Report published celebrating the ERDF Research & Innovation Health Accelerator

Manchester skyline at dusk

A report has been published celebrating the achievements of the ERDF Research & Innovation (R&I) Health Accelerator, showcasing the Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) involved in the project and demonstrating how Greater Manchester’s research and innovation institutions came together to accelerate innovation within life sciences.

The report entitled ‘Accelerating Research and Innovation in Greater Manchester’ provides an overview of the project from 2020 to 2023, with a breakdown of the funding and support on offer for companies, alongside a series of case studies from this collaborative project.

The R&I Health Accelerator ended towards the end of 2023, and was an ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) part-funded project delivered by Health Innovation Manchester, The University of Manchester, The University of Manchester Innovation Factory, Manchester City Council and Bionow.

The project invited Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) to collaborate with Greater Manchester’s research and innovation institutions to accelerate development and improve commercialisation of innovative healthcare products and services within life sciences.

SMEs were able to access expertise and support including information about navigating the health and care system, developing value propositions, ethics and regulatory advice, and access to university-wide expertise.

Accelerating Research and Innovation in Greater Manchester

Throughout the delivery of the R&I Health Accelerator, SMEs were provided with opportunity to build lasting research collaborations with researchers, Greater Manchester universities, NHS organisations and the broader health innovation community.

In three years, the Accelerator was able to support 63 companies, deliver over 25 events, and foster 32 research collaborations. These relationships and collaborations have gone on to create at least 10 jobs for the local economy and accelerate 11 products or services becoming ready for the life sciences market.

Colleagues sat around a table talking.

Professor Chris Taylor, Associate Vice President of Digital Strategy & Innovation at the University of Manchester, said: “Research collaborations have been crucial to the success of the R&I Health Accelerator project, allowing SMEs to access academic and teaching hospital expertise to help develop and commercialise their products and services. In many cases this has catalysed ongoing relationships that will continue to drive health and care innovation.”

Daniel Zamora, Programme Director for the R&I Health Innovation Accelerator at Health Innovation Manchester, said: “The R&I Health Accelerator project has created new and developed existing collaborations between healthcare, academic and industry partners and we look forward to continuing these collaborations after the ERDF project comes to a close.”

The report details the level of support provided to companies across the entire project, including levels of support in which SMEs had the opportunity to join workshops, access university expertise, co-design bespoke packages for their innovations, and access state-of-the-art facilities to assist with their product development.

A variety of success stories and case studies are presented as part of the document, indicating the level of success for companies all different sizes and stages in their innovation journey.

BBL Protect are just one of the many case studies presented as part of the report, after collaboration between the company and R&I Health Accelerator programme led to funding and access to clinical insight, allowing for further development of their product.

Russell Clifton, Managing Director at BBL Protect, said: “BBL Protect approached Health Innovation Manchester with an idea and no previous experience of MedTech, NHS or the wider market. The programme has been like a parachute of support, providing knowledge, insight, contacts, and assistance where needed, which enabled us to land with final product into the Global MedTech and medevac market.

Kuppd is another SME that received support and expertise received through the R&I Health Accelerator that helped them further develop fashion forward, sustainable 3D printed external breast prostheses. Watch the Kuppd case study here.

Following on from support received through Health Innovation Manchester, Sarah has recently received an award through Innovate UK to further boost Kuppd’s goals of providing more choice for those who have been affected by mastectomy or lumpectomy.

Sarah Cordery, Founder and Director of Kuppd, said: “Through Health Innovation Manchester I’ve learned a great deal about the various different NHS pathways, what is already in the market, how I can improve my product and what I need to do to push through to market.”

All applications for the R&I Health Accelerator are now closed. For further support in bringing innovative products and services to the NHS, please visit: The Innovation Nexus.

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