HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II RIP
All of us at the Cluster shared the country’s sense of loss of a loved and respected head of state, the late Queen Elizabeth II. We shall miss her wise guidance, her commitment to duty and her steady hand on the tiller of the ship of state. We congratulate King Charles III on becoming our new head of state, we wish him every success in his role and we willingly affirm our loyalty to the Crown.
CLUSTER NEWS – SEPTEMBER 2022
CLUSTER NEWS – September 2022
West Midlands Innovation Accelerator
With £33M of Government funding on offer, there has understandably been a keen interest in this new Innovation Fund for the West Midlands. The Cluster put forward an Expression of Interest for a project we call “Smart Connections” seeking funding for joining up support for HealthTech and MedTech innovators.
We have now been invited to make an application for funding in accordance with our Expression of Interest. We hope to have support for our application from a number of partner organisations and we are reaching wider still for letters of support from a range of West Midlands organisations.
We plan to meet with our partners and supporters on 04 October for a workshop to plan the application in full detail. If you are interested in knowing more about this exciting opportunity, please contact me.
We were thrilled to be asked by Birmingham Tech to arrange a Health Day during Birmingham Tech Week in October. The event dubbed “HEALTHTECH SHOWCASE” during Birmingham Tech Week 2022 will be held on Thursday 13th October. We have put together the programme for this day – and we think it is very exciting! To register click here.
Topical Tuesday was back in September after a break in August. Derek Sears from DEMAND Hub gave a presentation about support for SMEs. We reciprocated the following week by attending an event which DEMAND Hub held at Edgbaston in which some of the very successful SMEs they have helped gave inspirational talks.
We are planning our next webinar. We are in discussion with Simon Spink of the WM Combined Authority about a workshop for business innovators. Details to follow shortly. This will be online but now that the pandemic appears to be receding we are open to holding face to face seminars – if members would be interested?
We are arranging a second Annual Diagnostics Conference with University of Warwick which will be held at the university on Thursday 15 December. Contact me if you want details – especially if you would be interested in presenting or exhibiting at the Conference.
HEALTH TECHNOLOGIES SECTOR NEWS
ROSALIND FRANKLIN LABORATORY
One of the great connections we made when we took DIAGCOMM members on a tour of this Mega Lab was a connection with the managers of the Lab itself. The place is huge – imagine the laboratory lines they had in place when they were testing tens of thousands of Covid tests a day. Now that testing activity has reduced considerably, there is a lot of space at the lab and the management is keen that our region’s HealthTech and MedTech businesses should benefit from its facilities. I have spoken to the Director of the lab and he spoke of incubator spaces, training opportunities and bespoke testing regimes. He is even willing to offer the Cluster an office there! If you want to know more about these opportunities, or if you can suggest other uses for space in the lab, please contact me.
West Midlands Innovation Accelerator
As described above, the Cluster is in with a shout for some of this funding. I attended a joint briefing by UKRI and the West Midlands Combined Authority about how to apply for funding and what criteria applications will be judged on.
I am drafting an application which we will share with our partners and supporters as we try to build up support for a credible bid with good prospects of success. We are still calling the project “Smart Connections”.
The current intended rationale for intervention is to help inventors and entrepreneurs to get their new products and services to market faster.
Digital Health Hub Pilot
Nearly all our region’s HealthTech and MedTech stakeholders combined to submit an application to Innovate UK for a share of an £8M fund to enable our region to develop a digital health hub pilot. I am particularly grateful to Helen Maddock and John Whitall at Coventry University for all the work they did to produce what I believe is a very strong bid. The Cluster is named non-academic partner in the bid. The decision-making process is rather prolonged so it will be early next year before we know whether we have been successful.
WEST MIDLANDS REGION NEWS
Birmingham Tech Week 2022
I have announced above that the Health Day in Birmingham Tech Week 2022 will be 13th October. There will be very wide range of Tech subjects covered across the week between 10th and 14th October so whatever your business interests are there is very likely to be something of importance to you and your business during the week. Find out more here.
High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult
HMV has relocated to iCentrum and iCentrum manager Bruntwood SciTech says the West Midlands has the potential for a £1.5bn a year manufacturing dividend, according to new analysis by the UK’s strategic hub for industrial research.
The High Value Manufacturing Catapult analysis marks the move of its HQ to Innovation Birmingham, part of the Bruntwood SciTech network and Birmingham’s leading digital and tech campus. Formed 11 years ago by Innovate UK, the HVM Catapult comprises seven research centres, including WMG, and worked with more than 5,500 industrial partners in 2020/21.
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Community Diagnostic Centres.
The Government has a plan to open 160 new community diagnostic centres by 2025 – and announced seven new openings this month. The one-stop shops offer a range of diagnostic checks, scans and tests closer to home. Following a GP referral, patients can get their symptoms checked and receive a potentially life-saving diagnosis for a range of conditions such as cancer, heart and lung disease more quickly. The new facilities will also relieve pressure on NHS staff ahead of a potentially challenging winter. So far, 92 have already opened in a variety of settings from football stadiums to shopping centres – carrying out over 1.7 million tests.
Future Health Emergencies (un)Readiness
Almost half (49 per cent) of healthcare workers agree that health systems lack preparation for managing another health emergency. Global health systems are “not ready” and likely won’t cope with another health emergency such as a pandemic, a new survey suggests.
Poor funding, staff shortages, and inadequate preparation have all been blamed for current pressures, ultimately making health systems around the world unfit to cope with another pandemic. I am reminded of all the work we did in co-operation with the Vaccine Taskforce Legacy Group of civil servants. We identified low-cost ways to maintain the UK’s readiness for being able to respond to future health emergencies and strengthen UK resilience.
MicroBioSensor has launched QUICKCHECK™ a medical device designed in partnership with Smallfry. This device can help speed the diagnosis of peritonitis in vulnerable kidney and liver failure patients. With results 10,000x faster than current methods, this portable and rapid detection device now means that nurses can carry out an instant leukocyte count at the patient’s home. Providing convenience to the patient and supporting rapid detection and treatment pathways.
Born out of collaboration between Smallfry and the team at MicroBioSensor, QuickCheck™ rapidly identifies Leukocyte levels in peritoneal effluent. No longer shrouded in ambiguity, the device provides a clear answer as to whether ISPD threshold levels of leukocytes have been exceeded, providing crucial information to help clinical teams decide whether patients need to be admitted to hospital.
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Executive Chair, September 2022