Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, visited the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre (MDMC) at Heriot-Watt University’s Edinburgh campus today.
The state-of-the-art centre brings together engineers, clinicians and business development experts from Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Robert Gordon universities to help medical device developers and manufacturers translate medical device concepts into commercial products.
MDMC’s core services are free of charge to small and medium sized companies, with priority to Scottish small and medium businesses at all times.
The MDMC is an excellent example of the business-boosting projects that the European Regional Development Fund continues to support across Scotland.
The £3.1m centre is jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) managed by Scottish Enterprise, the Edinburgh & South East Scotland City Region Deal, and the four universities.
Mr Lochhead toured MDMC’s manufacturing facilities and spoke about the benefits of ERDF funding to the project team involved in delivering services to SMEs.
He said: “It was fantastic to visit the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre at Heriot-Watt University today, and see for myself the innovative technologies and wide range of support that the team provides to Scotland’s growing health tech sector. The MDMC is an excellent example of the business-boosting projects that the European Regional Development Fund continues to support across Scotland, which is why it was selected for our 2022 case studies booklet.
“The Scottish Government allocated ERDF support to the MDMC via Scottish Enterprise’s Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund, because making Scotland's businesses and public services more productive and innovative is a key ambition of our National Strategy for Economic Transformation. Though the ERDF programme, and its sister European Social Fund programme, sadly come to a close next year, we will do our best to maximise any remaining funding to projects that deliver our aims of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.”
MDMC is featured in a new Scottish Government booklet that celebrates and promotes the achievements in 2022 of Scotland’s European Structural and Investment Funds Programmes – forms of financial assistance provided by the European Commission to Member States since 2014. The ERDF and the European Social Fund (ESF) are the two distinct strands of the European Structural and Investment Funds, which aim to strengthen economic and social cohesion by correcting imbalances between regions.
Professor Duncan Hand, MDMC Director at Heriot-Watt’s School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, where MDMC is based, said: “Since we opened MDMC in 2020, the centre has engaged with more than 100 small and medium-sized businesses through events and supported 28 SMEs to date.
“We’ve also delivered 11 Knowledge Transfer webinars and two four-day courses on medical device regulations – so we’re already making a difference to Scottish companies who are driving innovation in the medical devices market.”
Suzanne Sosna, Economic Opportunities Director at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Scotland has the academic excellence, the world-class talent and the expertise in engineering, medicine and clinical practice to become a hub of med tech manufacturing, with the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre key to realising this vision.
“It's hugely encouraging to see the centre already helping Scottish medical device innovators translate their concepts into commercial products, and we look forward to seeing this momentum continue to build.”
MDMC offers expert advice on manufacturing, engineering, regulatory issues and funding, coupled with technically supported access to specialist manufacturing facilities. These include 3D printing, injection moulding, scanning, laser cutting and welding, machining, sterilisation and environmental testing equipment.
Scottish companies that have benefitted from MDMC’s expertise and facilities include MR Coiltech, a Glasgow-based company that custom builds antennae components for medical imaging research and Softcell Medical, an Edinburgh-based company that has invented a novel system to monitor pH – the acidity or alkalinity of a solution.
Other MDMC clients include See Vac, based in Glasgow, an early-stage medical device company that has developed an innovative, combined dental viewing and suction device.
Louise Kennedy, See Vac Founder, said: “The comprehensive manufacturing services provided by MDMC are normally out of reach for early-stage businesses - in the case of See Vac, we have been able to proceed to injection moulding of our novel multifunctional dental suction device, ready for large scale manufacture. We have also benefited from expert advice on medical device regulatory approval, all of which helps to de-risk our pathway to commercialisation.”