New technology will bring healthcare closer to the community

18 Sep 2008

The Technology Strategy Board is to help fund £25 million of research and development into new technologies that will help to bring healthcare closer to the community.

The twenty-two innovative research and development projects 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 research.

Late last year the Technology Strategy Board challenged British companies and researchers working in medical science and device technology to develop innovations that could help to provide localised healthcare services, while improving patients' quality of life.  Over one hundred proposals were received and the twenty two successful projects will see research and development in areas such as:

  • miniature wireless handheld sensors which quickly detect the flu virus
  • 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
  • novel photonics technology for use in assessment of dental disease.

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.  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 new government-backed UK research and development to nearly £145 million.

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