Tech businesses to benefit from £3m university eHealth project

发布时间:2020-07-02编辑:admin阅读(343)

The University of Plymouth has received more than £3million from the European Union to extend a programme supporting businesses to develop digital technologies for another three years – and ultimately create a health tech industry for the South West.

The eHealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (EPIC) project is aimed at developing technology needed by communities to access health and social care in out-of-the-way coastal and rural settlements.

The funding boost means experts can continue to support businesses in developing technology, and for patients, professionals and care commissioners to become accustomed to it and to encourage its adoption.

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The project, led by the University of Plymouth through its Centre for Health Technology, aims to create a sustainable eHealth sector in the South West that will continue to flourish after the project is complete, developing, testing and manufacturing digital health products to be exported nationally and globally.

The latest award of £3.3million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) follows £2.7million granted for EPIC in 2017. The cash has been forthcoming despite the UK’s Brexit decision. In Cornwall, 56.5% of those who voted wanted to leave the EU.

Tech businesses to benefit from £3m university eHealth project 甘肃快3 第2张Professor Ray Jones is leading the project along (Image: EventLloyd Russell)

The second phase will make £600,000 available to businesses through a Challenge Fund, in addition to the £600,000 given out via the first EPIC Challenge Fund, which awarded 42 grants to businesses.

EPIC will also set up an EPICentre at the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre in Truro, to showcase eHealth products and services, and become somewhere companies, health and care professionals and others can work together on the design of new tech.

And adding a national and international dimension to EPIC’s work, under the second phase businesses and patients will benefit from the Centre for Health Technology’s links with established and developing eHealth sectors in countries across Europe and beyond, including Finland - whose eHealth implementation is seen as the gold standard - and Spain.

International collaboration and sharing of best practice will support the development of high-quality digital health products and services, and open Cornwall as a test bed for products and services from around the globe.

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The new funding will also allow EPIC to develop the embryonic care robotics sector in the region, encourage innovative ways of using the internet of things, and address the difficulties in delivering health and social care in rural areas through technology such as low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs).

Professor Ray Jones and Associate Professor Arunangsu Chatterjee are leading the project at the university.

Professor Jones said: “Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly face challenges because of rurality and the older population. By developing products and services that are needed locally we can lead the country with that technology.

“This additional funding will enable us to make progress in areas such as voice technology and telepresence that, alongside other developments in this field, can improve services so having a huge impact on the lives of people using them.”

Tech businesses to benefit from £3m university eHealth project 甘肃快3 第5张Associate Professor Arunangsu Chatterjee (Image: Business Live)

Dr Chatterjee added: “The additional funding not only demonstrates our success but also enables us to create a pathway for innovators to scale-up in order to remain sustainable in the longer run.

“EPIC is the flagship project of the Centre for Health Technology, and the next phase will see our expertise influencing the direction of this critical sector at a global level as we strengthen links with international eHealth business and research, and make Cornwall a global test bed for new technologies.”

Mike Barritt, Director of EPIC delivery partner Software Cornwall, said: “Software development is the fastest growing sector in Cornwall, with a 250% growth rate since 2010 and salary levels well above the average in the county.

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“Software Cornwall has worked extensively with EPIC since the programme began, and a number of our members have taken advantage of the EPIC programme to help them grow their business and position themselves for the future.”

Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust non-executive director Tracie North said: “EPIC will help Cornwall become one of the nation’s technological centres of excellence, growing innovation.”

The collaboration includes the University of Plymouth, South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN), Kernow Health CIC, Cornwall Council, Cornwall Partners in Care, the Patients Association, Healthwatch Cornwall, and GPs, care homes and NHS trusts in the county.

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