Bridging the “third translational gap” between industry and academia, and creating a strong innovation culture at Newcastle University for industry-driven research

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Technical Summary

The MRC Proximity to Discovery scheme awards universities funds to help develop new collaborations, and ways of exchanging knowledge and skills. The awards can be used to support activities that promote the value of academic-industry partnership, and enhance academic and industry researchers’ understanding of each other’s needs and capabilities. This may be through people exchanges, creation of technology demonstrators, showcase events, commercialisation workshops and ‘entrepreneurs in residence’ schemes. Such exchanges of knowledge and skills will boost the most fruitful collaborations between UK universities and life science companies.


10 25 50
Description Development of a prototype medical device and consumable for organ persufflation / Incoming placement (Dr Bill Scott) 
Organisation Cambridge Medtech Solutions Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This is a collaboration between Newcastle University, NuTH, and Cambridge Medtech Solutions Ltd. Working with an interdisciplinary team of academics, clinicians and clinical engineers, this project aims to develop a prototype medical device (and associated consumables) for hypothermic oxygen persufflation of donor organs. The device limits ischemia-related damage extending clinically-relevant organ preservation times and providing better patient outcomes post-transplantation. It has been designed as a multi-organ platform which will be automated and easily transportable reducing costs and logistical considerations associated with current in-market technologies. It has the potential to revolutionise the way that organs are selected, prepared and transported for human transplant procedures. This project builds on 4 patent-applications owned by Newcastle University in relation to this technology. It is very timely, and the opportunities for commercial exploitation if the project is successful are vast. Mr Kay
Collaborator Contribution Mr Kay of Cambridge Medical Solutions, the commercial partner / co-inventor on the project (Cambridge Medical Solutions) took part in an incoming placement, to formally be embedded in Dr Scott's team to develop greater understanding of the commercial aspects of the invention and to ensure the best possible route to market / clinical trial. He has extensive experience of developing medical prototypes and taking them to market.
Impact the project is still ongoing.
Start Year 2018
Description Meeting with Astarte Medical to develop a relationship around microbiome sequencing (Dr Chris Stewart) 
Organisation Astarte Medical
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This project sought to initiate a new academic-industry collaboration with Astarte Medical. Dr Chris Stewart is an early career researcher (Marie Curie Fellow) trying to gain independence and build networks. These activities will directly enhance the applicant's current research projects as well as build wider international collaboration networks for on-going and future work. The sequencing of additional samples would only serve to improve the impact of resulting publications. The planned trip would also facilitate the applicant in his continued efforts to pioneer a recognised microbiome programme within Newcastle University. Additionally, as microbiome science is increasingly recognised as a pivotal area across clinical research, increased knowledge and capacity of the applicant will directly benefit Newcastle University as a whole.
Collaborator Contribution Astarte Medical, a medical software development start-up based in Boston, are seeking to develop a machine learning algorithm for predicting the risk of disease in preterm infants based on microbiome sequencing and medical metadata.
Impact discussions are ongoing. As the relationship develops, it will be covered by a formal agreement, particularly if it is agreed to share samples with them.
Start Year 2018
Description NU Innovates Elevator Pitch Training and P2D "Dragon's Den" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact to support high-quality, innovative projects from those at the start of their academic careers. We hosted two NU Innovates training sessions - How to give an Elevator Pitch and Sell Your Research Ideas facilitated by Dr Dave Simpson, CEO of a spin out company who has extensive experience in pitching for, and winning funding for his company, and of negotiating with industry.
Those that attended were invited to submit an executive summary (max. 300 words) outlining their ideas, and pitch to the Proximity to Discovery panel. Ideas will then be worked up to fully costed proposals with a team comprising of a Business Development Manager, an academic mentor and the Programme Manager.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018