Med-Tech CONNECT West Midlands (COllaborative Network to eNable and Enhance Cross-sector Transformation)

CONNECT brings together a range of partners - local industry; civic leadership; multi-disciplinary academic and clinical expertise; the Manufacturing Technology Centre and medical technologies industry bodies; as well as patients and citizens – to tackle major challenges to the economic growth of the medical technologies sector within the West Midlands.

Medical technology concept image with doctor and molecular structuresTogether, we aim to deliver one of the key ambitions articulated in the West Midlands Industrial Strategy (the UK’s first Local Industrial Strategy), delivering innovation-led regional growth across the West Midlands region in medical technologies (Med-Tech), covering a broad spectrum of frontier technologies from advanced therapies, digital health and diagnostics through to classical devices.

CONNECT is specifically designed to tackle the West Midlands’ Med-Tech productivity challenge – that our relative abundance of locally-based Med-Tech SMEs does not translate to equivalently competitive employment or turnover across the region.Medical technology concept image with para-athlete and digital informationExtensive discussions with  over 100 regional companies have identified, tested and refined 11 critical challenges to Med-Tech business success/growth:

  1. Inefficient access to NHS expertise, patients/users and “innovation-ready” datasets
  2. Complex, confusing, rapidly-evolving (inter)national regulatory landscape
  3. Adoption of products in national (NHS) and international markets
  4. Timely access to innovation expertise/infrastructure/literature (academic/technological/industrial)
  5. Capability/capacity to respond to emerging market opportunities e.g. digital innovation
  6. Cost-effective prototyping (availability/cost of appropriate facilities/expertise prohibitive)
  7. Initial small-scale manufacture of novel Med-Tech products not currently locally-available
  8. Talent pool not of sufficient scale/diversity/readiness to enable/sustain growth
  9. Uncoordinated approach to private sector investment
  10. Limited co-location opportunities for critical mass of expertise/facilities to enable collaboration
  11. Lack of streamlined support identifying/accessing service sectors e.g. legal/IP/financial advice

By bringing together the partners, assets and expertise to directly address these challenges, CONNECT will foster a distinctive regional Med-Tech cluster, nurturing the growth and diversification of a substantial existing industry base – as well as leveraging relevant other industry strengths and supply chains in manufacturing and digital and enabling these to diversify – and catalysing creation of innovative new businesses.

Concept image of network of connection points

Working together with the economic modelling team within CityREDI, we project our collaborative programme will deliver additional GVA generation of £78.5million to the region, plus additional £33.5million GVA created through matched funding, creating 348 direct jobs and 870 indirectly, and safeguarding an additional 250 regional jobs.

News and updates


CONNECT has three key objectives:

  1. Productivity: Enabling well-networked, efficient and effective supply chains by integrating outstanding regional research and innovation expertise, assets (facilities/data/resources) and businesses within our currently-fragmented ecosystem to tackle our industry-led challenges via a unified ‘front-door’.
  2. Inclusivity: Leveraging strong multi-stakeholder relationships across industry, academics, clinicians, patients, citizens and policy leaders to co-create future products; develop and deliver novel multi-sector training programmes to foster talent and upskill each of these groups; and make a critical mass of local research and innovation strength accessible across a wider regional cluster.
  3. Sustainability: Utilise a novel partnership between the region’s outstanding engineering and clinical strengths with its excellent business schools and civic leadership to identify how activities and investment directly drive local growth, building a robust evidence base for future investment and policy change.

Evidence base and further information

  • CONNECT programme overview
  • West Midlands MedTech Sector Analysis (Hatch Regeneris)
  • In-depth industry survey report (Medilink)
  • Healthcare Technology Institute SME engagement event report
  • Economic Modelling overview (CityREDI) (.docx)

Presently our evidence base documents do not confirm to the WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standards, therefore cannot be uploaded, if you wish to view any of these documents please contact Michelle at who will share the relevant information.