28 Mar 2016 Economy Minister praises thriving life science firms in Swansea University’s Institute of Life Science
Economy Minister Edwina Hart has praised the growing life science sector in South West Wales during a visit of Swansea University.
Edwina Hart met with firms based at the Medical School’s Institute of Life Science (ILS) after announcing Wales has attracted £50million of investment from to support innovation and economic growth.
The Minister chose to visit the ILS to mark the record investment figures and met with several highly innovative, technology driven companies who are based at the Singleton Health Campus.
The investment from Innovate UK in the current financial year – is a record figure and brings the total committed to over £100million during the Welsh Government’s current term of office
The ILS-based firms have successfully leveraged over £3million in Innovate UK funding, as well as benefitting from Welsh Government support.
The Minister, who was guided around the Medical School’s ILS by Professor Keith Lloyd and the Centre for Nanohealth by Professor Steve Conlan, said: “Innovation Wales emphasised the need to improve collaboration between businesses, academia and others looking to access UK and EU funding streams.
“Today’s record figures clearly illustrate that this message is getting across and delivering results. In total more than 530 projects have benefited from £50million of Innovate UK funding during the Welsh Government’s current term in office.
“Many of these are SMEs and spin-out companies, while the larger successful examples of collaboration in action include the strategically important ‘big ticket’ announcements like the £50m Compound Semiconductor Catapult. This was achieved by a strong partnership between the Welsh Government, academia and the private sector.
“Innovation Wales also underlined the need to recognise and exploit our strengths and to build on our distinct and genuine areas of excellence identified in Science for Wales.
“Those areas of excellence are now all benefitting from Innovate UK funding and include our priority economic sectors ranging from Life Sciences and Health to Advanced Engineering and Materials.”
The Minister stated that innovation is the key to the future success of the Welsh economy and that in order to grow, Welsh businesses must evolve, and to evolve they must innovate.
The ILS, which is the research arm of the Medical School, is playing a key role in the ARCH Programme.
ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) is a unique partnership between Swansea University and ABMU and Hywel Dda health boards. Through innovation and collaboration, the ARCH partners are working to bring research and innovation together with the NHS to transform the way healthcare is delivered in South West Wales.
ARCH also aims to drive inward investment and create new jobs by supporting the life science cluster which is thriving in this region.
Mrs Hart added: “It is not just about new technologies; it is about successfully applying them to the markets of the future in order to achieve commercial success. Tackling this journey from concept to commercialisation, and to share some of the risk is where Innovate UK and Welsh Government step in.
“Welsh Government and Innovate UK work together to provide support for innovative SMEs with high-growth potential and help innovative companies work with their investors so their ideas can be developed commercially. These successful companies at ILS are benefiting from that support and we will build on the encouraging growth of Welsh success in securing Innovate UK funding.”
Medical School Dean and ARCH board member, Professor Keith Lloyd, said: “The vision for the ILS was to advance medical science through research and innovation for the benefit of human health, and to link those benefits to the economy by encouraging interaction with other organisations in a spirit of open innovation.
“We are currently working towards a strategy which will support the commercialisation of intellectual property (IP) within the NHS in Wales.
“This is an exciting project which, through ARCH, will unlock the innovation taking place in our health boards and support its development to benefit our patients.
“We are proud that our business centre is home to growing band of companies which are benefitting from the Welsh Government support and Innovate UK funding.
“And we were delighted to be able to showcase this ever-growing sector to the Minster during her visit.”
Dr Neil Morgan, of Innovate UK, added: “The ILS is an important centre for the translation of world-class research. The team is fostering innovative young companies and the positive economic impact they can bring.
“Over the past six years Innovate UK has invested more than £50million in over 300 projects in Wales, a number of which are delivered through the ILS and the businesses it works with.
“We look forward to continuing our engagement with the ILS and innovation in the ARCH region in the years to come.”