Collaboration vital to UK becoming life sciences superpower – TechToday

The UK healthtech industry is facing a number of challenges that are hindering its growth and potential to become a thriving hub for innovation. Paula Rogers-Brown, head of communities & ecosystem engagement at Connect: Health Tech, sheds light on these challenges and provides insights on how collaboration and a unified voice can help overcome them.

One of the major challenges facing healthtech businesses in the UK is the fragmented nature of the ecosystem. The lack of interconnectivity between different stakeholders hampers collaboration and innovation. To address this, there is a need to build more connections and remove siloes both locally and nationally. This will enable complementary teams to interact and harness the wealth of expertise available throughout the UK for long-term growth.

Another challenge is the language barrier at the interface of health, technology, engineering, and AI. Clinicians may not be familiar with common tech terms, and technology specialists may lack knowledge of medical terminology. Overcoming this challenge requires time and effort to bridge the gap and work effectively on product development and commercialization.

Furthermore, there is a lack of knowledge around entrepreneurship in the research community. Many scientists and clinicians have transformational ideas but lack the understanding of how to progress their innovations. Sharing knowledge and resources about routes to commercialization, funding, and regulation is crucial to help these entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition.

To support the UK healthtech industry, there is a need to build an industry with a porosity in knowledge exchange. Fellowships and investments in infrastructure can encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration. Events and online communities play a crucial role in facilitating connections and enabling interdisciplinary innovation. Role models within the healthtech community can also inspire diversity and inclusivity in research and leadership teams.

While investment and development have often been concentrated in certain regions, there are risks in focusing development within specific areas. Co-location can foster idea sharing and talent development, but collaboration should not be limited to specific regions. It is important to ensure that research and innovation development are inclusive and incorporate the diverse demographics of different regions within the UK.

The NHS presents a unique resource for the UK healthtech industry, offering opportunities for collaboration and innovation. Working with local NHS teams can provide valuable insights and data for technology developers, leading to superior product development that meets actual healthcare needs. Leveraging relationships with NHS Trusts can drive purposeful innovation and enhance the impact of healthtech solutions.

Looking ahead, there are opportunities for the UK healthtech industry to continue growing through pan-regional collaboration and partnerships with knowledge exchange hubs. Government support for entrepreneurial skills in the academic setting can further unlock the potential of academic institutions for commercialization. Investment, infrastructure development, and support for fledgling businesses are essential to ensure that these opportunities are not missed.

In conclusion, overcoming the challenges facing the UK healthtech industry requires collaboration, knowledge sharing, and investment in infrastructure and talent development. By fostering a culture of innovation and inclusivity, the UK can build a thriving healthtech hub and become a global leader in life sciences.


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