As hard as it may be to imagine, this time last year the HealthTec Cluster didn’t exist! It’s been a whirlwind year building the HealthTec Cluster network in the North West, the official launch, and developing new ways to connect capabilities across the region and beyond.
With this in mind, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take a look back on the achievements of the cluster, and the companies and organisations that are at the heart of it, over the last year.
On May 23rd 2018, with the Innovation Agency, we brought together some of the key stakeholders in health technology throughout the North West and further afield, to discuss how building a defined matrix of stakeholders could assist with boosting collaboration across the region and ultimately enhancing growth. After many months of hard work the HealthTec Cluster finally launched 1 year to the day later on May 23rd 2019.
Sci-Tech Daresbury, in the Liverpool City Region, hosts the HealthTec Cluster in the North West and adopts a unique position at the heart of science and technology in the region with over 150 science and technology companies located on campus, of which over 40 organisations are working in the health technology sector. Of course many, many more are located beyond the campus boundaries in this vibrant region within the Northern Powerhouse. That was why it was so exciting to invite companies and organisations (our furthest guest coming from New Zealand!) to the campus for the official cluster launch.
We were joined by key players in health technology research and innovation from across the UK. From an insightful key note speech from Sir Mark Walport of UK Research and Innovation, to expert panels discussing health technology innovation and business growth and scale-up, with panelists including leading companies and professional services, NHS England and the London Stock Exchange’s Elite Programme. It was a fascinating and inspiring day! We also welcomed companies and innovation supporting organisations to showcase their biomedical & digital technologies and services first hand, highlighting the strength and depth of health technology innovation in the region. Take a look at some of the highlights from the day below.
Since the official launch of the cluster, one of the best parts of my role has been the bimonthly HealthTec Huddles – which we held for the first time in July. The huddles are a great opportunity to bring together all of the cluster community to network, collaborate, share successes and learn about new opportunities. We meet over breakfast or lunch to build these connections, including the opportunity to pitch to the room, 30 seconds is the target and this is one competitive community with some astounding pitches each time. I also like to highlight any new opportunities that have arisen since the last huddle, whether that’s support programs, funding or any other relevant news that could be useful. The more the merrier at the huddles so please do register for our next meet-up in January – it really is a great way to get a feel for what the cluster does and how your company or organisation could benefit.
Over the year I have also had the pleasure of witnessing a wide range of successes from companies that are part of the HealthTec Cluster. Seeing this progression is exceptional, especially when it has come as a direct result of engagement with the cluster. A recent example was Imagin3D – a Liverpool City Region based company that develops immersive 3D solutions. The cluster welcomed a Department for International Trade delegation from Lyon, France, and companies, including Imagin3D, were invited to join a round table on opportunities for synergy between the regions in health and life sciences. Following the round table, Imagin3D was invited to and gained a place on the prestigious Lyon Big Booster accelerator programme, going on to receive one-to-one mentoring and advice, and networking with >100 global tech start-ups. Being able to facilitate connections such as these is incredible and really shows a tangible output from building the cluster network.
We have rounded up other incredible highlights from the cluster community this year including:-
- Orcha and Nell formed a new strategic partnership to optimally integrate digital healthcare applications into healthcare processes and Orcha’s CEO was elected to TechUK’s Health and Social Care council
- Glow New Media launched its digital health prototype program and hosted a unique Health Tech Innovation Event – Satellites & Supercomputers at the Hartree Centre
- On unique events, facilitated by Flintloque Management Systems & Group Genius, delegates deep dived into key issues facing innovators from regulation and standards to trade and IP at the HealthTec Unconference at Sci-Tech Daresbury
- Brunswick Medical Limited went international! Opening it’s USA Office
- We welcomed international companies to the region and campus including Onkolyze, Mindler and Livful
- Birthdays were celebrated with Safesteps turning 1, with amazing first year achievements
- Also a year of firsts, Medilink UK launched its first UK Pavilion at Medica, one of the world’s largest life sciences and healthcare exhibitions, giving UK companies an international platform at this phenomenal event
- Growth was in the air, after a triumphant year Perfectus Biomed expanded its laboratories and services and worked with regional universities to support vital student work experience
- Further growth congratulations were in order for Insource who doubled their presence in the North and hosted its inaugural patient pathway plus user group meeting on campus
- Advanced Oncotherapy plc is starting verification and validation of the world’s first linear proton beam accelerator system, which is assembled and ready for testing at the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus.
- Already undertaking clinical evaluation, company NGPod widened it’s clinical trials for its innovative nasogastric tube placement device and won not one but two awards at Venturefest
- Award season continued, with QV Bioelectronics who won the BioCap 2019 Call for Pitches competition hosted at Alderley Park
- Wrapping up the year in style at the prestigious annual 2019 Bionow Awards, outstanding innovators were nominated and awarded at the ceremony, including Sky Medical Technology’s founder winning the outstanding contribution award.
There has of course been so much more and I wish I could list them all here – congratulations to all those who make up this vibrant and growing community and thank you for an amazing year!
In 2020 we will be continuing to build momentum, working with and growing the links to the cluster stakeholders to further connect the innovation community, and of course to showcase and support this fantastic health technology network.
In the meantime if you would like to find out more about health technology in the North West, or how you can get involved with the HealthTec Cluster, don’t hesitate to get in touch or join us at the next HealthTec Huddle on 16th January!
You can also stay up-to-date by subscribing to the HealthTec Newsletter, which brings you a monthly round-up of news and opportunities.
Phil Carvil is the HealthTec Cluster Manager, Science and Technology Facilities Council
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