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Advancing new and novel digital technologies can significantly improve outcomes for patients and reduce costs for healthcare providers.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, has up to £5 million to invest in projects through the digital health technology catalyst – a programme that aims to accelerate the development of digital health innovations.

The competition is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to deliver leading-edge healthcare in the UK.

This £181 million fund will transform how we develop and manufacture medicines and other healthcare products, such as digital technologies, to get the right drugs and treatments to patients when they need them.

Using real-world data

This competition is supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which will provide successful projects with its real-world data advisory services, DataLab.

DataLab aims to connect expertise across the NHS and academia through the institute’s data research. It is a collaboration between NICE, the University of Manchester and Health Innovation Manchester.

Successful applicants in the competition will be able to work with DataLab to get advice and consultancy across 4 main areas:

  • the application and use of real-world data
  • ensuring health data is secure
  • how to evaluate digital health interventions
  • additional scientific advice from NICE, and how to demonstrate the value of a project to the UK and international health systems

Advancing health care through digital solutions

Previous digital health technology catalyst winners include Neurofenix, whose tool helps patients that have had a stroke to recover.

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Better healthcare solutions

The competition is for collaborative research and development projects that span a variety of technologies, markets and healthcare needs and demonstrate the potential for significant innovation.

Projects must do one or more of the following:

  • improve health and wellbeing
  • transform care to improve quality
  • control costs and enable change

Technologies could include:

  • virtual and augmented reality
  • artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • the Internet of Things
  • data analytics and security

Ideas could be for use in a clinical or non-clinical setting. This could include digital technologies to:

  • support clinical decision-making
  • improve access to healthcare, support treatment compliance or patient-led management
  • improve the patient experience from disease prevention through to diagnosis, treatment, recovery and long-term care
  • overcome privacy challenges with managing, sharing and exploiting data
  • create significant improvements in quality, speed, costs and outcomes

Competition information

  • the competition opens on 11 February 2019, and the deadline for applications is midday on 10 April 2019
  • to lead a project, you’ll need to be a UK-based small or medium-sized business (SME)
  • SMEs can work alone or collaborate with others, including other businesses, NHS organisations, universities, research and technology organisations, public sector organisations or charities
  • total costs can be between £300,000 and £1 million
  • businesses could get up to 70% of their project costs
  • projects can last up to 18 months. They must start by 1 October 2019 and must be completed by 1 March 2021