Three universities collaborate to link innovation ecosystems and support present and future medical technology startup founders.
A life sciences partnership that brings together Imperial, the University of Hertfordshire and Cranfield University has been awarded £1.5 million in funding from Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund. The aim is to drive the development of innovative healthcare technologies across eastern England and beyond.
The Healthcare Technologies Capability Connector (HTCC) will link London-based entrepreneurs and innovation hubs, including the London MedTech cluster around the White City Innovation District , with Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire’s burgeoning biopharma sector. This includes Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst and Cranfield’s Industrial Technology Park.
"The UK’s life science sector is of strategic importance, not only to the economy, but also the country’s health, wealth and resilience," explained Yanina Aubrey-Gimenez, Director of Business, Enterprise and Innovation at the University of Hertfordshire, which is leading the project.
A key challenge as the sector looks to grow and remain competitive is to create the conditions for innovations to scale-up. This can be helped by facilitating access to space, specialist labs, equipment, research and manufacturing expertise.
"HTCC aims to respond to this challenge by linking-up London-based small and medium-sized enterprises and innovators to ecosystems in the larger Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire regions which are ready to support innovation at scale," said Ms Aubrey-Gimenez.
The HTCC programme, which will launch in January 2024, will provide targeted support for R&D-focused healthcare companies in the early and scale-up stages, offering help with business acceleration and commercialisation. Meanwhile, researchers from all three universities who wish to commercialise their ideas will receive funded support.
"I’m excited that one focus of the project is bringing talented individuals into startups, and helping founders make the most of the opportunity to work with such individuals," said Victoria Nicholl, Head of Incubation Services at Imperial. "Early employees have a huge impact on startup outcomes, and having three diverse institutions working together increases the chance of bringing together the right combinations of people."
Having three diverse institutions working together increases the chance of bringing together the right combinations of people. Victoria Nicholl Head of Incubation