tackling today’s health and wellbeing challenges – joining the consortium.

  2. How researchers are using the Translate Secondment Scheme

    Last February, Translate opened the first of two secondment calls running in 2019 that support academics in developing innovation skills and progressing technologies towards clinical application.

    Of the secondments successfully funded, more than half have allowed academics from Translate partner universities to work directly with companies or clinical partners to access specialist equipment, expertise and collaborate on research projects.

    One opportunity has allowedSheffield Hallam University researcher Dr Ruth Evans to collaborate with S-MED, the leading distributors of sleep diagnostic systems in the UK. In this role, Dr Evans will develop a thermal imaging tool to provide a child friendly, clinically deployable means of monitoring respiratory airflow for detecting respiratory related conditions.

    She aims to be able to design a research plan alongside the S-MED team and their production partners SOMNOmedics, with the goal of marketing such a device in the near future.

    Another funded secondment has allowed University of York PhD student Viswadeep Sarangi and supervisor Dr Adar Pelah to travel to the Centre for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences in Florida, USA. During this trip, they will learn about the centre’s advanced tracking technology and how it can further their research in assessing gait impairing conditions (such as stroke) using motion-tracking.

    Using experience gained, they hope to develop additional functionality in their existing gait analysis device so that human motion can be tracked and analysed through any RGB camera, for example, those found on smartphones or a webcam.

    All successful applicants of the Translate secondment scheme will write blog posts about their experience over the coming months. Join our mailing list to learn more about their work, and to be emailed when the next secondment call in September 2019.


    About the Translate secondment scheme

    Translate MedTech offers up to £2500 to cover the cost of travel and accommodation and 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.

    Secondments provide an opportunity for academicsresearchersresearch studentsto 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
  3. Investment-ready early-stage tech innovation

    This good-practice guide explains how focusing on early-stage innovation in a proactive way – through activities that identify problems, generate new ideas, and build productive teams – leads technology innovation projects to success and later-stage adoption.

    Use the interactive guide to de-risking innovation for successful commercialisation through the Translate 2015-2018 website.

    The guide is an interactive experience – just like the innovation process itself. The user may enter and exit the process at any stage, and each stage ends with a stage-gate with four options: repeat the stage, move to the next stage, end the project, or hand-off the project.

    A series of useful quick-guides are also included on topics like project scouting, leading productive innovation workshops and freedom to operate analysis, prior art, novelty and IP landscaping for patentable technologies.

    A note to knowledge exchange and technology transfer professionals

    The guide is for Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation (KEC) practitioners.

    As a KEC practitioner, you translate research outcomes into products and services that have an economic and social impact – often with endless complexities. It can be a long, complex and difficult journey.

    Reducing the risk and uncertainty associated with new technologies is more likely to open the door for private sector investment to develop commercial products and deliver economic benefits. Managing risk is crucial to businesses working at the forefront of novel technologies. Translate’s experience has found that by focusing on early-stage innovation in a proactive way – through activities that identify problems, generate new ideas, and build productive teams – technology innovation projects are more likely to lead to success. Translate have also discovered that investing our time into one specific sector – building knowledge and expertise, developing capability and capacity, and creating a network of academics, research users, and innovation enablers – greatly increases the chance of innovation success

    This guide explains how supporting innovation at an early stage (Technology Readiness Levels 1-2) – rather than solely the later stages that a KEC practitioner might usually work at – will accelerate technology progression.  It takes key learning points from Translate, a HEFCE Catalyst-funded (now Office for Students) programme established to improve health and wealth in the Leeds City Region by translating ideas into new medical technologies.

    This is a step-by-step good practice guide that can be applied to a wide range of technologies, across several stages of development, to de-risk technologies at an early stage. This early support will lead to better commercial potential and later-stage adoption.

    It includes practical quick guides with tips and useful documents, which can be used to deliver some of the suggested activities.  There are also case studies to illustrate the process with real examples.

    Use the interactive guide to early-stage innovation on the Translate 2015-2018 website.

