Diagnostics and Technology Accelerator

PLEASE NOTE: The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) HealthTech Research Centre in Emergency and Acute Care, hosted by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) launched in April 2024 and will replace MFT’s Diagnostics and Technology Accelerator (DiTA).

The HRC in Emergency and Acute Care will ensure state-of-the-art technologies and innovations are assisting our clinicians to diagnose diseases earlier and appropriate treatments are provided sooner to our patients from Greater Manchester and beyond.

To contact the NIHR HRC in Emergency and Acute Care, please email: HRC-Emergency@mft.nhs.uk


The DiTA supports and catalyses the generation of high quality evidence for new digital products, medical technologies (MedTech) and in-vitro diagnostics (IVDs) – lab-based tests that can detect disease and infections.

Part of Research and Innovation at MFT, DiTA ultimately aims to address unmet needs, transform patient care and improve efficiency within the NHS, by facilitating the rapid translation and adoption of new innovations into the health and care system.

What we do

  • co-develop new medical devices alongside industry, academics, NHS clinicians, patients, and the public
  • establish partnerships between industry, academics, clinicians, and the wider ecosystem, to progress innovations that improve patient care and efficiency within the NHS
  • collaborate with innovators to achieve translation and demonstrate utility of these new medical devices.

Why we do it: the case for accelerating innovation within the NHS

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), by 2041 just over a quarter of the UK population (26 per cent) will be aged 65-years and over.

This increasingly aging UK population, added to the rising prevalence of chronic conditions and the requirements necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have increased demand for early and effective diagnostic tests. This, along with the aim of a personalised medicine approach to healthcare, have seen the diagnostics and MedTech market increase dramatically in recent years.

However, timescales from innovation to adoption in the health and care system can run into several years, and innovators often face many challenges when trying to generate the evidence required to meet the necessary regulatory guidelines and navigate the pathway to commercialisation and adoption in the NHS. 

To combat these challenges, DiTA supports innovators – whether they are clinicians, academics or commercial companies – to generate the evidence required to progress their technologies through the innovation pipeline at a faster pace. 

How we do it: three core pillars of activity

1. Providing expert advice

DiTA can work on a consultancy basis with innovators in the early stages of design and development.

This can involve providing expert clinical advice about how a diagnostic would best fit into the current care pathways, identifying key challenges and unmet needs that a new technology or diagnostic could address or determining the evidence required to demonstrate that a diagnostic could improve clinical care. 

DiTA can set up panels of key opinion leaders for consultation or conduct one-to-one interviews with experts to provide feedback and opinions, for example, around the use of a test. This can help innovators to shape their strategy and market and understand how their test can have the most impact in a real-world setting.

2. Providing patient samples

As DiTA sits within MFT, it can provide innovators – whether MFT-based or external – with access to patient samples for pre-clinical testing at their own site.

3. Conducting clinical studies to establish clinical validation and utility

DiTA can work with innovators to generate the clinical evidence required to demonstrate clinical validity and utility.

Working with a multidisciplinary team of experts, DiTA can generate real-world evidence, test accuracy, and compare to the standard of care. It can further identify clinical partners, help with protocol design, study set up, ethics applications, and trial management.

Where we are: our prime Manchester location

DiTA is part of MFT, which is the largest acute trust in England – encompassing 10 hospitals across six sites – providing care to approximately 750,000 people across Greater Manchester.

MFT is also a major host of National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) infrastructure, including the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, the NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility and the NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester

In terms of location, DiTA is opportunely positioned, in that MFT’s central campus is part of the Oxford Road Corridor – Manchester’s Innovation District.  This designated enterprise zone is home to a wealth of knowledge-intensive organisations, operating in the areas of biomedical science, pharmaceuticals, precision medicine, clinical trials, e-health, medical devices and related healthcare. Providing the perfect environment in which we can successfully progress innovations.

Who we work with: our core Manchester partners

Being part of MFT, DiTA works collaboratively with world-leading clinicians based within the Trust, as well as well as the patients they care for. As part of the wider Greater Manchester (GM) ecosphere, DiTA further has access to state-of-the-art testing facilities, biobanks and life science organisations. Some of our core GM partners include:

Work with us

Are you developing a medical device or IVD and need support or access to clinicians and patient samples? If so, please email dita@mft.nhs.uk with your enquiry.