A regional centre of health technology excellence has been launched in Plymouth, following a successful bid submitted to the Heart of the South West LEP by Plymouth Science Park.

The new Health Technology Innovation Hub (HTIH) will incubate and support health technology businesses and accelerate new technologies in the sector. As the capabilities of the centre expand, it is set to support around 120 businesses and create over a 100 jobs.

The successful bid was delivered in partnership with the University of Plymouth, Plymouth City Council and leading engineering and scientific technology company Renishaw.

The development of a regional centre of excellence is already underway with the installation of new Additive Manufacturing equipment and the recruitment of a manufacturing technology specialist as centre manager.

This new development at Plymouth Science Park builds on the capabilities of the Plymouth Health Innovation Alliance, which actively supports and maximises opportunities for health-related research, innovation, knowledge exchange and business growth in Plymouth and the South West region.

The development of the HTIH will see new state-of-the-art facilities for early-stage laboratory-based businesses at the science park, including laboratory space, single-user incubation laboratories, clean rooms, and specialist 3D printing facilities for rapid prototyping in a range of materials, including plastics and surgical grade metals. Existing office space will also be converted as part of the new centre.

Sean McConnell, an experienced senior technologist in advanced manufacturing, is the new centre manager.

Sean comes from a background in research and development for advanced manufacturing techniques. His primary focus was on design and additive manufacturing, assisting industries such as medical devices and precision engineering in their adoption of additive manufacturing (AM) along with other digital manufacturing techniques.

He said: “The Heath tech sector in the South West is already worth £603.6m* and is set to grow. The centre is of huge significance to the region, and will become a pivotal part of the healthtech hub centred around Plymouth. Offering high grade 3D printing on an industrial scale and as technologically advanced as this, will be the first in a series of new technological capabilities to help drive innovation and growth in the region.

“The hub will also have machinery with the capability to develop cranial implants made of titanium and advanced cutting guides that have been proven to improve patient outcomes and reduce surgery costs.

“We’re really looking forward to working with institutes, organisations and companies across the region, supporting the development and adaptation of new health technology, creating high value jobs and sustainable solutions to some of the major healthcare challenges of the 21st century.”

The advanced facilities at the HTIH, which will be ramped over the next three years, will provide healthcare and technology businesses with access to integrated health technology, research and innovation, and the ability to design and create complex and innovative products for the health sector.

Karl Tucker, chair of Heart of the South West LEP, said: “The new Health Technology Innovation Hub will create a regional centre of excellence, which will accelerate the development and deployment of health technologies across the South West.

“We are delighted to have agreed just over £1 million from the HotSW LEP’s Getting Building Fund towards the creation of the facility. The fund aims to support ready-to-go projects that will contribute to our area’s economy, and this new hub will enable the creation of over 100 new jobs and support over 100 businesses.”

The HTIH benefits from significant private sector investment, primarily through collaboration with Renishaw.

Renishaw is one of the world’s leading engineering and scientific technology companies, with expertise in additive manufacturing (AM) for medical and dental applications. Renishaw has invested in the HTIH to support the establishment of a Heart of the South West facility, including commissioning two new metal powder bed fusion AM machines to manufacture parts using less materials than traditional manufacturing technologies.

“Additive manufacturing enables manufacturers in the medical and dental industry to design parts with complex geometries that were previously unfeasible,” explained Chris Dimery, Additive Manufacturing Sales and Marketing Manager at Renishaw. “By partnering with the Health Technology Hub, we can give manufacturers in the South West access to advanced technologies that enable them to design new features that benefit both patients and surgeons.”

To find out more about Health Technology Innovation Hub please contact Plymouth Science Park: https://www.plymouthsciencepark.com/contact/



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