Heriot-Watt University and Technology Scotland have announced a partnership to help Scottish SMEs access technology design skills.
Under the five-year agreement, the Medical Device Manufacturing Center (MDMC), based at Heriot-Watt University, will work with Technology Scotland’s networks to accelerate the time-to-market of novel medical and healthcare solutions.
The partnership will allow MDMC-backed SMEs to work with Technology Scotland, specifically its Product Design Scotland Network, to advance design needs with a particular focus on the sustainability of medical devices. The generated knowledge, expertise and innovation are then shared across Heriot-Watt’s global campuses, including Dubai and Malaysia, along with the institution’s academic partner institutions.
Based on Heriot-Watt University’s Edinburgh campus, the MDMC is a consortium comprising the University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow and Robert Gordon University, and supports Scottish SMEs in turning medical device concepts into commercial products. The staff provide free expert advice on and access to manufacturing engineering, regulatory issues and funding, as well as technically assisted access to its £2million specialist manufacturing facilities.
Professor Duncan Hand, Director of MDMC at Heriot-Watt University, said: “Access to specialized engineering capacity is one of the biggest challenges SMEs operating in this sector are currently facing. We were delighted to show the Minister how the MDMC is tackling these challenges in partnership with organizations such as Technology Scotland. We’re a nation of innovators, but it’s important that SMBs have easier and more consistent access to expert support to translate their breakthrough innovations into devices that can be deployed more quickly to benefit patient care. Our new strategic partnership will further accelerate Scotland’s offering in this area and ensure our nation remains a world leader in medical device development.”
Technology Scotland is the Enabling Technology Sector’s representative in Scotland. Through its three networks – Photonics Scotland, Product Design Scotland and MaaS Scotland – it supports a vibrant community of over 125 industrial and academic member organizations developing technology to deliver product advancements in markets from healthcare and communications to manufacturing and mobility.
Alastair McInroy, CEO of Technology Scotland said: “Technology developed within Scotland’s enabling technology sector has long supported our vibrant life sciences industry. Realizing the potential of these technologies and successfully navigating the path from concept to commercialization requires careful integration of design processes and frameworks. Through our Product Design Scotland network, Technology Scotland is delighted to partner with MDMC to provide life science SMEs with enhanced access to Scotland’s excellent design capabilities.”
The new agreement was celebrated during a special visit by Economy Secretary Ivan McKee. The Minister toured the MDMC facilities at Heriot-Watt University and heard about the facility’s work to date, including its wide-ranging support of 115 SMEs through a combination of individual projects, training and specialist events.
The Minister then met with university representatives to discuss opportunities for growth in the medical device manufacturing and biotechnology sectors in Scotland, including accelerating the ‘Triple Helix of Innovation’ through closer collaboration between academia, the NHS and industry. The challenges of the sustainability of medical devices in the NHS were also examined.
Business Secretary Ivan McKee said: “The Scottish Government has supported the Medical Device Manufacturing Center through our Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund to stimulate innovation and make Scotland’s healthcare more innovative by addressing urgent clinical needs, in line with the ambitions for businesses in our National Strategy for Economic Transformation.
“It is therefore rewarding to learn more about this partnership between Heriot Watt University and Technology Scotland to accelerate the development of medical and healthcare solutions in Scotland and around the world. Health tech and medical devices offer significant economic, healthcare and employment opportunities within Scotland’s manufacturing sector. The triple helix approach of academia, industry and the NHS working in partnership is critical to growth in this sector.”