Date: 18 December 2019
A pioneering initiative will provide quicker access to groundbreaking healthcare technologies by bringing businesses together with patient groups, clinicians, and academics. The £1.7m project is being part funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).
SIGHT(Supporting Innovation and Growth in Healthcare Technologies) is a business support project developed by the University of Portsmouth to provide help and guidance to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the healthcare technology sector. It will also give SMEs access to clinicians and patient groups, enabling their products to meet the specific needs of these end users.
SIGHT will help companies be more aware of the challenges they could face bringing products to market in this sector and find ways these can be successfully overcome.
Professor Gordon Blunn, Director of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Portsmouth, explains: “SIGHT is a win-win. SMEs will receive bespoke and agile support to increase their competitiveness, access new markets and develop products. It will help them avoid the so called ‘valley of death’ many of these companies face between innovation and getting a medical technology product to market. As a result, patients and the public will benefit from faster access to new products and services that meet their healthcare needs.”
SIGHT aims to enhance the competitiveness of businesses in the healthcare sector in the South East region. The project will draw on clinical and academic expertise from the University of Portsmouth and delivery partners, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and the Clinical Research Network Wessex.
SIGHT will support businesses to engage through the Portsmouth Technologies Trials Unit (PTTU). The PTTU is a joint initiative between Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Portsmouth and provides specialist expertise in healthcare technologies.
The project has been welcomed by Professor Anoop Chauhan, Director of Research & Innovation, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, who said: “Our aim is to transform clinical care in Portsmouth through access to new technologies. The SIGHT project will help SMEs come up with new and innovative ways of diagnosing and treating patients; this is a real opportunity to make a big difference to patient care.”
The NHS is the largest customer for medical technologies in the UK and serves more than 60 million patients. Within the Wessex region, which encompasses the Solent LEP, 10 percent of the workforce is employed in the health economy. With over 300 health and life science companies focussed on medical technological innovation, it is expected SIGHT will provide an important boost to the regional economy through supporting this sector.
Professor Graham Galbraith, Vice-Chancellor, University of Portsmouth said: “I am proud of the role the University already plays in the prosperity of this great city, and therefore delighted that the University has secured substantial funding from the ERDF to enable further support to our region's businesses. The work the University will do through the SIGHT project will give those businesses a competitive edge, and patients and the public will ultimately benefit from access to new products and services that address their unmet healthcare needs. SIGHT will contribute to the University's prime objective of becoming one of the UK’s leading civic Universities.”
SIGHT will support businesses through:
Rebecca McKay, COO, Clinical Research Network Wessex, National Institute for Health Research, said: “Accelerating patient access to new medical technologies is one of our priorities. Being part of the SIGHT project is a unique opportunity to support small and medium enterprises and share our expertise in clinical research.”
SIGHT is one of several projects jointly funded by ERDF and the University of Portsmouth contributing to its commitment to supporting the development of the region.