  4. Translate summer student project scheme blog: Biosensors for medical diagnostics

    In May 2018, Translate ran the Summer Student Project Scheme to support small medical technology development projects. This blog is part of a series that showcases projects supported by this scheme as recounted from the student’s perspective.

    Due the schemes success, it is being run again for summer 2019. To learn how to apply for student support funding for your medtech research, click here.



    I am a Biochemistry student at the University of Edinburgh, but have joined Professor Paul Millner’s laboratory at the University of Leeds as part of this summer project. The topic of my work is analytical bioelectrochemistry; using biosensors as an early medical diagnostic tool.

    Point of care biosensors offer great potential benefits for diagnosis and management of medical conditions, by permitting the measurement of biomarker proteins at the patient’s bedside and without recourse to a highly complex analytical laboratory. A prime example of this is the glucose sensor which has revolutionised the management of diabetes, by providing almost instantaneous measurement of blood glucose.

    The potential of this field fascinates me as well as other future technologies. One of my personal goals for taking part in this project is to get an insight into the way a working lab operates – so far, I have been able to conduct laboratory procedures that I had only learnt about previously, such as running an SDS PAGE gel.

    About my work

    Artificial binding proteins, invented at Leeds by the McPherson group, are replacing antibodies due to their practical advantages such as stability and batch reproducibility. Both antibody-based immunosensors and Affimer-based sensors work in bio-fluids, such as blood and urine, with zero sample processing beyond simple dilution in some cases.

    The aims of my work in this project are to produce a number of Affimer (nanocomposite biosensors) that can successful detect an analyte with reproducibility, whilst being quick and efficient.

    First, anti -myoglobin is being tackled as a “model” analyte before we test our biosensors with a host of others. This will bring the field closer to developing a commercial sensor that can be used in medical practices as a rapid diagnostic tool.

    As a result of my work on this project I now feel confident in my understanding of the basics of impedance electrochemistry, whilst also finding confidence within myself as a young scientist and realising that I can be successful. It’s one thing to know the theory and another to be able to apply it and diversify your ideas. This will allow me to progress successfully, with pinpoint accuracy to develop and innovate future scientific technologies.


    If you’re a medical technologies academic based in the Translate MedTech consortium and are interested in bringing on board a student to support your research this summer, learn more about the Translate MedTech summer student projects scheme here.

  5. Translate summer student project scheme blog: Smartphone gait analysis

    In May 2018, Translate ran the Summer Student Project Scheme to support small medical technology development projects. This blog is part of a series that showcases projects supported by this scheme as recounted from the student’s perspective.

    Due the schemes success, it is being run again for summer 2019. To learn how to apply for student support funding for your medtech research, click here.


    • Name: Jack Mckeown
    • Current Organisation: University of York

    My name is Jack Mckeown and I am an Electronic Engineering student in the Department of Electronic Engineering at the University of York. I have an interest in Android development and programming in general, as well as neural networks.

    I recently completed a student summer project at the University of York where I was responsible for creating an Android app. Using the app, a clinician can use a mobile phone to record a short sample of a patient walking, and extract basic gait parameters to assist with recognising any problems in the patient’s walking ability.

    The gait of person refers to the manner in which they walk, and time and distance parameters can be obtained from measuring events during a person’s gait cycle.

    These parameters should have constant and known values, but if a person has a condition which impairs their ability to walk, these parameters will have unexpected values which can be linked to certain conditions and disabilities.

    The aim of the app is to allow a clinician to make quick and easy measurements on a patient to assess their current condition, and compare parameters to previous sessions to see how the patient’s condition has changed.

    The patient is recorded using the phone’s camera and then the clinician can analyse the video as certain gait events occur.

    A report is then compiled from this analysis session which documents the patient’s gait patterns. All of this can be done on a mobile phone, and only a short video is required to measure the parameters, making the app quick, easy and convenient to use.

    The app has been demonstrated to consultants and has received positive feedback, as well as suggestions for features to add to the app in the future.


