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Academic Industry Meeting Day on HealthTech

08 Mar 2024

On Thursday 29 February, industry representatives got together for an Academic Industry Meeting Day (AIMday) to discuss challenges their companies currently have and to innovate possible solutions with experts from the Universities of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt including the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre, and from CPI, with expertise in a variety of fields summarised as HealthTech. Expertise included: robotics, biomedical engineering, sensors and imaging, biophysics, health informatics, biomedical AI, health economics, public health, and systems thinking.

Academic and industry attendies at the morning networking session

Before the day, companies submitted their challenges such as: utilisation of sanitary products for medication delivery, modelling the NHS as a complex system, sensing and processing technologies for healthcare, carbon accounting for digital services, and medical device behaviour prediction and sanitation using data and AI.

Victoria Darbyshire, Business Development Executive for Circular Economy at Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service, said:

The health of society is intrinsic with the health of our planet and therefore, we have a social responsibility to harness the opportunities that technology present to improve our health while alleviating the human impact on the natural environment, enabling future generations, to live healthier lives on a healthier planet, with a special focus on addressing underserved issues in women’s health.”
Hjalmar Eriksson with members of MDMC

Leveraging expertise to accelerate Scotland to the forefront of innovation.

The future of this sector, and society as a whole, relies on collaboration, especially in innovating to progress towards a sustainable future. Days like this really show first-hand the benefits of collaborating for all involved. As health care and the use of technology in delivering it is a complex problem that relies on the interaction between many different specialisms, its great to see the array of expertise housed within the University of Edinburgh that can help such a wide variety of companies and challenges. Appropriately leveraging this expertise can accelerate Scotland’s desire to be at the forefront of innovation, data, and action on climate change for a healthier population.

Access to necessary data was a key challenge.

The wide mix of companies in attendance provided a range of challenges but with a few similar problems at their core. A key challenge frequently referenced was the inability to access necessary data, especially in the healthcare sector.

According to Eric Zie from GoCodeGreen:

In digitally mature businesses, 20-30% of their emissions come from ICT.”

Therefore, if we are to use technology to progress R&D in a sustainable way and effectively improve public services, data sharing needs to be standardised to ensure progress is accounted for correctly.

Information stands from Edinburgh Innovations, CPI, MDMC, and Heriot Watt University

Growing impact of FemTech on women’s health

Another observation is the rise in FemTech as a focal area. Three FemTech businesses attended the event, showing the growing acknowledgement of the importance of this sector but that there are complex challenges those innovating in this area face.

During her session, Amy Guthrie, CEO of Oshun Labs highlighted that:

Climate change disproportionately affects women.”

Therefore, it’s incredibly important these businesses have opportunities to collaborate with academics, and other stakeholders, to overcome their challenges, scale their businesses and increase their impact.

Funding future collaborations

Several academic industry collaborations were kick started at the AIMday that can be taken forward by Edinburgh Innovations through supporting funding applications to the University of Edinburgh’s EPSRC and MRC Impact Acceleration Accounts. Potential topics include optical imaging to inspect surgical instruments for contaminants, AI powered analysis of images of menstrual blood for tracking of menstrual health conditions, and prediction of medical device behaviour for use in ophthalmic surgery. In addition, knowledge sharing during these sessions have opened businesses to new ideas and networks that they can themselves take forward.

In conclusion, organiser Hjalmar Eriksson of Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service, said:

AIMday is an opportunity for partners outside academia to set the agenda and discuss novel ways to find solutions to their challenges.”

AIMday® is a registered trademark owned by Uppsala University.

Contact Victoria Darbyshire to find out how you can work with the University of Edinburgh’s world-class circular economy expertise and state of the art facilities that will provide the solution to your industry challenges.

Related Links

More information on AIMday

Contact Victoria

Victoria Darbyshire

Business Development Executive
Circular Economy