Innovate UK To Invest £6m Into Digital Health Projects

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The UK’s public innovation agency is to fund trials of digital technologies with the potential to ‘significantly’ improve healthcare

Innovate UK has announced £6m worth of funding for projects trialling digital technology healthcare improvements.

The organisation said it would invest £4.5 million on behalf of the government’s Office of Life Sciences for general-purpose digital projects, along with a further £1.5m from NHS England specifically for digital projects that integrate self-management education and support for people with Type 2 diabetes.

Innovate is a non-departmental public body that supports the development of new technologies that can help expand the British economy.

The funding is part of phase two of an NHS programme called Test Beds, which allows organisations to work with the health service to test products in real-world settings.

computer health, healthcare

NHS Test Beds

Innovate said it’s accepting expressions of interest from both businesses and NHS organisations until 27 March.

Businesses should have a market-ready digital product that meets safety and regulatory standards, while NHS bodies should have a clearly defined health and care issue. Either type of organisation must be willing to lead a consortium, Innovate said.

The proposals are required to be in line with NHS priorities as laid out in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View.

Successful applicants at the initial stage will be able to attend a workshop between 9 and 13 April where they can meet and select partners, with the resulting consortia invited to submit detailed applications for funding.

The project costs can range from £500,000 to £1.5m, with those outside that range required to submit an additional justification. The projects must begin on 1 October of this year and can last no longer than18 months.

“These projects must produce significant health improvements at the same or less cost than existing practice,” the government said.

Businesses can be funded up to 70 percent of their costs, while NHS organisations will be funded to 100 percent.

Digital innovation

An initial briefing is to be held on Friday.

The first round of Test Beds funding launched in 2016, with seven projects recruiting more than 4,000 patients for testing.

NHS England said the second round would benefit from insights gained from the first in areas including information governance and evaluation methods.

Recent Innovate UK funding projects have targeted areas including artificial intelligence,robotics and battery technologies.

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