    If you’re a medical technologies academic based in the Translate MedTech consortium and are interested in bringing on board a student to support your research this summer, learn more about the Translate MedTech summer student projects scheme here.

  6. Translate summer student project scheme blog: Portable Speech Therapy Systems

    In May 2018, Translate ran the Summer Student Project Scheme to support small medical technology development projects. This blog is part of a series that showcases projects supported by this scheme as recounted from the student’s perspective.

    Due the schemes success, it is being run again for summer 2019. To learn how to apply for student support funding for your medtech research, click here.


    • Name: Jack Whiting
    • Current Organisation: Leeds Beckett University

    My area of Interest

    My interests are rooted within music and its production. Since starting at the university this has transformed into the design of audio based hardware and software systems.

    I have developed these skills during my studies and have undertaken large self-directed projects around this area. I was eager to work on this project, having the chance to apply my skills to a beneficial cause.

    Having known people with Parkinson’s Disease and the challenges faced by those diagnosed, the chance to decrease some of the symptoms suffered drew me to engage with the project.

    My current role within the project is to evaluate and test the microphones used for speech therapy sessions. I am also developing a prototype for a portable vocal effort prompt and related software.

    Aims of the Project

    The aim of the project is to provide an alternative therapy system based around a remote internet connection to a speech therapist. This will help alleviate some of the issues around transport, time and cost of attending regular face-to-face sessions.

    The system will function as an online video conference with a patient’s therapist and will also provide after session exercises and vocal practices. The second aim of the project is to provide a wearable device capable of measuring and evaluation a patient’s vocal level based on the real-time background noise.

    This will take the form of a proof-of-concept prototype, which will be tested with patients in order to assess what form of feedback is most appropriate for day-to-day activities.

    Progress Achieved through Funding

    The funding from Translate has been a great help to the project and provided the necessary staff time and equipment required to fully develop the system. The university has provided much of the necessary software required to develop the projects systems.

    We did however need to assess hardware that could be easily shipped and used by patients for use with the system in their own home. The funding provided has allowed us to evaluate a range of different microphones and calibration equipment.

    This has allowed us to ensure ease of use for the patients along with accurate and reliable data to advise more personalised therapy sessions. To date I have tested our microphone range using an anechoic chamber. This has provided great results that we can use both in our project and to advise on practices for current speech therapy.

    So far some of the current methodologies tested have shown to provide somewhat inaccurate data and can easily be improved through better practice.


    If you’re a medical technologies academic based in the Translate MedTech consortium and are interested in bringing on board a student to support your research this summer, learn more about the Translate MedTech summer student projects scheme here.

  7. Translate summer student project scheme blog: Bacteria and binding polymers

    In May 2018, Translate ran the Summer Student Project Scheme to support small medical technology development projects. This blog is part of a series that showcases projects supported by this scheme as recounted from the student’s perspective.

    Due the schemes success, it is being run again for summer 2019. To learn how to apply for student support funding for your medtech research, click here.


    • Name: Mariya Kalinichenko
    • Current Organisation: University of Bradford

    This summer I had the wonderful opportunity of working in a placement program that allowed me to learn a range of new scientific techniques and develop some skills. I joined Dr Swift’s group to work on Polymer/Bacteria sensing technologies, primarily to analyse and characterise the polymer/bacteria combinations.

    After starting work I spent several days working with Dr Katsikogianni’s group preparing three different strains of bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli), Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa). We cultured these bacteria in her laboratory and prepared various mixtures / combinations of Dr Swift’s sensing polymer / bacteria in solution.

    The main instrument I have used to look at the bacteria is Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). I had not had this opportunity before and enjoyed being trained to operate the microscope. After several training sessions I was given permission to work autonomously.

    Using this instrument is very different from the chemical experiments I have been doing over the last two years, and I have learnt a lot by examining samples with bacteria both alone and with Dr Swift’s binding polymer solution.

    To demonstrate we have examples of these bacteria below; E. coli (Image 1 & 2), S. aureus (Image 3 & 4) and P. aeruginosa (Image 5 & 6). Even though most E. coli strains are harmless and S. aureus is a member of the normal flora of the body, frequently found in the nose, respiratory tract, and on the skin, they can be dangerous.

