Medical devices testing and evaluation centre will be game-changer

Medical Devices Testings & Evaluation Centre
MD-TEC will be based within the Institute of Translational Medicine

27 November 2017 

  • New centre will accelerate development of medical innovations to improve patient care
  • Small and medium sized businesses able to test usability of their technology
  • Centre “promises to be a game-changer” in terms of ensuring devices fit for purpose

A new testing and evaluation centre to speed up the development of medical innovations by enabling them to be tested in a realistic environment using real clinical staff, officially opens its doors in Birmingham in January 2018.

Aston University is one of the partners involved in the Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC) which will provide a dedicated facility for small and medium-sized businesses to test and evaluate the usability of their technology without putting patients at risk.

The grand opening on 17 January of MD-TEC - based within the state-of-the-art Institute for Translational Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham - features a tour of the facilities and talks by key staff members, including a keynote speech.

The MD-TEC initiative, which is receiving up to £7.3m from the European Regional Development Fund, will boost the life science economy in the Greater Birmingham area. It’s aim is to accelerate the development of medical innovations by offering a range of support, including med-tech materials, and the facilities include purpose-built replicas of clinical areas such as hospital wards.

It will boost the growing regional reputation for medical device development, including collaboration with the NHS and academia, as well as the commercialisation of devices.

Liam Grover, Professor in Biomaterials Science at the University of Birmingham’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, will lead biomaterials development and Dr Tom Clutton-Brock, Clinical Director of the NIHR Trauma Management Healthcare Technology Co-operative and Deputy Director of the ITM, will lead medical device usability and safety testing.

Professor James Wolffsohn, of Aston University’s Ophthalmic Research Group in the School of Life and Health Sciences, will provide expertise in human senses such as vision and hearing, while Dr Sinziana Popescu will work on the usability testing of medical devices.

Dr Clutton-Brock said: “The new Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre promises to be a game changer, in terms of ensuring medical devices are fit for purpose and successfully reach market faster. Evidence suggests that the majority of device related adverse incidents are user related, so it is crucial that usability testing is included in a device’s technical file.” 

“Many devices undergo significant re-design after introduction into clinical practice, which is very costly to the life sciences industry. The centre will provide a dedicated test facility for med tech companies to test the usability of their technology in a realistic environment, using real clinical staff without placing patients at risk.”

Led by UHB, other key delivery partners are Aston University and University of Birmingham, with Birmingham City University, Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust and the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network as supporting partners.

For more information on MD-TEC, contact Sian Dunning, MD-TEC project manager on 0121 371 8540.


Notes to the editor

European Regional Development Fund:  The MD-TEC project is receiving up to £7.3m of funding from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the managing authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB): Runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and the Heritage Building (the original Queen Elizabeth Hospital) and hosts the Institute of Translational Medicine.

The Trust has approximately 1,400 beds, 32 theatres and a 100-bedded critical care unit - the largest in Europe. It is a regional centre for trauma, burns, plastics, neurosciences and cancer and in 2014 became a lead genomics centre as part of the NHS 100,000 genomes project. UHB also has the largest solid organ transplantation programme in Europe.

UHB hosts the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, a dedicated training for defence personnel and a focus for medical research. UHB also holds the contract for providing medical services to military personnel evacuated from overseas via the aero medical service and is among a small number of hospitals that can provide the full range of medical specialties (trauma, burns, plastics, orthopaedics, neurosurgery, critical care) needed to treat the complex nature of conflict injuries, under one roof. The pioneering techniques in surgery and pain control developed whilst treating military patients are recognised worldwide and are now being used for civilian surgery in the UK and elsewhere.

Aston University:  Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established research-led university known for its world-class teaching quality, and strong links to business and the professions. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston has been a leading university for graduate employment success for over 25 years and our students do extremely well in securing top jobs and careers.  Our strong relationships with industry partners mean we understand the needs of employers, which is why we are also ranked in the top 20 for graduate employability.

The University of Birmingham:  The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.  Tom Clutton-Brock is also senior lecturer at the College of Medical and Dental Sciences.

Institute of Translational Medicine:  The Institute of Translational Medicine has been developed by Birmingham Health Partners, a strategic alliance between the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. The alliance’s mission is to harness research strengths in the university and NHS to deliver better treatments and care to patients.

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