The Healthcare Metaverse: The good, the bad, and the ugly
Since 2020, the MDMC is now supporting over 110 SMEs through an integrated framework of expert support, funding, and manufacturing facilities, is championing strategic partnerships to boost the growth of medtech SMEs in Scotland. Its new five-year partnership with Technology Scotland, a leader in value addition in the Scottish technology market, offers opportunities to accelerate access to technology design capabilities for Scotland’s MedTech SMEs.
The partnership between the Medical Device Manufacturing Center of the Heriot-Watt University and Technology Scotland is set to boost the operations of med tech SMEs in Scotland. The med tech sector today is quite diverse, with players having the freedom to choose between medical equipment, primary prevention sensors, biotechnology, and others. Already, the MDMC advises in manufacturing, prototype design, regulatory issues, and funding for medtech startups.
Among the objectives of the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre is to facilitate strategic partnerships that allow it to consistently deliver value to its partner SMEs based on industry and clinical demand. The five-year partnership between Heriot-Watt University, where the Centre is based, and Technology Scotland is a critical step to meeting these ambitious goals. Technology Scotland is dedicated to creating sustainable technologies in the Scottish med tech sector through a holistic approach involving capacity building, interfacing with key national and international stakeholders, and influencing policy-making in Scotland and the UK. The new partnership will enable partner SMEs working with the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre to access new opportunities on an international scale and better design their devices to meet critical needs.
Technology Scotland supports a vibrant community of over 125 member organizations developing technologies to provide product advancements in multiple industries, from healthcare to communications. It also supports three academic and industrial member organization networks: Photonics Scotland, Product Design Scotland, and MaaS Scotland. Access to the diverse network that Technology Scotland supports will accelerate the way the MDMC can provide value to its partner SMEs. As Alistair McInroy, CEO of Technology Scotland, notes, “through our Product Design Scotland, Technology Scotland is delighted to be partnering with MDMC to provide life science SME with improved access to Scotland’s excellent design capabilities.”
In addition to the improved access to valuable resources and facilities, the partnership will promote an improved focus on developing sustainable devices. The medtech sector can be quite fast-paced, and having grounded experts from both organizations will facilitate the finetuning of new ideas to fit best practices for sustainability in the medtech sector. Generated knowledge from these endeavours will be shared globally across Heriot-Watt University’s campuses, including Dubai, Malaysia, and partner institutions.
Innovation in the med tech sector in Scotland is growing rapidly. However, creating viable technologies that meet the demands of the healthcare sector is a complex process, requiring input from experts, sustainable funding sources, and multilateral partnerships. Professor Duncan Hand, the director of the MDMC at Heriot-Watt University, comments, “it is essential that expert support is more easily and accessible to SMEs to translate their game-changing innovations into devices that can be more quickly adopted for the benefit of patient care.”
The MDMC has already taken steps to bridge this gap by providing its partner SMEs with access to experts, manufacturing facilities, and funding for innovative ideas. Its £2 million specialist manufacturing facilities, independent advisory group of NHS representatives, regulatory and clinical trials experts and clinicians, and network of 115 med tech startups are evidence of this commitment. Likewise, Technology Scotland’s diverse network provides opportunities for cross-industry partnerships and the sharing of expertise among interest groups.
Established in 2020 at the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre is a research and development facility dedicated to developing and manufacturing medical devices for clinical care. It was kickstarted by a £3.7 million funding input from the Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund and a collaborative effort between Heriot-Watt University, Robert Gordon University, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Glasgow. Since it was established, the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre (MDMC) has been a hub for driving the growth of SMEs in the MedTech sector, facilitating innovation, agile growth, and standardization.
As the clinical lead for the Centre, who also doubles as Chair of Translational Obstetrics at the Medical Research Council Centre for Reproductive Health (CRH) at the University of Edinburgh, said at the time, “my role in the MDMC will be to link SMEs to the medical profession in Scotland and to play an integral role in the pathway to translation for healthcare innovations.” Since then, the MDMC, managed by engineers, clinicians, and business development experts from Heriot-Watt, Robert Gordon, and the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, has supported over a hundred SMEs through a combination of one-to-one projects, specialist training, and industry events.
In addition to providing consultancy and supporting roles, the MDMC also provides top-tier manufacturing facilities for companies it partners with. This way, the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre helps new startups and SMEs in med tech bridge the gap between ideation and creating viable prototypes. Getting access to specialist design capability – as the MDMC offers – is one of the biggest challenges that SMEs in medtech currently face. The Medical Device Manufacturing Centre is solving problems for multiple companies with its offering.
Also, the MDMC is creating new frontiers in the quality of products released in Scotland’s growing medtech sector. By providing access to experts in every stage of medical device manufacturing and commercialization – from funding to manufacturing, to regulation – the MDMC helps ensure that new ideas are contextualized and polished to meet regulatory standards and industry best practices.
That’s a wrap on 2022, and what a terrific year it has been! We at SiGMA Group are incredibly grateful to all the delegates, collaborators, sponsors and of course, the core team itself whose hard work and support is crucial to hosting the landmark quality events everyone has come to associate with the name SiGMA.
That being said, the world keeps on turning, and so shall the wheels of this event-hosting machine that was kickstarted in 2014. Coming right up is SiGMA Group’s premier event in Africa, with Nairobi 2023 set for next January. Visit our webpage for more information!
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