    For example; some E. coli serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in their hosts, S. aureus is a common cause of skin infections including abscesses, respiratory infections such as sinusitis, and food poisoning and P. aeruginosa is associated with serious illnesses – hospital-acquired infections such as pneumonia and various sepsis syndromes.

    We prepared free bacteria samples, and combined them with the branching polymer designed to target S. aureus and the results were incredible. It was observed that the polymer actually interacts with the bacteria, making it aggregate to the polymer (Image 7 & 8).

    We tried many different variants of the polymer, testing the different concentrations that would encourage the material, and eventually found a ratio where there was no free bacteria in solution but all of it was bound to the polymer material.

    This summer program also allowed me to learn many other techniques used to analyse polymers including size exclusion chromatography (SEC), NanoDSC, UV-vis and Fluorescence.

    With the remaining time left this summer I have attached a dye to the polymer backbone and currently testing how its fluorescence responds to the presence of bacteria. In summary this project has taught me lots about scientific research, developing quality management skills and trained my method development expertise.


    If you’re a medical technologies academic based in the Translate MedTech consortium and are interested in bringing on board a student to support your research this summer, learn more about the Translate MedTech summer student projects scheme here.

  8. Need summer project support? Access funding for student projects to progress medical technologies

    The Translate MedTech summer student projects scheme is open for applications from medical technology academics in the Leeds and Sheffield City Regions.

    Up to £2500 is available per project to cover the costs of a summer student to support the progression of medical technologies towards commercialisation and clinical application.

    Up to seven projects will be funded.

    Funding

    Funding up to a max of £2,500 is available to cover the following costs:

    • Salary costs for a summer student
    • Travel, accommodation and subsistence costs

    Other associated costs will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    The scheme does not provide funding for conference attendance or electronic equipment (such as laptops).

    Key dates

    Closing date: 16 June 2019

    Projects to be completed by 30 September 2019

    Eligibility

    The call is open to members of academic staff based at the Translate partner universities: University of Bradford, University of Huddersfield, Leeds Beckett University, University of Leeds, Sheffield Hallam University and University of York.

    This scheme is aimed at fourth year undergraduate students and taught master’s students. However, we will (exceptionally) consider projects involving MRes and PhD students who are not in receipt of funding from other sources.

    A student must be identified prior to applying.

    Assessment process

    Applications will be assessed by a panel of Technology Innovation Managers.

    Applications must clearly address the aims of the scheme: to progress medical technologies towards commercialisation and clinical application.

    The contribution to be made by the selected student must also be clearly stated.

    Conditions of award

    Students involved in successful projects will be required to submit a blog post on their summer project.

    Award holders will be required to submit a short report on the outcomes of the project.

    For enquiries, contact Mohua Siddique (hello@translate-medtech.ac.uk)

    How to apply

    Apply using the application form. Completed applications should be emailed to: hello@translate-medtech.ac.uk.

    Completed applications must be received by midnight on 16 June 2019.

  9. Apply to attend the MedTech Enterprise Programme

    Up to 10 places are available for PhD students and early career researchers to attend the MedTech Enterprise Programme – run by the MedTech Foundation – between 17-19 June 2019.

    The MedTech Enterprise Programme is a three-day, hands-on workshop held at Leeds Town Hall, and is open to early career researchers, postgraduate research students, clinical trainees and undergraduate students.

    Over three days delegates will develop their skills and understanding of medtech innovation and how to translate ideas into a business or other enterprising venture.

    Come along with an idea or innovation of your own or choose from a range of unmet needs from the NIHR Surgical MedTech Cooperative before pitching your venture to a panel of experts. The winning teams will receive a prizes worth over £500.

    How to apply

    Download and complete the MedTech Enterprise Programme application form found on the MedTech Foundation website and return it by 11:59pm on 8 May 2019 to hello@translate-medtech.ac.uk.

  10. 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.

    Testimonials

    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.