Using innovation to bring healthcare closer to the community

09 January 2008

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The Technology Strategy Board is to invest £15 million to support research and development in new technologies for healthcare, with the aim of helping to bring medical diagnosis, monitoring and analytical capabilities closer to the community.

The Technologies for Health competition - part of the Technology Strategy Board's Autumn 2007 call for proposals in a number of innovation and technology areas - will help to stimulate innovation that will improve healthcare provision by bringing medical diagnosis (self or professional), condition monitoring and care and analytical capabilities closer to the patient community.

The investment will fund highly innovative industry-led collaborative research and development projects that will develop technologies to encourage localisation of healthcare services.  Such projects might include:

•-         Devices for minimally invasive intervention, treatment, monitoring and therapy.

•-         Devices for in- or on- the body applications.

•-         Low-cost tools for self-diagnosis.

•-         Devices and sensors for early and rapid detection of disease.

•-         Scaled-down devices for point-of-care diagnosis and sample analysis.

•-         Devices for point-of-use drug synthesis or drug delivery.

•-         Developments for animal health and detection of diseases in animals.

•-         Imaging technologies to identify biomarkers which predict drug efficacy.

The Technology Strategy Board's investment will provide partial funding for winning projects in such areas, and which involve businesses working collaboratively with other businesses and/or with research organisations and academic institutions.  One or a combination of technologies can be used, such as:

•-         Photonics: including lasers, optical fibres, fluorescence and photodynamic techniques, spectroscopy and imaging.

•-         Electronics: including sensors, chemical or biological recognition transducers and data capture and transmission.

•-         Microfluidics, microsystems and system-on-chip architectures.

•-         Nanomaterials and nanodevices.

•-         Telecommunications technologies.

•-         Fluid and tissue manipulation, biofabrication, microanalysers and microarrays.

The projects, which can last for 2 to 3 years, can range from small, highly focussed basic research projects, aimed at establishing technical feasibility, through to applied research and experimental development projects.

Explaining the reason for the investment, Technology Strategy Board Chief Executive Iain Gray said "Bringing healthcare closer to the community, away from hospitals to GPs' surgeries and even into the home, can be cost effective as well as offer operational improvements.  Developing technologies to enable this to happen is a major challenge, which we believe can be met by UK companies."

"The UK is a world-leader in healthcare technology, with a strong life sciences research base, a mature biopharmaceuticals industry and many top-quality medical device companies.  The UK also has both capacity and capability in areas such as photonics, electronics systems design, microsystems and nanosciences.  So the UK is well-placed to exploit opportunities at the interface between medical science and device technology."

Applicants must register their intention to apply for funding, and submit an outline of their proposal, by 22 February 2008 and the final closing date for applications is 27 March 2008. Further information is available at

The Health Technologies Knowledge Transfer Network is organising partnering events during January and February to help set up collaborations.  These can be accessed through the Network at

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