23 October 2023
Awards of up to £1 million for West Yorkshire’s booming healthtech businesses
- West Yorkshire secures £7.5 million to support local business growth
- The funding will focus on driving forward the region’s strengths in health technology
- Small and medium-sized businesses can apply for grants ranging from £25,000 to £1 million
Health technology companies in West Yorkshire will be able to bid for funding of up to £1 million to help develop lifechanging medical innovations for use in the NHS and across the world, Mayor Tracy Brabin has announced.
Due to the emerging strengths of the region’s £5 billion health technology sector (healthtech), the Mayor of West Yorkshire has secured £7.5 million of new investment — hailed as a “gamechanger” for businesses and patients.
The funding will be distributed to businesses which can demonstrate that they will have a positive impact on patient care through an innovative new medical, diagnostic or digital health solution.
The new multi-million partnership between the Mayor and Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), comes days after £5 million was announced by UKRI for the medical technology sector across Yorkshire, which employs over 16,000 people across 250 companies.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “This groundbreaking new partnership is a major vote of confidence in the future of our brilliant healthtech businesses, who are transforming the lives of patients world-wide.
“That we were able to secure this funding is a testament to the strength of our sector, the talent of our homegrown scientists and researchers, and our ambition to transform the NHS through innovation.
“I’m confident these grants of up to £1 million will be a gamechanger for local businesses, helping them create skilled jobs, pioneer new technologies and level up patient care.”
Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said: “Innovate UK is building strong regional partnerships across the UK to support local innovation and commercialisation. Our new Launchpads will help to attract further private sector R&D investment into innovation clusters, growing local economies and delivering societal and economic benefits to local communities.”
Home to the headquarters of NHS England and some of the strongest academic and clinical research facilities in the country, West Yorkshire is an incubator for many leading healthtech companies.
From the end of October, companies working on devices and technologies that could improve patient care will be able to apply for competitive grants ranging from £25,000 to £1 million.
The £7.5 million “launchpad” programme will help them develop the innovations all the way from the lab through to clinical trials and on to global health markets.
Eligible businesses include those seeking to help the NHS prevent, diagnose and treat major physical health conditions including cancer, strokes and dementia, as well as mental health conditions.
Huddersfield-based Paxman Scalp Cooling, which helps cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy by minimising their hair loss, has almost quadrupled its team from 25 to over 90 people over the past six years, with a large proportion of those working in West Yorkshire.
Richard Paxman OBE, CEO of Paxman Scalp Cooling and private sector representative on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Business, Economy and Innovation Committee, said: “This is such positive news for the region and the sector, further strengthening an already exciting opportunity for West Yorkshire and the North.
“From experience, this type of non-dilutive funding provides such an impact for SMEs in our region and sector, reducing the risk of investment and expediting the lengthy pathway often leading to speedier commercialisation and therefore a positive impact both socially and financially to all stakeholders.
“In addition, it also can really attract future investment into companies from other sources, further supporting growth for the company and the region. West Yorkshire is an exciting place to be at the moment and pleased to see further momentum in our sector.”
The funding was secured by the Mayor in conjunction with the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership, Health Innovation Yorkshire and Humber, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the Universities of Bradford, Huddersfield and Leeds, as well as industry partners Medilink North of England, Medipex, and the Association of British Healthtech Industries.
Tom Elliott, Managing Director of Medilink, said: “For more than 25 years Medilink has supported health technology organisations in the region, working with hundreds of business, academia and clinicians across West Yorkshire.
“The recent announcement is of significant value to health tech companies, as these funds empower companies to invest in research, development, and the commercialisation of innovative solutions that improve patient care, enhance diagnostics, and streamline healthcare delivery.
“Without such funding, many groundbreaking ideas might never see the light of day, hindering progress in the industry and limiting the potential to save lives and improve the quality of healthcare worldwide.”
Richard Devereaux Phillips, Director of Strategy at the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI), said: “We have enjoyed a strong relationship with West Yorkshire and its fantastic organisations for a number of years. This is another major step in establishing the region as one of the most attractive for Healthtech, and one that can compete on the global stage.”
Dr Neville Young, Director of Enterprise and Innovation at Health Innovation Yorkshire & Humber, said: “We’re proud to work with our partners across the region to secure funding for important programmes such as this.
“The investment will further catalyse our thriving SMEs community across the whole of West Yorkshire and is a testament to the potential that our region possesses in making the most out of HealthTech.
“It will undoubtedly serve as a driving force for innovation in population health and economic growth across West Yorkshire.”
The competition will open in West Yorkshire on 30 October and close on 13 December.
After businesses submit bids for funding, these will be reviewed by Innovate UK by February 2024, with new projects expected to start in May 2024.
To find out more about the West Yorkshire healthtech launchpad competition, visit: https://iuk.ktn-uk.org/programme/launchpads/
To sign up to a local stakeholder engagement session, visit: https://www.wyinnovationfestival.com/supercharging-wy-health-sector
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