The UK government has announced £32 million in funding to develop revolutionary technological approaches to transform care in the NHS by 2050.
Speaking as part of a keynote speech on research and development (R&D) at London Tech Week 2020, science minister Amanda Solloway announced the six projects to receive backing. They are:
InlightenUs: led by the University of Edinburgh, will receive £5.4 million to use a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and infra-red lasers to produce fast, high resolution 3D medical images, helping to identify diseases in patients more quickly. It is aimed to scale up to walk through airport style X-Ray scanners by 2050, which could identify tumours.
empower: led by the University of Bristol, will receive £6 million to develop artificial robotic muscular assistance to help restore strength in people who have lost muscle capability through strokes or degenerative diseases such as sarcopenia and muscular dystrophy.
Non-Invasive Single Neuron Electrical Monitoring: led by Imperial College London, will receive £5.5 million to develop a technology, which combined with AI will allow researchers to monitor the brain and gain a better understanding of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
COG-MHEAR: led by Edinburgh Napier University, will receive £3.2 million, to develop hearing aids designed to autonomously adapt to the nature and quality of their surroundings.
Quantum Imaging for Monitoring of Wellbeing and Disease in Communities: led by the University of Glasgow, will receive £5.5 million to develop a home of the future which provides homeowners feedback on their health and wellbeing through clinically approved sensors which monitor blood flow, heart rate and brain function.
U-care: led by Heriot-Watt University in partnership with the universities of Bath and Edinburgh, will receive £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 such as the lungs, catheters inserted into the body for prolonged periods and areas of the body that have been subject to surgical procedures.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
The funding follows the launch of the government’s R&D Roadmap in July 2020 which detailed plans to make the UK the best place in the world for scientists and researchers to live and work, building on the government’s commitment to increase R&D public spending to £22 billion per year by 2024 to 2025.
ON THE RECORD
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “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.”
Flann Horgan, vice president of healthcare at the IT services provider, NTT DATA UK said: "Looking ahead, the UK government needs to continue to live up to its ambitious R&D Roadmap and invest in the world-leading healthcare technology being developed in the UK, whilst also pursuing global partnerships with other centres of technology and healthcare excellence around the world."