Tuesday, June 18, 2024

NIHR Grants £5 Million for Establishment of HealthTech Research Centre Network, Fostering National Leadership in Medical Innovations

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The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has allocated £5 million to establish the NIHR HealthTech Research Centre Network, effective from September 1, 2024, hosted by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This initiative aims to provide centralized coordination and leadership for the NIHR HealthTech Research Centres (HRCs), facilitating the development, evaluation, and adoption of innovative health and care technologies to enhance people’s quality of life and overall well-being.

The HealthTech Research Centres were granted nearly £42 million in NIHR funding starting from April 1, 2024, with the mission to spearhead transformative research into health and care technologies. Spread across 14 locations in leading NHS organizations throughout England, these centers collaborate with industry partners to develop, evaluate, and validate technologies that enable better health monitoring, early diagnosis of illnesses, and improved management of various health conditions, including cancer, mental health disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.

New Network Enhances HealthTech Research Collaboration and Innovation

The newly established Network will collaborate closely with the 14 HRCs to foster strategic collaboration between HRCs and the broader health and care research ecosystem to expedite the development and adoption of innovations from industry. Provide coordination and leadership for cross-HRC initiatives, ensuring cohesive action among HRCs as a unified national research infrastructure for health technology development. Proactively support industry engagement with HRCs to develop innovations that benefit patients, the public, and the health and care system.

Serve as a central point of contact to facilitate connections with national partners such as the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and NHS England:

  • Building capacity for health technology development and evaluation.
  • Promoting patient and public involvement, engagement, and participation in research.
  • Enhancing research inclusion and addressing health inequalities.
  • Developing methodologies to support the pragmatic generation of evidence for medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health and care technologies.
  • Promoting HRCs to industry stakeholders, including small and medium-sized enterprises, and guiding the development of health technologies that benefit patients within the health and care system, particularly the NHS.

HealthTech Research

NIHR HealthTech Research Centre Network’s Vision for Collaborative HealthTech Advancements

Professor Wendy Tindale, Director of the NIHR HRC Network and the NIHR HRC in Long Term Conditions expressed excitement about leading the Network’s transformative ambitions, emphasizing the potential for collaboration among industry, academia, the NHS, and stakeholders to expedite the delivery of innovative health technologies to patients. The Network, headquartered in Sheffield, will encompass a senior leadership team drawn from NHS Trusts in Sheffield, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, and Devon.

Professor Mike Lewis, NIHR Scientific Director for Innovation, underscored the pivotal role of the HRC Network in facilitating cohesive operation among HRCs, sharing internal learning, driving industry engagement, and championing the UK’s ability to develop and deliver impactful technological solutions that benefit patients, the public, and the health and care system, while also attracting support from the commercial sector.

 

Resource: The National Institute for Health Research, 16 May, 2024

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