Connecting the Midlands medtech sector

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Here in the Midlands, we know the value of medtech – £1.6bn to be exact. We also know this is just the beginning, and that not only is further growth possible, it’s highly likely given the wealth of expertise in our region. 

But we know there are barriers too. Extensive discussions with more than 100 Midlands companies have revealed 11 critical challenges that keep medtech entrepreneurs awake at night (more on these later). 

So what are we doing about it?

The answer is Med-Tech CONNECT – a COllaborative Network to eNable and Enhance Cross-sector Transformation – which brings together a range of partners to stimulate major growth in the region’s medical technologies sector. 

CONNECT is specifically designed to tackle the West Midlands’ Med-Tech productivity challenge – that our relative abundance of locally-based Med-Tech SMEs does not translate to equivalently competitive employment or turnover across the region.

Bringing together a range of partners – local industry; civic leadership; multi-disciplinary academic and clinical expertise from renowned regional Universities and hospital trusts; the Manufacturing Technology Centre and industry bodies –  CONNECT will directly address the 11 challenges identified:

  • Inefficient access to NHS expertise, patients/users and 'innovation-ready' datasets
  • Complex, confusing, rapidly-evolving (inter)national regulatory landscape
  • Adoption of products in national (NHS) and international markets
  • Timely access to innovation expertise, infrastructure and literature
  • Capability and capacity to respond to emerging market opportunities
  • Cost-effective prototyping
  • Initial small-scale manufacture of novel medtech products not currently locally available
  • Talent pool not of sufficient scale, diversity and readiness to enable and sustain growth
  • Uncoordinated approach to private sector investment
  • Limited co-location opportunities for critical mass of expertise and facilities to enable collaboration
  • Lack of streamlined support identifying and accessing service sectors

By  directly addressing these challenges, CONNECT will foster a distinctive regional medtech cluster, nurturing the growth and diversification of a substantial existing industry base – as well as leveraging relevant other industry strengths and supply chains in manufacturing and digital and enabling these to diversify – and catalysing creation of innovative new businesses.

Together, we aim to deliver one of the key ambitions articulated in the West Midlands Industrial Strategy (the UK’s first Local Industrial Strategy), delivering innovation-led regional growth across the West Midlands region in medtech, covering a broad spectrum of frontier technologies from advanced therapies, digital health and diagnostics through to classical devices.

Working together with the economic modelling team within CityREDI, we project our collaborative programme will deliver additional GVA generation of £78.5million to the region, plus additional £33.5million GVA created through matched funding, creating 348 direct jobs and 870 indirectly, and safeguarding an additional 250 regional jobs.