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CeNTech partner in EU INTERREG Project MATMED

February 2019

Advanced materials may have a significant impact on the development of new innovative products within the medical sector, but the commercialization of these materials faces many challenges. The project MATMED is going to address these issues across the 8 regions Greater Manchester (UK), Gelderland, Overijssel, Limburg (NL), Münster, Köln (DE), East Flanders & Flemish Brabant (BE). The Interreg NWE program supports the project MATMED with up to 1,78 Million Euro.

The North-West Europe (NWE) region has monothematic clusters focused on advanced materials, regenerative medicine or medical devices, which are recognised in RIS3 Strategies as part of Smart Specialisation. However, many advanced materials innovations with medical market potential (e.g. via 3D printing, nanotech coatings & biodegradable polymers) occurring at the crossroads of these disciplines fail to get adopted or are slow to enter the market and thus cannot offer solutions for the aging NWE population. Barriers to the take up of these specific type of crossover innovations include: 1) SMEs and other stakeholders are poorly networked between themes and regions; 2) Incomplete availability/awareness of testing/characterisation infrastructure for scale up within and across regions; 3) Long investment-to-financial-return cycles and difficulty to raise risk capital; 4) Changing regulatory framework for Medical Devices in the EU with strong requirements on health safety testing and materials characterisation. As a result, SMEs active in these sectors are less competitive than they otherwise could be. MATMED addresses these issues across 8 NUTS2 regions: Greater Manchester (UK), Gelderland, Overijssel, Limburg (NL), Münster, Köln (DE), East Flanders & Flemish Brabant (BE). MATMED will run a web-based open innovation and learning platform between regions to connect SMEs with researchers, specialised private investors and each other beyond their own regional networks. A multi-stage voucher scheme will facilitate at least 40+ transnational collaborations, 20+ products reaching technology validation (TRL 4-5) and 10+ reaching technology demonstration phase (TRL 6-7), attracting at least €5M of additional funding from private investors to help innovative solutions reach the market. The sustainability of the matchmaking & pilot testing facilities and the brokerage network is ensured by sustained local support combined with member contributions.

 

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