CLUSTER NEWS – January 2023
New Year’s Greetings
A bit late, I know, but anyway welcome to 2023 and here’s wishing you every success in your work and personal lives this year.
We should be optimistic, despite the gloomy economic news at the national level, because in our region there are some positives to work with, including:
- The new WM Innovation Accelerator brings a £30M 2-year spending boost to our region this year
- The UK Shared Prosperity Fund includes a Business Support fund, mostly to be managed by the Combined Authority (and local authorities outside the Combined Authority area)
- We are still chasing down business deals negotiated during the very successful Commonwealth Games last year
- And speaking of the Games, they came in under budget and the Government has given the Combined Authority permission to retain the surplus and spend it in our region
- The first operational building of the Birmingham Health Innovation Campus will come on stream in the autumn, a veritable beacon for our health technologies sector.
Here at the Cluster, we shall be very happy to work with you as we all try to reap the benefit of these potential advantages.
On Tuesday 7th February, our regular Topical Tuesday will feature Paul Storer, Senior Policy Advisor at the Intellectual Property Office. Paul will be talking to us on how Intellectual Property (IP) fits within the developing themes for the Innovation Accelerator and what can be expected in 2023.
Register now: click here
I shall be attending the next meeting of Deloitte’s Health Tech Catalyst Advisory Group on 1st February. It’s a gathering of the “movers and shakers” and provides a really good opportunity for swapping news and views about the state of our region’s health technologies sector and new developments.
Our next Innovative Health Working Group will take place on Thursday 2 February 1-3pm. This time the focus is community healthcare and specifically How Technology Supports the Goals of Community Healthcare. Our hosts, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, will share a number of innovative solutions, from Delivering Safe Digital Healthcare to Secure Healthcare Monitoring. We will also hear about innovations that use AI to predict and understand the needs and services to deliver community care, all through data-driven healthcare.
The group will have the opportunity to see the highly acclaimed new dental hospital and training facilities based in the Edgbaston Medical Quarter.
Register now: click here
The next meeting of our Board of Directors will be held on 16th February when I shall be looking to finalise our budget for 2023-24.
HEALTH TECHNOLOGIES SECTOR NEWS
Second Annual Conference: Building a Sustainable UK Diagnostics Sector
We held, jointly with University of Warwick, the second of our annual diagnostics conferences at the university on 15th December 2022. There were really inspiring presentations by Deloitte’s Karen Taylor, Birmingham City Council’s Director of Public Health Dr Justin Vardy and University of Birmingham’s Alex Richter. We learned more about our region’s diagnostics data bank PathLAKE and the UKRI Future Blood Testing Network Plus. We celebrated the success of local business Celentyx Ltd. We had a super double-act presentation about the power of collaboration from our own Dr Paddie Murphy and Birmingham Tech’s Yiannis Maos.
Click here to access recordings of this event.
Congratulations to Yiannis Maos on the well deserved award of an MBE in the New Year’s Honours
Diagnostics, Data and Digital Health (MSc)
We learned at the Warwick Conference that the university is launching a new MSc programme this year in diagnostics, data and digital health. It is claimed to be the only course of its kind in the UK and the university hopes, in due course, to link it to an apprenticeship as well. The details of the new course ae on the University of Warwick website.
Life sciences & Healthcare Business Awards Medilink Midlands
On March 16th, businesses across the Midlands will come together to celebrate their amazing achievements in the health and life science sectors. The awards ceremony will be held at the Great Hall, the University of Birmingham, with eight award categories to be awarded including Start-Up, Export, Delivering Innovation in Health & Care, Advances in Digital Healthcare, Partnership between Academia & Business, Outstanding Achievement, Innovation, and One to Watch.
To reserve your table or tickets for the ceremony and dinner, follow the link here
Last year, I got to know Darren Putt, the founder of Motus Training. The company is interesting because of its focus on the health and wellbeing of employers’ workforces. It seems to me that there could be a double interest for our members: opportunities to promote products and services that could be used by employers (in any sector) to support their employees’ health and wellbeing and as employers, taking care of the health and wellbeing of our own workforce.
Darren tells me that he is launching a new weekly email newsletter which will be about the link between our personal health and performance – not just in business, but in every area of life. If you are interested, you can find out more on the company’s website (and subscribe to the new newsletter if you want):
WEST MIDLANDS REGION NEWS
Round 2 Levelling Up Fund allocations
The 100 projects awarded shares of £2.1 billion from Round 2 of the Government’s Levelling Up Fund include spending in Herefordshire, Malvern, Sandwell, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Walsall – but I don’t see health featuring in any of these projects. Cities do not seem to have fared very well in our region, as I cannot see any successful bids for Birmingham, Coventry or Stoke on Trent.
You can read the full announcement, and see the table of successful projects, on Gov.UK.
Venturefest WM 2023
Venturefest WM 2023 will take place between 8am and 5pm on Wednesday 01 March at the Eastside Rooms, Woodcock Street, Birmingham B7 4BL. Confirmed speakers include Megan Goodwin, who spearheaded the digital development of worldwide TV blockbuster ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’, and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands.
This annual free event in Birmingham will offer entrepreneurs and innovators from across the West Midlands a unique opportunity to develop and grow their businesses by meeting with potential investors and other cutting-edge companies. The Cluster will be there.
You can register to attend here.
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL NEWS
mRNA Cancer Vaccine
The UK is embarking on an ambitious plan to accelerate research into mRNA cancer vaccines, with German pharmaceutical company BioNTech. Following the success of Covid vaccines using the same messenger-ribonucleic-acid technology, scientists now want to conduct more trials in cancer patients. And they are hoping to provide this personalised type of treatment to about 10,000 patients by 2030. Britain is the first nation to sign up to such a partnership.
See the BBC website for more information.
New breast cancer screening units
The Government has pledged an additional £10 million to deliver 29 new breast cancer screening units and nearly 70 life-saving service upgrades to speed up diagnosis and treatment. The units will be directed to where they are most needed, increasing capacity to make sure people can get the care they need when they need it. Upgrades to include ultrasound and X-rays to better detect cancer using new and improved software.
You can read the Government announcement here.
Funding for West Midlands SMEs to drive digital innovation in the health and care sector
Applications for funding for West Midlands-based SMEs developing digital solutions to meet health and care challenges are still open. To find out more about the fund and how to apply, click here
Radio 4 Today programme
On the first Thursday and Friday of January, the Radio 4 Today team moved into the Mailbox to broadcast the flagship morning news programme from the West Midlands.
On the Friday (6th Jan) Martha Kearney interviewed me, alongside Ewa Truchanowicz, MD of cluster member Dignio, and Jamie Clyde from Bruntwood Sci Tech about health technologies developments which have the potential to lift some pressure off the NHS. It was a very positive piece and it went out at about 7.20am.
Listen to the interview here from 1:20:07
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