UK technology board invests £15m in medical device and telecare R&D
23 September 2008
The UK Technology Strategy Board has awarded grants of £5
million for nine projects to research and develop telecare products and
a further £10 million for 22 projects developing new medical devices.
The projects will bring together the best UK expertise from industry,
the health and care professions and universities.
In telecare the collaborative projects will result in research and
development in areas such as:
- in-home two-way video technology for the supply of health
information and for tele-consultation with healthcare professionals;
- an automated, non-intrusive, intelligent monitoring system for
the elderly and disabled;
- the development of an innovative real time gait-training system
for people with an abnormal gait;
- the evaluation of the potential benefits of proactive
preventative telecare and telehealth systems.
The Technology Strategy Board will invest over £5m in the initiative
while the Department of Health will contribute a further £500,000. This
investment will be matched by funding from the companies participating
in the research.
This is the first investment in research and development by the
Assisted Living Innovation Platform, which was launched in November 2007
and brings together government, business and the research community to
address health and care challenges caused by the welcome impact of
living longer, but the increasing demand for care for people with
The twenty-two projects developing medical devices aim to improve
healthcare provision by bringing medical diagnosis, condition monitoring
and care and analytical capabilities closer to patients.
The Technology Strategy Board will invest £10 million in the
projects, with the balance provided by the British companies involved in
The projects will see research and development in areas such as:
- miniature wireless handheld sensors that quickly detect the flu
- portable system for the diagnosis of infectious diseases in GP
surgeries and other point-of-care settings;
- point-of-care test for the rapid genetic diagnosis of
haematological cancer; and
- novel photonics technology for use in assessment of dental
Commenting on the decision to invest in these projects, the
Technology Strategy Board's Chief Executive, Iain Gray, said: "Through
this support, the Technology Strategy Board is helping to bring together
the UK's world class expertise to research and develop innovative
technologies in a key area for the UK."
"Bringing healthcare closer to the community, from hospitals to GPs'
surgeries and sometimes even into the home, can be both cost effective
and of enormous benefit to patients," he added. "Developing technologies
to enable this to happen is a major challenge, but one which UK
companies are clearly well able to meet. There are also global market
opportunities for such technology which, through this research and
development, UK companies will be well-placed to exploit."
The funding of these projects is the latest in a series of major
investments in innovative research and development by the Technology
Strategy Board. The Board is a business-led executive non-departmental
public body, sponsored by the Department for Innovation, Universities
and Skills (DIUS). Its mission is to "promote and support research into,
and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the
benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve
the quality of life".
Since August, the Board has announced that it will invest over £70
million in 110 projects in cell therapy, material technologies for
energy, high value manufacturing, low carbon energy technologies,
advanced lighting & lasers, data protection & privacy, technologies for
assisted living and, now, healthcare technologies.
Including contributions from the research councils and match funding
from the private sector, this brings the total investment in research
and development backed by the Board to nearly £145 million.
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