Cranfield University is part of a new life sciences partnership which aims to drive the development of innovative healthcare technologies. Led by the University of Hertfordshire, the ‘Healthcare Technologies Capability Connector’ (HTCC), is supported by Imperial College London and Cranfield University. The project has been awarded just under £1.5m by Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF).
The HTCC will link London-based entrepreneurs and innovation hubs, including the London MedTech cluster around White City, with Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire’s burgeoning biopharma sector, to support manufacturing and scaling of high growth potential businesses. These include Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst – the UK’s first open innovation biopharma campus – and Cranfield’s Industrial Technology Park.
Helping innovations scale-up
Yanina Aubrey-Gimenez, Director of Business, Enterprise and Innovation at the University of Hertfordshire said: “The UK’s Life Science sector is of strategic importance not only to the economy, but also the country’s health, wealth and resilience.”
A key challenge as the sector looks to grow and remain competitive is to create the conditions for innovations to scale-up. This can be helped by facilitating access to space, specialist labs, equipment, research and manufacturing expertise.
“HTCC aims to respond to this challenge by linking-up London-based SMEs and innovators to ecosystems in the larger Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire regions which are ready to support innovation at scale,” explained Ms Aubrey-Gimenez.
The HTCC programme, which launches in January 2024, will provide targeted support for R&D-focused healthcare companies in the early and scale-up stages. This includes funded acceleration and commercialisation support, funded support for researchers from across all three universities wishing to commercialise their ideas and a unique opportunity to build networks across key innovation clusters.
Alicen Nickson, Director, Research and Innovation at Cranfield University said: "We are delighted to be part of this collaboration and we look forward to building on Cranfield University's strength in using our high-quality applied research to drive innovation and help deliver growth for the regional biopharma sector."
The partnership brings together Hertfordshire’s’ long-standing expertise with SME engagement, incubation and acceleration support, as well as its research strengths around Pharma, AI, Robotics and Data Science; Imperial College’s broad-ranging health research capabilities and world-class development of spin outs; and Cranfield’s unique capabilities around applied engineering, manufacturing and scale up.
By linking key existing innovation ecosystems in this sector, enhancing researchers’ ability to bring their ideas to market and providing businesses with access to both expertise and specialist facilities, the programme intends to accelerate innovation and commercialisation. It will also help promote the adoption of new innovations into the NHS and contribute to the creation of new jobs and the overall growth of the UK’s healthcare sector.
Combining strengths to meet industry needs
HTCC is one of 14 UK projects to receive the CCF award, which are allocated to reinforce the critical innovation ecosystems around the UK already playing a crucial role in economic growth, scientific innovation and levelling up.
Professor John Senior, Pro Vice Chancellor Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at The University of Hertfordshire, said: “This incredible funding boost by Research England will enable us to leverage our combined strengths to help us meet key industry needs and play a role in advancing the UK’s position as a science and technology superpower.”
Any healthcare businesses, entrepreneurs and third sector organisations interested in knowing more, should register their interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.