News Research and development event encourages collaboration

Research and development event encourages collaboration    image

The first ever research and development event at Maidstone Innovation Centre (MIC) was a huge success with many specialist businesses sharing new ideas and gaining valuable insights into future technology.

Part of the Kent Medical Campus, MIC is aimed at businesses working in the life science, healthcare and medical sectors. The event was created to act as the catalyst for new collaboration opportunities and encourage the sharing of information between companies and academics.

Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) and partners; Barclays Eagle Labs, Innovate UK Edge, Burtons Medical, SEHTA and NCL Technology Ventures partnered with MIC and provided workshops and networking opportunities.

As the centre heads towards celebrating its first birthday, this event helped establish the MIC vision, offering a hub for collaboration, support, investment and funding opportunities between entrepreneurs, SME’s and academics.

Leader of Maidstone Borough Council, Cllr David Burton

“The event was about turning research and development into commercial projects in the business capital of Kent.

It is vital we do all we can to improve research and development and encourage the next generation to embrace the industry, creating in them a desire to work within it. We need to be continually moving ideas forward and by working together we can really make this happen.”

The CCCU saw the event as a great opportunity to encourage businesses to use their expertise, specialist equipment and facilities, which in turn give the students fantastic opportunities to develop.

Abbie Kempe Director of Enterprise and Engagement Research, Enterprise and Business Development at CCCU said:

“Our PhD students work on real life projects and create solutions for everyday issues. Using a range of techniques and methodologies, we provide them challenges our business partners need solving. We are very proud of the work they do. "

Two students from the university were demonstrating their work with a 3D scanner, which uses human tissue and patient information to create skin for skin grafts or hip replacements.

Abbie continues:

“Our students and academics also work very closely with Venomtech a business based in Sandwich, who use venom from poisonous creatures such as tarantulas, our students use these venom components to develop potential medical treatments, including cancer.”

XT Biomed are based in the MIC and are developing products for the medical industry. They were demonstrating a prototype of a PCR test which can test for flu and infectious diseases, once developed it will be used in hospitals and doctors surgeries without the need to have a swab taken to a lab.

Engineer James Knight said:

“We take a sketch or simply an idea someone has and take it all the way through to a product. We have created lots of other medical products, lab and surgical equipment.”

David Burton is also the Chairman of Burtons Group, based in Marden, who have been manufacturing medical equipment for the veterinary sector for more than 40 years. They took various pieces of equipment to the event, including a ventilator for horses used while they are under anaesthetic. David added:

“We are constantly developing new products, so for us this event was about understanding how we can grow within the industry.
“The event has demonstrated how vital research and development work can be adopted to accelerate businesses in the commercial landscape of MedTech, Life Science and Healthcare.

”The Maidstone Innovation Centre offers the best in terms of facilities, support and expertise. It is a fantastic business asset to Maidstone and this event demonstrates that Maidstone is the business capital of Kent and very much open for business.”

Maidstone Innovation Centre is a Maidstone Borough Council initiative, which was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020 and offers state of the art facilities with flexible working space, offices, meeting rooms and conference facilities. Part of the Kent Medical Campus, it is aimed at businesses working in the life science, healthcare and medical sectors.

To find out more about the Maidstone Innovation Centre, please go to the website and social media or email:

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