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Cardiff Medicentre hosts event to advance collaboration between academia and industry

24 June 2024

Academic and industry experts have been brought together to foster innovation and unlock collaborative potential.

MediWales and Cardiff University School of Medicine have hosted an engagement event to foster stronger links between academic and industry expertise. The event aimed to demystify the complexities of collaboration between the two sectors.

Academia and industry can offer each other distinct perspectives, opportunities and skills. Bringing scientific and commercial expertise together can fast-track product development, industry efficiencies, and novel solutions. But how do academic-industry partnerships start, develop, and succeed? Through keynote speakers and an interactive panel discussion, this event showcased successful collaboration projects, highlighted tangible outcomes, and signposted routes to collaboration.

Rhys Pearce-Palmer, Innovation Operations Manager at Cardiff University said: “This event was all about bringing academia and industry together, not just to network but to troubleshoot the do's and don'ts of collaborative relationships and the journey that innovation goes on."

Innovation requires diversity - of ideas, of backgrounds, and of experience. By providing a space for collaboration between diverse groups of people, including academic experts, healthcare specialists, public sector actors, and industry professionals, we are helping drive regional innovation which, in turn, is leading to significant economic and social impacts for Wales.
Rhys Pearce-Palmer Innovation Operations Manager

The event, which took place on Tuesday 4 June, welcomed over 80 industry, healthcare, public sector, and academic partners. It included several keynote speakers, including Rhodri Turner – Research Commercialisation Manager in the University’s Research and Innovation Services, University alumnus Felix Dobbs – Co-Founder and CEO of Broken String Biosciences Ltd, and Professor Ian Weeks OBE – Professor in Translational Biochemistry at Cardiff University.

Professor Weeks  said: “Communication is key. It's surprising how many people don't necessarily know what expertise is available to help and advise them on their pathway to innovation. Events like this are vital to making this happen, and to allow people who have imaginative ideas to translate them into innovations.”

Gwyn Tudor, CEO of MediWales, chaired the panel session which included Professor Phil Coles – Chief Clinical Innovation Lead at SBRI Healthcare, Simon Renault – Head of Innovation Delivery Programmes and Partnerships Health, Social Care and Early Years Group at Welsh Government, Liz Rees – Funding Programme Lead at Life Science Hub Wales, Dr James Hindley – Chief Executive of ImmunoServ Ltd, and Paul Devlin - Head of Research Commercialisation and Impact in University’s Research and Innovation Services.

Following the talks, the attendees had the opportunity to network over lunch and share their passion for innovation and R&D in the medtech, biotech, and healthcare sectors.

Professor Aled Clayton , Director of Research at the School of Medicine, said: “One of the major questions is understanding where the gaps in the industry lie. Identifying these gaps is essential because, without this knowledge, it's difficult to address them effectively. Equally important is for the industry to be aware of the assets and innovations we have available and how we can develop them further. The clarity provided by the School of Medicine is invaluable in this process. Therefore, events like this, where minds come together, are crucial.”

Cardiff Medicentre, which was founded in 1992, was the first business incubator of its kind in the UK. It is a joint venture between Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Located on the grounds of the University Hospital of Wales, the Medicentre offers an ideal environment and hands-on support to launch innovations and bring them to commercialisation. It features 19,050 square feet of modern lab and office space, staffed by a specialist business support team.

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