Inviting applications

The University of Bradford has been commissioned by iBridge TT International Limited to organise two Open Innovation Workshops for UK health technology companies wishing to engage with partners in China, to access development funding and to create commercial opportunities in the Chinese market. The workshops will be held between 7th and 13th July 2019, in Tianjin and Guangzhou, on the theme of ‘Technology for Wellness and Healthy Ageing’.

These workshops provide a unique opportunity to build partnerships in China and to secure up to £220,000 funding for arising projects as well as to identify investors and commercial partners. Substantial government and investor follow-on funding is available. The in-country costs of attending the workshop will be principally met by iBridge, who will also provide a travel grant of up to £800 per participating company towards Chinese visa and airfare costs.

The programme is open to small and medium-sized companies, to research and charitable institutions, as well as to clinicians and academics working in the field of wellness and/or ageing, with technology that is near commercialisation or already commercialised outside China.

About the Workshops The focus of the Technology for Wellness and Healthy Ageing Open Innovation Workshops will be on developing and applying technologies to enable healthier lifestyles, to improve quality of life in old age, as well as addressing the societal challenges of an ageing population and the need for remote care. The workshop and arising programme will enable the further development and application of wellness and healthy ageing technology by bringing together wide-ranging functional expertise. The focus will be on creating projects capable of a commercial return (either through sale or out-licensing) inside four years, and will therefore focus more on application of known solutions than on fundamental research.

The workshop is expected to bring together business, clinical and academic scientists typically with access to one or more of the following: population health systems; health engagement technology; wearable and sensor-based health monitoring technologies; telecare solutions; remote diagnostics; application-based technologies supporting longevity in chronic disease; assistive and rehabilitation technologies (e.g. following surgery, cardiovascular events, falls); regenerative technologies; digital or mobile technologies which improve care of elderly patients in domestic, nursing home or hospital settings; cohort and data-mining technologies with proven benefit or potential application to wellness and elderly care. This is not an exhaustive list, ultimately participants in the workshop would be able to demonstrate in advance their ability to contribute technology which can improve well-being, reduce the burden of disease, or increase the quality and/or duration of life.

How do the Workshops work?

  • A workshop has up to £2m of ring-fenced funding assigned by Chinese municipal government and investors, which can be spent on commercial proof of concept projects and commercialisation of existing technology.
  • Typical projects are between £100,000 and £200,000 (grant or investment) initially, before any match funding.
  • There will be approximately 24 participants, up to 12 from the UK and 12 from China. The Chinese organisations will be represented by approximately 60% from large and medium-sized corporations, 20% from start-ups and 20% from leading academic and clinical institutions.
  • Participants work together through a carefully facilitated process (with full translation support) to define commercial projects, which can be expected to deliver some form of financial return (e.g. substantive investment, out-license payment, first contract) within 3-4 years.
  • There is an expectation of sharing of financial returns across UK and China project participants. A 50:50 deal is recommended, but workshop participants may agree a different split if appropriate. The funding panel will only consider applications with a supporting, signed collaborative agreement which defines returns in advance.
  • There is no requirement for match funding from UK partners, but Chinese partners are generally expected to contribute funds to increase project size and double the grant. Chinese partners are well-resourced, and normally do not cost existing staff resource into an application (which increases effective funding available).
  • The workshop forms part of a Chinese government ‘international accelerator’ programme, designed to facilitate and support successful UK commercialisation with Chinese partners, in both China and international markets.
  • This programme provides a unique opportunity for UK SMEs to build a range of government, commercial, clinical and academic relationships with China.
  • The programme places particular emphasis on safeguarding of intellectual property. Supporting legal documentation templates are available (drafted under ‘neutral’ Hong Kong or Singapore law).
  • The programme includes selection of appropriate UK and Chinese partners, pre-departure briefing, running workshops, support to the project application process and follow-up support to approved projects.

What are the costs and obligations? iBridge will contribute £800 towards the cost of travel to China for each of the 12 participants. Local travel, accommodation and workshop attendance costs will be met by our Chinese hosts. Participating organisations will be expected to cover any additional international travel costs (as needed) and minor incidental costs on the trip.

iBridge is investing in the workshop and subsequent programme management activity. This investment from iBridge is ultimately designed to enable advances in healthcare in the UK and China. As part of its mandate for sustainability and growth, iBridge is expected to secure a return on its investment and will therefore expect to take a 7% share of the UK portion of future commercial returns, including but not limited to arising intellectual property from any new project(s) resulting from and within 2 years of participation in the Open Innovation programme. iBridge will make no claim on existing intellectual property or revenues. Typically, future commercial returns can include, but not limited to, product revenues (including license income) from successful development and exploitation of technology, or an equity share of any new company created as a result of the Open Innovation programme.

The application process iBridge will select 12 participating organisations (plus reserves) from submitted applications. Visa invitation letters will then be arranged. Successful applicants will be offered a full pre-departure cultural and programme briefing.

To apply to attend the Open Innovation Workshops in Tianjin and Guangzhou (7th to 13th July 2019) please complete an application form and send it to Wendy Towler w.towler@bradford.ac.uk . Wendy will also be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the programme.