An Imperial-led programme that supports medical technology innovation aims to take its model across the UK with new funding from Research England.
MedTech SuperConnector (MTSC), which empowers researchers to translate research from the arts and sciences into early-stage medical technologies, aims to take its model to institutions across the country after Research England today announced it was awarding the programme £3.44 million in follow-on funding as part of a new round of awards from its Connecting Capability Fund.
The SuperConnector sets itself apart from other accelerator programmes by focusing primarily on supporting innovations and researchers at the pre-tech transfer stage of their journey. Hiten Thakrar, Head of MTSC
MTSC will continue to offer researchers at eight London institutions training and resources to develop devices and tools to aid patient health and wellbeing, which have previously included smart textiles to improve limb function in stroke patients and a robotic liner for prosthetic limbs.
The programme will also develop ambitious plans to expand to universities and regions across the country, supported by online training resources it is developing together with the Imperial College Business School.
The plans will allow regions outside London the opportunity to benefit from MTSC’s insights and innovations in the medical technology (medtech) acceleration space. The programme was launched in 2018 with a remit not only to support new ventures but to develop and disseminate best practice approaches to medtech acceleration, an area that is relatively underdeveloped in the UK compared to heavily invested areas such as pharmaceuticals.
The plans will allow regions outside London the opportunity to benefit from MTSC’s insights and innovations.
Hiten Thakrar, Head of MedTech SuperConnector, said: “We’re really excited to build on our progress so far. Scaling the programme with a suite of online resources, and working nationally, will really help create more research and innovation for good.
The SuperConnector sets itself apart from other accelerator programmes by focusing primarily on supporting innovations and researchers at the pre-tech transfer stage of their journey. This approach allows us to develop technologies and researchers from diverse backgrounds and explore news ways of bringing innovative medtech out of the lab to help impact patient’s lives.”
The new developments will allow the programme to build on the successes it has had since its launch in 2018. Since its inception, its participants have launched 11 new startups, created 24 new jobs and received £7.24 million in grants and VC funding to develop their technologies.
Participants are notable for coming from a range of academic backgrounds, not only medicine and bioengineering but also fields such as textiles and performance science. In one notable success, the Royal College of Music is commercialising its first ever technology, a digital platform for enhancing the performance of medical practitioners. Other innovations include a therapeutic musical trumpet which games whilst capturing vital data on chronic respiratory conditions.
Participants come from a range of academic backgrounds, not only medicine or bioengineering. In one success, the Royal College of Music is commercialising its first ever technology.
Dr Simon Hepworth, Director of Enterprise at Imperial College London, said: “MedTech SuperConnector is providing researchers with the resources and commercial understanding they need to translate academic insights into successful technologies and make a real difference with their research. It’s also adopting an innovative and evidence-based approach of its own to identify the models of entrepreneurship support that really work. This is crucial if we are to keep bringing technologies out of labs and into the world. I’m delighted that the SuperConnector team will now have the opportunity to take their learnings to the rest of the country.”
Discover the programme
MTSC recently relaunched its website with information about the programme and current ventures.
It is currently inviting early-career researchers at its eight partner institutions to apply to be part of its next cohort, which will begin in November 2021 and offer six months of training, support and funding to translate research into medical technology ventures. The application deadline is 5 September 2021.
Information sessions in August will offer interested researchers the chance to learn more about the programme before applying.
The partner institutions are: Queen Mary University of London, Bucks New University, The Francis Crick Institute, Imperial College London, Royal College of Art, Royal College of Music, Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Veterinary College.
Innovation at Imperial
The programme is one of many services that Imperial offers to help translate academic insights into world-changing technologies, startups and commercial projects. These activities are facilitated by the College’s Enterprise Division.
By David Silverman
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © MedTech SuperConnector. Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © MedTech SuperConnector