A Charnwood Campus Cluster event, part of a series of events to support the growth and success of the life science organisations clustered around Charnwood Campus Science, Innovation and Technology Park.

Over 100 business leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, and stakeholders gathered at Charnwood Campus to hear how our successful local business are innovating to drive business productivity, as part of the 2023 Leicestershire Innovation Festival.  The talks covered a wide and varied range of evidence-based innovations that have been deployed to improve business resilience and productivity; from supporting employee mental health, delivering innovations to improve patient wellbeing and improve NHS productivity, to business planning process changes and the importance of intellectual property protection. Proceeding were expertly Chaired by Prof Dean Fathers who bring a wealth of experience from the NHS, academia and the life sciences business sector and our Keynote Speaker, Charlotte Horobin, MAKE UK, discussed the current manufacturing challenges and opportunities and the help and advice available to future proof business growth.  Delegates also were able to join a networking lunch and exhibits from local life sciences companies, curtesy of our headline sponsor Weiss Technik UK, a Loughborough based company, who are world leaders for environmental simulation systems and leading in heat technology, climate technology and pharmaceutical systems.

Gosia Khrais, Commercial Director at Charnwood Campus said: “Today’s event addressing innovation, resilience and the levers that our local leaders have used to improve their business productivity has been very welcomed by our cluster companies. This event is part of the Charnwood Campus Cluster Support Package that the Campus Team developed around 4 pillars: Skills, Leadership, NHS and Academia Collaboration and Cluster Support Events, and to have over 100 delegates join us, highlights the power and value that clustering brings through increasing opportunities for our local companies to become inspired, embrace innovation, capable of building resilient and scalable business. The Campus is looking forward to seeing how the cluster grows and matures over the next few years to help the UK become a life sciences superpower”.

Prof Dean Fathers, Centre for Organisational Resilience, University of Lincoln, said: “The UK is a leader in the global ‘Medical and Life Science’ sector, so the need for Midlands businesses to continue to build and develop resilient capacity and capability, so as to remain competitive and vital, has never been so crucial. Being able to come together and share expertise and experience within the cluster is essential for the growth of the Midlands ”.

Charlotte Horobin, Regional Director Midlands and East of England, Make UK, said: “Manufacturing is responsible for 2/3rds of business R&D in the UK. Make UK is a proud member of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Innovation Board and boasts a strong heritage in Leicester. There are many headwinds facing our manufacturing sector, however actions to boost productivity and innovate further will go a long way to maintaining our competitiveness”.

Malcolm Youll, Managing Director of Weiss Technik, said: “Weiss Technik is a world leading company in environmental simulation technology, however being able to share our story of IP theft and lessons learnt has hopefully been extremely useful for our cluster companies, it is something that I hope no person in the room has to go through. Being able to protect your IP in a life sciences business is essential and hopefully by sharing some simple steps we have taken will help our cluster companies improve their innovation and resilience”.

Michael Watts, Co-founder and CEO Blum Health Ltd, said: “As an SME founder, it is often hard to predict the hurdles and barriers that you will face. But what you can do is learn from those around you, and by hearing their stories you will gain more insights into your organisational context, and the opportunities and threats that might await. I have a particular interest in the complexities of the UK NHS, and it is a typical example of where some of the barriers to procurement might be faced. This conference is a great opportunity for us to share our research and first-hand accounts of the highs and lows of business, but more importantly identify how to establish sustainability in an ever-changing environment and economy”.

Jennifer Turner, Physiotherapist and Innovator, Director of JT Rehab Ltd. said “As an SME and soul founder working to develop a healthcare innovation, you need a great deal of resilience and tenacity to succeed.  It has been great to speak with other SMEs, institutions and likeminded businesses and understand more about the national and local systems and strategies that are there to help SMEs like JT Rehab survive and thrive”.

Daniel Kumar, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, NIHR Clinical Research Network “NIHR CRN East Midlands is proud to work with a wide range of partners to deliver research across the region, and we are always looking to increase the scale and breadth of research so that even more people can take part. We are excited by the enthusiasm for research within our area and look forward to developing ties with new organisations to harness our collective potential so that together we can put research at the very heart of the East Midlands.”

Sally Newham, Director, Centre for Organisational Resilience, Project Manager MHPP, Lincoln International Business School, said “Today was such a great opportunity for organisations to come together and explore ways in which, together, we can enhance and improve resilience, innovation, productivity, and the workplace wellbeing of our teams. We know that great employers invest time to ensure they have the best, research-informed approaches to mental wellbeing for themselves and those they work with. I was delighted to talk to many employers here today, putting the Charnwood Campus Cluster at the heart of making the UK life sciences an even better workplace”.