New Greater Manchester health accelerator programme invites innovative companies to collaborate with NHS

A new accelerator programme is inviting SMEs to collaborate with Greater Manchester’s research and innovation institutions to support the development of innovative health and care products.

The Research and Innovation (R&I) Health Accelerator is open to companies looking to accelerate commercialisation of their product or service into the health and care system.

By leveraging Greater Manchester’s specialist translational research capacity and world-class health science assets, the accelerator aims to support the introduction of new health and care innovations, establish effective partnerships and support the growth of the region’s life sciences sector.

The project is led by Health Innovation Manchester (HInM), the organisation responsible for accelerating innovation in Greater Manchester’s health and care system, in partnership with The University of Manchester (UoM), Manchester City Council, Bionow and The University of Manchester Innovation Factory. It is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

As part of the R&I Health Accelerator, SMEs will be able to access expertise and support to help progress their products and services towards adoption and commercialisation in the health and care system. Support could include information about navigating the health and care system, developing value propositions, ethics & regulatory advice and access to university-wide expertise.

There will also be opportunities to build lasting research collaborations between SMEs, researchers, Greater Manchester universities, NHS organisations and the broader health innovation community. These collaborations will be used to share knowledge, address the barriers to adoption and co-develop proposals for research and development projects.

SMEs will be able to apply for three collaborative support mechanisms as part of the programme:

  • Small innovation vouchers of £2,499 will be able to support market insights, contract research services, clinical and applied health research advice, expertise in NICE processes, where this would support progress towards adoption and commercialisation – including the design of follow-on collaborative projects.
  • Follow-on vouchers of £20,000 will support more substantial developments, wholly or partially funding collaborative projects to progress towards key adoption and commercialisation milestones.
  • Projects co-developed with University of Manchester academics to move innovative products or services closer to adoption, supported by 4-5 months of researcher time and access to University facilities.

The programme, which is open now and will run until June 2023, will engage with SMEs across a range of health and care products and services, but with a particular focus on AI & digital technologies, medical devices, biosensors, genomics & precision medicine, diagnostics, biopharmaceuticals, and applications of advanced materials.

Richard Deed, Associate Commercial Director at Health Innovation Manchester, said: “The Research and Innovation Health Accelerator will provide comprehensive support to SMEs to progress innovative health & care products and services towards adoption and commercialisation. SMEs will be able to access specialist insights and world-leading expertise from the NHS and University and develop in-depth collaborations to further progress towards commercialisation.

“We are excited to work our partner organisations and SMEs to accelerate innovative solutions, address the health and social care needs of Greater Manchester and grow the local SME health innovation ecosystem.”

Professor Chris Taylor, Associate VP Digital Strategy, Interim Director Pankhurst Institute at The University of Manchester, said: “This project represents a really exciting opportunity to work with our partners in the GM health innovation ecosystem to exploit the University’s extensive expertise in Health Technology Research and Innovation, focussed through its Christabel Pankhurst Institute, to support business growth and to make a real difference to the health and economic development of Greater Manchester”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Small businesses are a bedrock of Manchester’s economy which is why it is crucial that start-ups have the right advice and support at their disposal. If investment in future businesses and innovators are made now then the city will reap benefits for years to come. Especially in the current economic climate, it is crucial that the Council and partner agencies play their role in shaping future prosperity.”

Geoff Davison, CEO at Bionow, commented: “The Accelerator offers SMEs an incredible opportunity to collaborate and access expertise, knowledge and facilities. Launching this programme and supporting the introduction of new health and care innovations has never been more important and Bionow is looking forward to helping to forge new partnerships and building on the remarkable projects that we already see in this world-class sector.”

The programme also aligns directly with the UK Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and with the GM Local Industrial Strategy, which features health innovation as one of four key pillars.

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