Guest Blog: Smarter Regions - Anglia Ruskin University's MedTech campus puts Essex at the centre of health innovation

10 Apr 2014

One of the world’s largest health innovation spaces could be created in Essex thanks to the Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus which is a partnership between Anglia Ruskin University and its Postgraduate Medical Institute, Chelmsford City Council, Harlow District Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. 

Our vision for the Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus is “to drive the growth of the Medical Technology business sector and to transform the innovation process, gaining health system-wide adoption of the latest advances in technology and patient care.” We aim to create one of the world’s largest health innovation spaces in Essex and establish the UK as a global force in a growing sector worth £170 billion per year.

We are focused on “near market” changes across the board in health care which make a difference to patients and the NHS tomorrow. We have had tremendous support for the project from the Department of Health and, especially Earl Howe who you will see on our website talking at our launch and our approach is very much aligned with NHS Innovation as well as National Economic Growth Policy.

120 acres have been identified for development spread over three locations in Essex - Harlow, Southend and Chelmsford – where MedTech entrepreneurs and start-ups can locate in Innovation Centres alongside large UK and international companies.

It is intended that the scheme will generate 12,500 jobs and attract about £500million of investment from the private sector. Additional gap funding will be sought to help deliver the project from the EU working with our local LEP - the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

One of the main advantages for smaller firms locating at the MedTech Campus will be the ability to benefit from experienced companies around them in an Open Innovation network as well as being able to draw on Anglia Ruskin’s business and innovation support services.

Anglia Ruskin, through its Postgraduate Medical Institute and Clinical Trials Unit, works closely with six acute NHS Trusts and a large mental health trust in Essex, offering access to a potential test bed of three million patients. These links allow businesses to gain early adoption and feedback on their product, as well as develop relationships with potential customers.

The business services also provide access to a range of public and private sector funding opportunities, ranging from venture capital investors to specialist grants for low carbon innovation, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and EU funds.  We are also working with partners to ensure that these services are joined up with their business support services to ensure there is a coherent and comprehensive one-stop-shop or hub approach.

Physical work on the MedTech Campus sites is set to begin in 2015 but companies can still locate in interim space and the new Anglia Ruskin Business Innovation Centre for Medical and Advanced Engineering (Anglia Ruskin University MedBIC) is close to opening its doors to provide support and expertise to start-up businesses and entrepreneurs on the university’s own campus in Chelmsford. The MedBIC will also provide an incubator for companies that could go on to be part of the bigger MedTech Campus sites.

It is certainly an exciting time to be working here in Essex.

Jemma Little, Assistant Director, Business Partnerships and Support, Anglia Ruskin University