Government recognition for Leeds City Region medtech expertise

Research into innovative medical technologies, spanning the Faculties of Engineering and Biological Sciences, has been recognised in the Government’s Industrial Strategy Life Sciences Sector Deal.

The deal between government and the life sciences industry, which connects academia and the public sector with major firms worldwide, was announced this week by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department of Health.

It highlights plans for a £350million investment in medical technology research and development, which includes new investments such as Nexus, the University’s forthcoming £40million innovation and enterprise centre.

Medical technologies research

For many years, the University of Leeds with its industry and NHS partners has excelled in developing new medical technologies and working with business to turn them into commercial products.

Among the current national programmes of research which Leeds leads are the EPSRC Medical Technologies Innovation and Knowledge Centre and the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Medical Devices.

Through our interdisciplinary Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, which spans the Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Biological Sciences, expertise has focused on musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems, covering:

  • Joint Replacement

  • Tissue Re-engineering

  • Functional Spinal Interventions

Visit the Institute’s website to explore an interactive skeleton showing how Leeds research has influenced medical procedures in the body and to learn about its successes, including:

  • Securing more than £100m of research funding since 2008

  • Collaborating with 44 other universities, as well as long-standing links with the private sector and the Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Centre at Chapel Allerton Hospital

  • Creating 22 patents

  • Launching five spin out companies, among more than 100 to have began life at the University

Whilst he was a minister in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Lord Prior of Brampton visited the Institute in November 2016 to learn about its ground breaking work.

Lord Prior visit

Lord Prior of Brampton's visit to the Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering

Following his visit, Lord Prior said: “I was incredibly privileged to visit the Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering at the University of Leeds, and also to hear about the work of the Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Centre.

"Together, they are providing vital research to the rest of the world on musculoskeletal issues. They offer hope for millions of people who suffer from a wide range of musculoskeletal and related conditions.”

They offer hope for millions of people who suffer from a wide range of musculoskeletal and related conditions.

Nexus: Driving business growth through collaboration

Nexus seamlessly connects business with world-class research at the University. It fuses academic insight and commercial expertise within a creative environment.

Due to launch in autumn 2018, Nexus will be a vibrant and creative community supported by state of the art facilities including lab space to foster collaboration. It will be staffed by a team of professionals whose role is to facilitate relationships between academics and the private sector.

Dr Martin Stow, Director of Nexus, said: “Increasing our engagement with industry will be a key feature of the University’s growth in the next decade, I am pleased both Greg Clark and Jeremy Hunt have recognised the importance that doing so will have across the life sciences sector."

Artists impression of nexus

Artist's impression of Nexus

Pioneering research and development 

The Life Sciences Sector Deal report, published this week, highlights the role Nexus will play.

The report stated: "Partners across the Leeds City Region, including universities, local authorities, the NHS and industry are establishing a £350m investment programme in the Leeds City Region's leading medtech hub, including, as part of a new Innovation Quarter in Leeds city centre, Nexus, a £40m Innovation Centre driven by the University of Leeds which will actively incubate and grow start-ups."

The £350million figure is not new funding from Government, but was identified in a Science Innovation Audit report compiled by six universities in the Leeds City Region.

Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at Leeds, said recognition of the investment which Leeds and other universities and organisations, including research councils, had made in the region was significant.

She said: “Recognition of our immense strength in the Life Sciences Sector Deal report is very welcome, and we hope the Government will commit to supporting such high-impact capability.”

The audit identified that Government, industry and the NHS need to invest between £200 million and £250 million in the Leeds City Region’s medical technology sector over the next five years to enable it to exploit opportunities in the global health market.

Further information

For further information, contact Peter Le Riche in the University of Leeds press office.

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