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Innovate UK to back more digital healthcare projects



New competition makes £6 million available for successful bidders from NHS organisations and tech businesses

National innovation agency Innovate UK has placed £6 million up for grabs to support projects on new uses of digital technology to improve healthcare.

It has announced a competition for up to £4.5 million from the Government’s Office of Life Sciences for digital and service innovations, and another £1.5 million from NHS England specifically to support people with type 2 diabetes.

It said this is part of phase two of the NHS Test Beds programme, aimed at helping innovators work with the health service, and that it is taking expressions of interest from NHS organisations and companies until 27 March.

The support for the winners will cover up to 70% of the project costs for businesses and 100% for NHS bodies, and the projects are expected to range in size from £500,000 to £1.5 million and last for up to 18 months.

Clear challenges

Businesses should have a market ready digital product that meets safety and regulatory standards, and NHS organisations must have a clearly defined health and care challenge and be willing to lead a consortium. Also, all the projects need to meet the priorities set out by NHS England in its Five Year Forward View.

The successful applicants will be invited to a workshop where they will be able to meet and select partners.

The first wave of the Test Beds programme, launched in 2016, involved seven projects and led to the recruitment of more than 4,000 patients to test the innovations along with healthcare professionals. NHS England said it has produced valuable learning from which the second wave will benefit, particularly in regard to information governance and appropriate evaluation methods.

Image by Barry Barnes through GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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