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A secondment? The chance to access a unique experience – Dr Elena Mancuso

Date published: 29/06/17

Dr Elena Mancuso talks about her unique experience

A secondment? The chance to access a unique experience – Dr Elena Mancuso

  • Current Organisation: University of Leeds
  • Current Position: Medical Technologies Research Fellow
  • Secondment organisation: Medipex

Expanding my current knowledge and professional network

My name is Elena Mancuso and I am a Research Fellow within the IMPRESS (Incontinence-Management-and-Prevention-through-Engineering-and-Sciences) network at the University of Leeds.

As medical technology researcher, my mission is to use my expertise in material science and engineering technology to create, disseminate and apply knowledge to: (1) inspire novel ideas for next generation treatments, (2) improve healthcare policy and (3) improve people’s quality of life.

Within IMPRESS I primarily focus my research on developing new technologies and novel engineering solutions for managing and treating incontinence and incontinence-related problems. I have decided to apply for a secondment through the Translate:Me Programme because I believe this could give me the opportunity to expand my current knowledge about the healthcare product innovation cycle, and translate my research insights into effective and commercial solutions.

My secondment will take place at Medipex (Thorpe Park, Leeds). Medipex is a healthcare innovation hub, which, by working closely with the NHS, industry and academia, aims to improve patient care.

Through Medipex’s excellent industry contacts, track record in commercialising healthcare products and expertise in knowledge transfer I will accelerate translation of my research toward a medical product. The placement will help to further improve my professional network and play a major role in expanding my research breadth and impact. It will help me identify suitable NHS clinicians, industry contacts and scientists to work with and support the correct management of any IP aspect by ensuring that appropriate agreements are in place.

Finally, I hope that my Medipex secondment will enable me to build successful academic-industrial-clinical partnerships. This in turn will help me to deliver products in readiness for future clinical studies and out-licensing to companies, especially those that are aimed at the niche market of incontinence; and ultimately helping foster UK economic competitiveness.

My role

My role as Research Fellow at the University of Leeds mainly involves applied research activities. My working day is usually based around experimental research in the lab, undertaking technical training and supervising the student project progression, this is complemented with further academic tasks, such as analysing results, reading scientific papers and writing academic reports.

My secondment at Medipex

I am working with a Senior Innovation Manager,shadowing her daily activities reviewing and evaluating new entry projects as well as meeting with existing members and developing a network of contacts within NHS departments and clinical teams.

The University of Leeds and Medipex Innovation Hub are organisations delivering very different activities, but equally important to ensure success and innovation within the medical technology field. They operate by sharing the same main goal, which is the improvement of services and practice in the healthcare sector. By working closely with the Senior Innovation Manager I have the opportunity to advance my experience in project review and evaluation and understand the specific skills required to succeed in the Innovation Manager role.

My role as a researcher will benefit as a result of this secondment as it is providing new insights on how to facilitate the translate processes from the laboratory into a commercial available product.

I am now looking forward to engaging with other members of the Medipex team and familiarising myself with aspects related to the management of IP with regards to medical devices, including patenting, copyright, trademark and design registration. I am also looking forward to understanding more about the development of prototype business plans in support of commercial exploitation.

A few weeks have been enough to teach me how important is to conceive an idea that can benefit people care, but it is even more important exploring and exploiting it towards its progressive implementation.