The NIHR has appointed a MedTech Industry Engagement Adviser to help optimise collaborations and champion opportunities for small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) as part of support for the growing medtech sector.

Martin Hunt, a member of the NIHR Strategy Board who was the first Director of NIHR’s Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme from 2009 until March 2021, has been appointed to the specialist role.

Martin has held senior roles in several MedTech companies during more than 30 years working in the life sciences industry. A former chief executive of Tissue Science Laboratories (TSL), he helped build the company from a start-up into an international business floated on the London Stock Exchange. Since TSL was sold in 2008, Martin has acted as a Chairman, non-executive director, investor and mentor to a wide range of dynamic companies in the UK and Europe.

Martin said: “I have been very fortunate to have worked across the MedTech sector in a variety of roles, including large multinationals and SMEs. I firmly believe that novel and innovative technologies will contribute significantly to the ability of the health and care sector to meet the multitude of challenges it faces.

“SMEs play a key role in this landscape, not only as innovators but also as important contributors to the economy, and I am excited about the opportunity to forge further partnerships and collaborations between MedTech companies and the NIHR to address the health and wealth of the nation.”

A key focus of the NIHR is to support SMEs by providing access to expertise, clinical trial management and funding. This will enable them to design and carry out high quality research to provide evidence of feasibility, safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of interventions, bringing benefit to patients and supporting growth in the life sciences industry.