Region leads the way in medical health technology

Published 10th January 2017 at 2:04pm

Keith Jackson is CEO of JRI Orthopaedics, a Visiting Professor of Sheffield University, and a member of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Business Growth Board

With an aging UK population and a greater focus on preventative medicine, the healthcare and medical technology sectors are emerging as growth areas in the Sheffield City Region.

In this region, our particular strength is in medical technologies and their use of specialist metals, precision engineering, and advanced manufacturing. We also have, vitally, the intellectual infrastructure to kickstart innovations and the driving curiosity to research and prototype the ideas that come from both medical practitioners and their patients.

It was and is a region with a heritage of high level skills, a strong and co-operative research community which draws in talent, and an excellent supply chain. These skills are used in many other sectors including the aeronautical and automotive industries.

Later this month (January) a team from the Sheffield City Region (SCR) will be at the Arab Health trade show in Dubai, the largest gathering of healthcare and trade professionals in the Middle East and North Africa region. They will be alongside the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), showcasing the world-leading strengths of the Sheffield City Region in medical technologies and health innovation to 4,400 of the world’s leading healthcare companies.

The team from SCR will display a range of the cutting-edge products of regional companies, including medical devices, research and development work, and 3D printing. The displays, including a spinal cervical implant printed using 3D technology by the AMRC, will demonstrate how the region collaborates with the research excellence of both the AMRC and the new Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC).

The AWRC is based on the region’s visionary Olympic Legacy Park in Sheffield which is set to be part of an internationally recognised Innovation District for health and wellbeing research and learning.   

Around 3,000 people will work, learn and improve their fitness at the 35 acre Park with world-class sportseducation, health and leisure facilities. This public-private sector joint venture will provide businesses with a unique chance to gather research from a diverse range of groups including Olympic and Paralympic athletes, professional sportsmen and women, amateur competitors, community sport programmes and schoolchildren.

At the heart of the Park is the multi-million pound Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), which will provide state-of-the-art, fully instrumented laboratories and a team of 50 researchers for collaborative projects.

AWRC will take services and products from concept to market, mirroring the successful model used in other sectors including engineering and manufacturing and using the intellectual property, products and knowledge developed in the centre to generate both wealth and employment opportunities. Companies, including global technology leader Toshiba and leading health insurer Westfield Health, will invest in collaborative research and innovations to help people move.

Through the AWRC’s close links with the National Centre of Sports and Exercise Medicine, researchers will have the unique opportunity to work with the population of Sheffield and use local communities to explore and test the potential of innovations and products developed at the Olympic Legacy Park.

Displays at the Arab Health show from Sheffield City Region businesses will include:

Ceramisys Limited: specialises in the manufacture and development of implantable synthetic grafts for bone repair and ocular surgery.

Fripp Design and Research: an innovative method for making soft tissue prostheses has been developed by Fripp with the University of Sheffield and support from the Wellcome Trust.

JRI Orthopaedics: has expertise in the design, development and manufacture of orthopaedic implants and surgical instruments. First in the world to develop ceramic coating on hip replacements.

Orchid Orthopedic Solutions: a world-leading medical device, contract design and manufacturing company.

Platt and Nisbett: renowned for the manufacture of high quality surgical instruments.

Sheffield Precision Medical Limited: the leading British provider of orthopaedic instruments used in hip, knee, shoulder, foot and ankle replacement.

Swann-Morton: the world leader in the production of quality surgical blades, scalpels and handles.

“This is an amazing region to do business. Here you can explore an idea for a medical device alongside the experts at the AMRC, and follow it through to prototyping. It can be tested using the ‘living laboratory’ of this region – which reflects exactly the demographics of the UK – and lastly you can commercialise it here.”