UMCG, RUG and regional industries secure substantial grant for cross-collaboration in MedTech

We are thrilled to announce a significant milestone in the field of personalized medical implants: the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG), in collaboration with the ENTEG Institute of the Faculty of Sciences and Engineering of the University of Groningen, and regional companies WiTEC Innovating Together, Bether Encapsulates, BAAT Medical and PolyVation, have secured a substantial 3.7 MLN EUR regional grant from the Just Transition Fund (JTF) to start the program iMPaCT-implants.

Impact implants

At the core of the iMPaCT-implants project lies a vision: to create a new generation of personalized implants. Building on the foundation of the former Open Innovation Personalized Implants Ecosystem, iMPaCT-implants represents a crucial step towards market readiness with a special focus on addressing the needs of stakeholders and deliver custom solutions to patients. 
This innovative initiative harnesses the potential of cutting-edge digital technology, including 3D imaging, and integrates patient-specific data such as bite force, walking patterns, and other movements. Therefore, this consortium aspires to set a standard for medical implants within the European Union, making implant solutions a reality for patients.

The Power of Collaborative Expertise

The iMPaCT-implants consortium is a testament to the impact of collaboration. It brings together regional partners from healthcare, academia, and the industrial sector. UMCG, and the University of Groningen, renowned for their expertise in clinical treatments, digital imaging techniques, materials science, and 3D-planning and design, spearhead the clinical and research aspects. Regional industrial leaders, WiTEC Innovating Together and BAAT Medical bring their wealth of experience in manufacturing medical devices and in product certification. Bether Encapsulates specialises in controlled release of active compounds, while PolyVation’s strength is in development and manufacturing of polymers. The UMCG Innovation centre will be involved in program management, knowledge transfer and implementation.

Advancing Medical Implant Innovation

iMPaCT-implants, which a total project size of 7.3 MLN EUR, embarks on a multifaceted journey with six interconnected research lines, each addressing critical aspects of medical implant innovation. The program will optimize implant design workflows and innovate the next generation of individualized 3D-designed devices, including knee, airway, wrist and jaw implants for complex bone defects and fractures. In addition to that, two subprojects will focus respectively on research and development of efficient computational frameworks for patient-specific implants, as well as work on strategies to enhance the infection-resistant properties of medical devices.

The Just Transition Fund

The Just Transition Fund provides essential support, advancing the green and sustainable development of the Drenthe, Groningen, and Fryslân Provinces, the Municipality of Emmen, and the Northern Labour Market regions. The fund is co-financed by the European Union and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and is made available by the regional funding agency Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland (SNN), with support from the Province and Municipality of Groningen.

An Innovative Future with iMPaCT-Implants

This grant signifies a monumental step towards a healthier and more innovative future, and the iMPaCT-implants consortium is determined to drive this vision forward.

Joep Kraeima, head of the UMCG 3DLab and one of the program initiators states: "With iMPaCT-implants, we aim to realize a new generation of patient specific solutions and implants. These implants have a more data-driven design and include individual biomechanical characteristics. This leads to improved outcome for both patient and surgeon. The aim is to provide personalised solutions from head-to-toe and in the entire north of the Netherlands. This project is an example of what the province of Groningen and the North of the Netherlands has to offer in terms of state-of-the-art innovative healthcare solutions. We believe that this model, as build by our consortium can, with our support, be extrapolated to other regions in the Netherlands or abroad leading to even more patients treated with the iMPaCT-implants method".

About the consortium partners

The iMPaCT-implants consortium is composed of regional partners from the clinic, the university and the industrial sector.
Significant contribution is provided from the industrial sector by the regional companies of WiTEC Innovating Together, specialized in the manufacturing of medical devices, BAAT Medical with expertise on the process for  concept development to product certification, clinical evaluation and manufacturing, and Bether Encapsulates, which specialised in encapsulation technology for controlled release of active compounds. The company PolyVation, as non-beneficiary partner, also joins with their expertise in customized synthesis and manufacturing of biomedical and pharmaceutical polymers.

UMCG and RUG bring invaluable knowledge in the field of clinical treatments, digital imaging techniques and materials and design. UMCG, as the program coordinator, is involved with the clinical and research Departments of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and 3DLab with the groups led by Prof. Max Witjes and Ass. Prof. Joep Kraeima together with the teams of Dr. Frank IJpma from Trauma Surgery and Prof. Paul Jutte from Orthopaedics.
The Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery Department is represented by Ass. Prof. Gyuri Halmos together with Dr. Jasper Wachters. From the Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Prof. Dirk-Jan Slebos is involved. From the field of biomaterial science, the group of Ass. Prof. Patrick van Rijn from Biomedical Engineering will work together with Dr. Martijn Verhagen, UMCG radiologist.
From the University of Groningen, the Engineering and Technology Institute (ENTEG) from the Faculty of Sciences and Engineering is represented by the group led by Asst. Prof. Anastasiia Krushynska.

About UMCG Innovation Centre 

The UMCG Innovation Centre is the researchers’ starting point for healthcare innovation, offering expertise and a wide network of partners. The Innovation Centre guides projects and helps to create societal impact through various means which include implementation, education, startups, research, and innovation communities. The UMCG Innovation Centre will be involved in the program management and in knowledge transfer for the iMPaCT-implants program.  

More information about the program, the partners and the projects will be released in the coming weeks. For any question, please contact Dr. Elena Merlo, program manager at [email protected]