Heriot-Watt University signs deal with leading industry body to accelerate cutting-edge medical research

Picture of Roddy Scott

Roddy Scott

Heriot-Watt University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) which will see the two collaborate to advance medical research and development.

Working with over 150 academics in the university’s new Global Research Institute in Health and Care Technologies, the ABHI will leverage its existing relationships with both multinational and small and medium sized companies to nurture an industry-wide spirit of co-creation. 


Health and Care Technologies at Heriot-Watt works to turn cutting-edge research into impactful and practical solutions to make a positive impact on peoples’ lives, the NHS and health and care globally, developing research from its campuses in Scotland, Dubai and Malaysia.


The ABHI is the UKs leading industry association for health technology whose members supply products from syringes and wound dressings to surgical robots, diagnostics and digitally enhanced technologies. It represents the industry to stakeholders, such as the government, NHS and regulators.


The MoU will see the two bodies work together to increase the profile of Heriot-Watt as a hub of academic excellence. The collaboration will take a “triple helix” approach, engaging academia, health systems, and industry partners throughout Scotland and the UK with a commitment to understanding the challenges innovators face in HealthTech research and commercialisation, working to identify opportunities to overcome them through supported processes and policy lobbying.


HealthTech plays a key role in supporting delivery of healthcare and is a significant contributor to the UK’s economic growth. The sector is the largest employer in the broader Life Sciences industry, employing 154,000 people in 4,465 companies, with a combined turnover of £34.3bn. The industry has enjoyed growth of around 5% in recent years and the ABHI’s 400 members account for approximately 80% of the sector by value.

Steve McLaughlin, Vice Principal and Provost at Heriot-Watt University said:


“This collaboration is an important step in advancing our global research in health and care technology solutions. We will work together to co-develop research, address regulation, enhance data and insight, while meticulously championing patient privacy and protection.

“The ABHI provides valuable insights into market trends and cross-territory landscapes. By leveraging our combined international connections, we aim to support innovators in accessing global markets and attracting foreign investments to Scotland.


“The mission of our new Global Research Institute in Health and Care Technologies is to collaborate closely with industry and sector partners to deliver innovative, sustainable, and practical solutions to global health challenges. This MoU exemplifies the kind of collaborative approach we want to promote.”


The ABHI recently unveiled its manifesto, The Plan for HealthTech, which articulates a clear and actionable 10-point programme for government. This strategic blueprint is designed to harness the full potential of the sector to benefit patients, clinicians, and the UK economy.


Peter Ellingworth, Chief Executive, ABHI, said:


“Scotland boasts some of the world’s finest universities, and institutions like Heriot-Watt continue to excel across key disciplines like engineering and life sciences, as well as burgeoning areas like quantum technology. Growing HealthTech credentials, like the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre, are helping to translate academic capabilities into HealthTech solutions, and ABHI is well placed to aid in accelerating this journey.


“By fostering such collaborations, we can drive sustainable innovation, enhance patient care, support economic growth, and ensure that groundbreaking technologies reach the market more efficiently.”


Anyone interested in collaborating with the new Health and Care Technologies global research institute at Heriot-Watt University can contact [email protected]

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