CLUSTER NEWS – November 2022
West Midlands Innovation Accelerator
Well, the application is in for our application to Innovate UK for funding from the £33M of Government funding on offer for innovation projects in the West Midlands. Our Smart Connections project, with four other partners, is now in an assessment process alongside all the other West Midlands applications. Decisions are due to be notified to applicants in January.
Topical Tuesday in November was an excellent session with Professor Gino Martini, CEO of UoB’s new Precision Health Technologies Accelerator. Gino told us about the fascinating early work of PHTA with some amazing companies and ideas, and he also brought us up to date with the development of the Birmingham Health Innovation Campus at Selly Oak.
For Decembers TT we will be using the time to thank our members and have requested the pleasure of their company for a festive lunchtime meal.
This is not only to recognise key achievements in 2022 but also to look ahead and hear how we can support you in 2023. This event will take place on Tuesday 6th December 13:30. Emma will be sending personal invites to members this week.
Our next webinar will be with Simon Spink who is an independant Innovation Consultant and Deepak Pathak Senior Innovation and Growth Specialist, Innovate UK EDGE, together they will take us through what the Journey of innovation looks like and how you can successfully navigate it, register now, click here.
In 2023, my intention is to start offering in-person seminars. Do you think this is a good idea? Please contact me with your views.
Our second Annual Diagnostics Conference, jointly hosted with University of Warwick, will be held on:
Thursday 15 December, 2022 – 09:30am – 3.30pm – In-person event – University of Warwick Oculus Building
Our first meeting held in September 2021 considered how we can best exploit the commercial, scientific and health opportunities in diagnostics driven by the new knowledge, investment and innovation demonstrated by the UK diagnostics sector in response to COVID-19. This follow-on conference will consider the regional opportunities afforded by these developments and consider how we can best leverage our cross-sector strengths to build a world-leading diagnostics enterprise in the West Midlands.
HEALTH TECHNOLOGIES SECTOR NEWS
Support for Innovation in the Budget
Whilst almost everything in the November Budget makes for sombre reading, we can give the Chancellor credit for recognising the importance of supporting innovation and protecting the funding previously announced. The Government will ensure £20 billion in research and development investment is protected in 2024 to 2025, to help unlock growth across the UK. R&D tax reliefs will also be reformed and catapults and Made Smarter will continue to be funded. See this BEIS statement for details.
New role for CEO of University Hospitals Birmingham
Professor Dave Rosser, Chief Executive at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), will leave UHB at the end of the year to become Strategic Director for Digital Health and Care. This is a new role that will link together public sector digital, technology and data programmes across the region. At the Cluster we look forward to working closely with Professor Rosser to help develop our region’s digital health strengths.
WEST MIDLANDS REGION NEWS
Innovation Health Working Group
The latest meeting of the working group, organised and led by our own Emma Yeap, with help from Ahmar and Perninder, was hosted by Staffordshire University at its Stafford-located Centre for Health Innovation. I attended and saw first-hand the modern simulation suites there. The programme for the working group’s meeting was packed with news and presentations about innovative digital health products and services.
Export Academy Live
The first week in November was International Trade Week and the Department for International Trade arranged a whole programme of events including the Export Academy Roadshow. One day, the Roadshow was at the ICC and I attended, representing the Health Technologies Cluster. The Secretary of State Kemi Badenoch MP attended and gave a key-note speech.
IPO Routemap and Forum for the West Midlands
I followed up the successful launch of the West Midlands IP Routemap and the IP Forum with a meeting with Paul Storer, who is the IPO figure behind these initiatives. We have agreed to work together to promote understanding of the many ways in which trade secrets and Intellectual Property (IP) rights can be protected, supported and commercialised. I will provide more details of our joint activities shortly.
Birmingham Business Magazine
I hope you caught my article in the November issue as part of a Life Sciences Special Report. I was delighted to be asked to write this article on the prospects for our HealthTech and Life Sciences sector in 2023. You can read the magazine here.
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL NEWS
New obesity treatments and technology
The Department of Health and Social Care has announced a £20M boost to research to identify new medicines and digital tools to help reduce obesity. An open competition will be run in early 2023 to identify sites to deliver this research, exploring how new and potentially transformative medicines can be combined with technologies such as digital tools to improve long-term health outcomes for people living with obesity. Research will be focused outside of London and the Greater South-East, in the areas where obesity rates and health disparities are highest.
Innovative regulators given £12 million to accelerate introduction of delivery drones and personalised medicines
Science Minister George Freeman has awarded up to £12 million to UK regulators out of the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund. It is funding 24 regulator and local authority led projects across the UK that will help to remove regulatory barriers to innovation. The aim is to establish the UK as a world leader in technologies of the future – from AI to help treat rare diseases, to drones monitoring safety on construction sites.
The Binding Site acquisition by Thermo Fischer
Stunning news of the £2.25 bn cash purchase of The Binding Site by US company and science world-leader Thermo Fischer Scientific Inc. From University of Birmingham spin-out to world leader has been quite some journey for our friends at Five Ways. We are proud of their success and we wish them all the best in this much advanced position. This deal provides proof of the attractiveness of our health technologies sector in the West Midlands. We can all take heart from this development and look forward to 2023 and beyond with greater self-confidence as a result. You can read Thermo Fischer’s news release here.
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Executive Chair, November 2022