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Taking a look at the SIGHT Programme's achievements over the last 18 months

  • 21 May 2021
  • 6 min read
The SIGHT programme - Supporting Innovation and Growth in Healthcare Technologies - is at its half-way point, and despite the challenges brought onto the healthcare and business sectors by the pandemic, celebrates successfully engaging with 250 companies, including nearly 150 as official SIGHT members.

SIGHT is an ERDF-funded programme run by the University of Portsmouth in partnership with Portsmouth Technologies Trials Unit and Wessex CRN. The programme engages with start-ups and SMEs operating in the healthcare technology sector to support their growth through advice and guidance, events, grants and by fostering a dialogue between the entrepreneurs and clinicians and academics. Typically, SMEs find it difficult to navigate the NHS approval process and are unable to verify the usefulness and relevance of their products in a clinical setting after a long way into their development, which means the products may not meet the end users' needs. SIGHT offers the business support and introduces companies to potential users of their products, giving them earlier access to feedback.

The vast majority (90%) of SIGHT members are micro enterprises, with 9 or fewer members of staff, and just over a third are start-ups (less than 12 months old). To date, SIGHT has provided over 1,000 hours of direct business support, and gave away £110k in direct funding awards. According to a recent SIGHT member survey, the programme directly contributed to a creation of 17 new jobs, and safeguarding of 21 posts. As many as 48% of member companies were able to enter or continue a collaboration with a research institution as a result of their SIGHT membership.

The SIGHT Business Development and Programme team have been very collaborative, providing valuable input and ideas that have opened up new themes that we can now consider in our product and customer engagement plan.

SIGHT programme member,

We would not have been able to achieve what we did without SIGHT. Very accessible, knowledgeable and supportive. Have recommended it to numerous other companies

SIGHT programme member,

The pandemic of 2020/21 has demonstrated the urgent need for innovation in healthcare. The SIGHT programme is enabling SMEs and start-ups to make a real impact on the future of healthcare by improving diagnostic techniques, introducing innovative products and developing new ways of gathering and analysing data.

We greatly appreciate the passion for innovation and development of new medical technologies which the SIGHT member companies have displayed during the pandemic. This commitment has led to the trialling of a number of new products and services within Portsmouth University Hospitals NHS Trust which seek to respond to challenges issued by the pandemic. We look forward to providing continued support for these companies as they look to bring these products and services to market.'

Dr Phil Jewell, SIGHT Programme Manager

If this has inspired you to find out more about the programme, please do not hesitate to get in touch via email at SIGHT@port.ac.uk and please do follow us on twitter @SIGHT_programme and visit our YouTube Channel for further information on the SIGHT programme and other initiatives.

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