A major programme is being launched today to promote greater collaboration between small life sciences firms and leading academics. The programme is run by MedCity, which promotes life sciences across the South East of England and will match SMEs with academics at London’s top universities with the aim of increasing innovation and making products commercially viable.1

‘Collaborate to Innovate’, a programme worth £1.5 million, will fund up to fifteen projects in areas such as drug discovery, digital health, medical devices and diagnostics. Each project, which will be submitted by the SMEs, will be handed up to £100,000 to fund collaboration with specialist academics to provide research, build knowledge and develop their products.

The programme follows a recommendation made by Sir Andrew Witty in 2013 when he identified the need for the UK culture of invention to successfully translate from the ‘mind to factory’, through greater incentives for universities to partner with innovative, local SMEs in the development and commercialisation of new technologies.2

A further report by Professor Dame Anne Dowling in 2015 said better collaboration between business and universities would allow researchers to have tangible impacts, whilst helping companies to improve business performance through developing new techniques or technologies.3

Sarah Haywood, CEO at MedCity said:

“Across the South East there are a wealth of ideas and world-leading innovation. From developing artificial intelligence, to cell and gene therapies and using smartphones to assist care delivery, we have some of the smartest health pioneers anywhere. But often innovators need a helping hand to overcome the hurdles of bringing ideas to market. By matching leading academics with ground-breaking SMEs we can help them negotiate those hurdles.”

The Collaborate to Innovate programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Applications from SMEs will open at the launch event on today (Wednesday 28 September).

Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact Kim Watson, Communications Manager at MedCity on kimwatson@medcityhq.com or +44 (0)20 7691 3588 / +44 (0) 7553 374546.
1 The Collaborate to Innovate programme is run by MedCity in collaboration with Kings College London, Imperial College, Kings College London and Queen Mary University of London and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and part-funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The programme will launch on Wednesday 28 September 2016 at the Wellcome Collection. The launch will provide information about the scheme, how to get involved, and will feature examples of collaborations from the project’s academic partners. Please click here to find out more.

2 Encouraging a British Invention Revolution: Sir Andrew Witty’s Review of Universities and Growth, October 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/249720/bis-13-1241-encouraging-a-british-invention-revolution-andrew-witty-review-R1.pdf

3 The Dowling Review of Business-University Research Collaborations, July 2015: http://www.raeng.org.uk/policy/dowling-review/the-dowling-review-of-business-university-research