The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced £32 million in support for six projects using advanced technology to support healthcare.
It will be delivered through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through the Transformative Healthcare Technologies for 2050 call, and include initiatives on quantum imaging for monitoring wellbeing and 5G for hearing aids.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “The pioneering projects we are backing today will help modernise healthcare, improving all of our lives now and into the future.
“Today’s announcement is part of our ambitious R&D roadmap and underlines our commitment to back our incredible scientists and researchers and invest in ground breaking research to keep the UK ahead in cutting edge discoveries.”
Among the projects is one led by the University of Glasgow to use quantum imaging – which exploits to provide very high resolution images of objects – to monitor people’s health conditions in their homes. It involves clinically approved sensors for factors such as blood flow, heart rate and brain function. This has been promised £5.5 million from the programme.
Edinburgh Napier University is to receive £3.2 million to develop hearing aids designed to autonomously adapt to their surroundings using 5G and internet of things devices.
Researchers at the University of Bristol have been pledged £6 million to develop artificial robotic muscular assistance to help restore strength in people who have lost muscle capability through strokes or degenerative diseases.
£5.5 million is going to the Imperial College London to develop a non-invasive single neuron electrical monitoring technology, which could be combined with AI to allow researchers to monitor the human brain in a new way. This will contribute to research into conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Laser and fibre
Heriot-Watt University, in partnership with the universities of Bath and Edinburgh, has been allocated £6.1 million to exploit new laser, optical fibre and imaging technologies, delivering therapy for bacterial diseases and viruses in confined regions of the body.
Finally, the University of Edinburgh will receive £5.4 million to use a combination of AI and infra-red lasers to produce fast, high resolution 3D medical images to identify diseases.
EPSRC is soon to launch a call for further projects in a second phase of the Transformative Healthcare Technologies for 2050 call.
Image by Richard Townshed, CC BY 3.0