What is Accelerate?

Accelerate is a pioneering collaboration between Welsh universities and the Life Science Hub Wales. It helps translate innovative ideas into new technology, products, and services for the health and care sector, quickly.

Why was Accelerate created?

The Accelerate programme was set up to help enterprises in Wales turn their innovative ideas into solutions that can be adopted into health and care. The life sciences sector is big in Wales, employing around 11,000 people in over 350 companies and contributing around £2bn to the Welsh economy every year; for a small country, Wales has lots of innovation to offer.

Our partners recognise that by supporting the Welsh life sciences industry to push and develop this innovation, we’ll be able to pull it through into the NHS – where it’s most needed – and start making a tangible difference.

Who can work with Accelerate?

We work with enterprises of all shapes and sizes who are developing healthcare innovations that will benefit patients, improve NHS Wales, and boost the Welsh economy. The programme is flexible, and applications can be submitted by academics, industry partners, or clinicians. There’s no project minimum or maximum size.

What criteria needs to be met to work with Accelerate?

The following criteria needs to be met if you are to collaborate with Accelerate. If you have any questions about any of these areas, please get in touch  by emailing accelerate@lshubwales.com.

  • An enterprise must be involved in your project – whether you’re the enterprise yourself, or whether you’re a governmental body or university that’s collaborating with one
  • Your innovation must be research-oriented, focusing on benefiting health and care. It could be a new technology, product, process, or service – from diagnostics and medical devices, to therapeutics or enabling technologies, apps, and algorithms
  • A Welsh enterprise must be involved in the project – whether you’re the enterprise yourself, or a governmental body or university that’s collaborating with one. If you’re not already working with a Welsh enterprise, you could think about creating a new one, or opening some offices in Wales. The impact of the innovation on the Welsh economy should be clear – whether that’s creating new jobs, introducing new products, or creating new ways of working
  • Our work together must be a true collaboration. This means we’ll expect your contribution – whether that’s funds, equipment, knowledge, or human resource – to match ours

Who is involved in Accelerate?

Accelerate is a partnership between four organisations, each of which has unique expertise. Our partners can help you tackle a wide range of research and development challenges.

  • The Life Sciences Hub Wales – has a strategic oversight role. It has extensive knowledge of the challenges and needs of health and care services in Wales and provides links with the broader Welsh life sciences ecosystem.
  • Cardiff University’s Clinical Innovation Accelerator – based at the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, CIA has many connections within the hospital, to doctors, patients, and clinical researchers. It can help innovators access, and work with, these resources.
  • University of Wales Trinity St David’s Assistive Technologies Innovation Centre – has extensive resources in product design and user experience and insight, including assistive technology, user-centred design, and psychological analysis.
  • Swansea University’s Health Technology Centre – has wet lab capabilities, from cell biology to nanotechnology, as well as a data scientist, and strong links throughout the ecosystem of researchers at Swansea University.

Is there funding available/can Accelerate fund my project?

Accelerate does not offer funding or grants. Instead, the programme focuses on supporting collaborative research, development, and innovation, aided by a team of specialist colleagues.

Accelerate offers access to the academic expertise, in-depth understanding of the life sciences eco-system, and cutting-edge facilities that innovators and entrepreneurs need to get their idea off the ground.

How can Accelerate help me?

Our four partner organisations have the depth and breadth of expertise to help you develop your innovation. We can support you in the way that suits you best, and we’re flexible with our approach. You might benefit from:

  • Help identifying Research and Development Collaborations – with an industry, academic, or clinical partner
  • Human Resource – the opportunity to work with experts in project scoping and technology transfer, research and development, user experience, product design, and clinical engagement
  • Clinical input – working with NHS Wales to enhance your research and development
  • Advice and guidance – access to a multidisciplinary team of experts in a range of spheres
  • Access – to leading Welsh Universities, University Health Boards and Trusts, patients, facilities, personnel, and wider connections across the life sciences sector
  • Help navigating the life sciences support ecosystem.

How do I apply for Accelerate?

The first step in applying for Accelerate is to contact us by email accelerate@lshubwales.com. We’ll then arrange to talk with you in person or on the phone to understand whether Accelerate is the best fit for you. In this initial conversation, please be prepared to talk about the following:

  • Your idea and the problem you’re trying to solve
  • The challenges you’re facing in developing this idea
  • An overview of your progress to date.
  1. Stage 1: If Accelerate is the best fit for you, we’ll work with you to explore how we might be able to help you develop your innovation and which partner (or partners) are best placed to support you. At this stage, we’ll work with you to prepare a Project Scoping document which is reviewed by our multi-disciplinary team for recommendations and input to strengthen the project.
  2. Stage 2: Following this review, we’ll work with you to develop a Project Plan which is reviewed by our Accelerate Management Group for approval.  

We’ll work closely with you throughout the process, planning your project/collaboration to maximise the clinical and economic benefits, and we’ll always be on hand if you have any questions.

How long is Accelerate running for?

The Accelerate programme is currently funded until March 2021.

How does Accelerate benefit Wales?

By collaborating within Accelerate, clinicians, industry, and academia can work together to address health challenges and open up opportunities to address them, through innovation. Our ultimate goal is to bring positive economic impact to Wales.

Accelerate allows innovators to test, iterate, and refine viable solutions in an agile way – in real life scenarios – working alongside clinicians and healthcare professionals to give them the best chance of success. The programme is an all-Wales ‘front door’ for innovation and engagement. It develops real world ideas to create innovative solutions, new intellectual property, and new jobs, as well as attracting private investment.

Accelerate uses innovation cleverly: accelerating the improvement of both the health, and wealth, of Wales – now, and in the future.

Can I work with more than one Accelerate partner?

Yes. Lots of projects that come through the programme involve more than one of our partners.

How many projects can I work with Accelerate on?

There’s no technical limit to how many projects you can work with Accelerate on – but you’ll need to engage with our Innovation Team to look at how we can work together to tackle clinical or healthcare problems through your ideas.

I’m currently not based in Wales, can I work with Accelerate?

To work with Accelerate, your project must have a clear, beneficial impact on the Welsh economy and/or Welsh health services. If you’d like to work with Accelerate, you’ll need to open a base in Wales – creating jobs, offering investment, and demonstrating a lasting commitment to supporting the Welsh economy. 

I’m already collaborating with Cardiff/ Swansea / UWTSD on a grant funded project – am I eligible for Accelerate consideration?

You may be. Let our Innovation Managers know of any existing funding or collaborations that you’re part of, as projects can complement one another nicely. This applies to any funding or collaborations you’re involved in – not just those partnered with Accelerate.

What is the limit of funding available through Accelerate?

There’s no ‘limit’ to the support that you could receive through Accelerate, but a true collaboration will be determined by how much both sides put in – and the outcome we expect from your project.

We’re an ERDF part-funded project, so it’s essential that there are clear, valuable outcomes and long-term impact to any project we support. You can discuss this with our Innovation team.

Can Accelerate help me with market research for my idea/ IP advice/ bid development?

We’re not market research experts, and we don’t offer advice on Intellectual Property or developing bids. But, we’ve got lots of contacts, and can point you in the right direction of organisations who might be able to help.

I work with the NHS and have an idea for a project, but don’t know how to find a company to support me in development. Should I approach Accelerate?

Yes. We may be able to connect you with an enterprise that has an innovative solution to the challenge you’re facing, or give you advice about whether anyone is working on a similar project already. Get in touch, and we’ll see what we can do.