Industry leaders, academic experts and regional government representatives from China and the UK gathered in Birmingham to create a blueprint for transforming biomedical engineering research into innovative treatments for patients.
The UK launch of the University of Birmingham – Southeast University Joint Centre for Biomedical Engineering brought together experts from across the Midlands and Jiangsu Province to define the opportunities and barriers for healthcare innovation.
Launched in China in May 2018, the centre provides a focus for organising complimentary healthcare innovation networks – accelerating co-development and commercialisation at scale of research emerging from both universities.
Midlands businesses had the opportunity to meet key players in the UK-China biomedical engineering sector at the two day workshop – a partnership between the Birmingham and Nanjing-based universities and their respective networks.
Discussion focussed on developing and commercialising new healthcare products by linking innovators, wider industry and professional service support.
It featured senior representatives from companies with a major involvement in the UK-China healthcare technology sector, such as GE, Philips and United Imaging, as well as Midlands-based leaders in the field such as Hugo Technology and Kimal.
Event organiser Dr Richard Williams, from the University of Birmingham’s Healthcare Technologies Institute, said: “The event was a huge success with numerous multi-disciplinary industry-academic partnerships formed around promising technologies, with companies finding potential partners to co-develop or expand into new markets.
“We’ve set the wheels in motion with academic and industry partners in the UK and China now planning further forums on focused technology areas such as MRI and wound healing. There are great business opportunities for Midlands companies in this sector and this event will be the first of many to connect regional enterprise with partners in both countries.”
Workshop sessions introduced market opportunities in China, networks for supporting healthcare innovation and a variety of technologies under development, as well as the intellectual property/legal landscape for UK-China interactions.
Professor Dawei Huang, Vice-President at Southeast University, commented: “I am delighted to lead our delegation from Southeast University at this conference for advanced research and technical innovation. We treasure our partnership with the University of Birmingham and look forward to more co-operation between our universities in the future.”
Delegates from UK and China learned more about medical device and data-driven services that are either ready to enter UK and Chinese markets, or enter those markets pending clearance of well-defined technical or business barriers.
The event dovetailed with broader business support offered by organisations such as the China-Britain Business Council and the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Professor Jon Frampton, Co-Director of the China Institute at BHP founder member the University of Birmingham, commented: “I’m delighted that the first UK event staged by our innovative partnership has been so successful. We believe this initiative will provide many opportunities to co-develop new healthcare products from technologies emerging from both our universities.
“The Joint Centre provides a platform for healthcare technology companies, and their supply chains, in the UK and China to create partnerships across our networks that will help to co-develop new healthcare products or commercialise existing technology. This model for the development of innovation and market access for our academics is one that we hope to apply more widely in China.”