Businesses with innovative ideas on how technology can improve health outcomes can be supported by a new Health Tech Accelerator initiative funded by the Enterprise M3 LEP, based at the University of Surrey and led by Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation NHS Trust (SABP).
The £3.8m project will offer health tech companies an exceptional combination of facilities including an engineering test bed to develop product prototypes, as well as access to a “Digital Ward – living laboratory” where clinicians, patients, carers and other users of developing health tech devices will be involved in the design of the end product.
Enterprise M3 LEP has just agreed to fund £1.7m from the government’s Local Growth Fund to kick-start work on the Health Tech Accelerator, in order to improve outcomes for a range of physical and mental health conditions from cancer to depression.
Surrey Research Park is already home to a cluster of health care companies with a strong focus on the MedTech sector. With its partnership links with the University of Surrey and both SETsquared Surrey and EM3 located on the Park, MedTech Surrey Research Park members are set to benefit.
The Health Tech Accelerator aims to support local health technology companies develop products, services and processes which are designed to meet patient need and which can be fast tracked into the NHS as well as private health and social care markets.
The aim is for health tech devices and systems which address local physical health needs such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and musculoskeletal issues as well as mental health priorities such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and personality disorders.
Sue Littlemore, Future Initiatives Manager at Enterprise M3 LEP, comments:
“The Health Tech Accelerator is an excellent example of putting our Local Industrial Strategy into action. It’s about the area’s strengths and opportunities in business-led innovation, digital technologies, and addressing the health needs of an ageing society. Most importantly it’s about improving the health and well-being of our population. We are absolutely delighted to be able to support this valuable project. “
Dr Malcolm Parry, CEO of Surrey Research Park comments: “The Surrey Health Tech Accelerator initiative will be a tremendous boost for the MedTech sector in our region. Surrey Research Park provides a location where research, science, technology and entrepreneurship can thrive. We already have an established MedTech cluster and this is set to grow further as ground-breaking medical firsts continue to be made here on the Park. The Surrey Health Tech Accelerator initiative is an excellent addition to our comprehensive enterprise support from incubation to acceleration.
Professor David Blackbourn, Head of the School of Biosciences and Medicine at the University of Surrey, comments:
“We are very proud to be a part of this innovative project and excited by the opportunity to grow our digital health activities to help bring this initiative to life. Surrey researchers are passionate about using technology to improve health; we have already pioneered projects like using AI to help predict cancer patients’ physical reactions to chemotherapy, and developing avatars to improve mental health. We look forward to working with our partners to share knowledge and create new technologies that will continue to improve lives.”
Professor Helen Rostill from Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust comments:
“We are excited to be bringing NHS partners, Integrated care system leaders, Academia experts and industry partners together to support health tech SME companies develop new products to address physical and mental health needs. Using our combined knowledge, and experience, we are committed to providing the right environment, expertise and access to clinicians and patients and carers to accelerate innovation which will really make a difference to people’s lives”.
Other key partners are the Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network, SETsquared Surrey, Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership Academy and Cisco.
Work on the project started in January 2020 and will be completed by March 2021.