Asthma UK opens £3m+ tech fund

Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation have launched today a new Asthma Technology Fund that aims to support innovative, life changing technology for people with asthma.

There are two streams in the programme, the first to support early research and development, the ‘concept stage’, and a second stage to support adoption and scaling in the NHS, the ‘translation and adoption’ stage.

£3 million + will be made available to support innovations over 36 months. For stage one, up to £750k will be made available for up to 24 months.

The funding programme aims to help people with asthma manage their condition with technology such as smart inhalers, health apps and remote monitoring, in what the company said ‘is still very limited’.

Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, NIHR and EPSRC are looking for ambitious applications from multi-disciplinary teams of leading researchers, tech companies and NHS trusts. They are looking to fund the development and testing of user-centered technology that will ‘reimagine and transform of the way people with asthma and their health care professionals manage their asthma and help stop preventable asthma deaths’.

Olivia, from Edinburgh, is a nurse with severe asthma, said: “I’ve really noticed that asthma technology is quite far behind other long-term conditions. The technologies that are out there are very bit part, so we need to use a range of devices just to get all the information required. If in asthma we could have one technology, app or device that would give us all the information, it could make a massive impact on people’s lives.”

Dr. Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Innovation at Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Partnership, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be investing in technology for asthma care. People with asthma are generally responsible for much of their day-to-day care, often only seeing their GP once a year for an asthma review or in an emergency.”

“Managing multiple asthma triggers and day-to-day changes in asthma symptoms is extremely challenging, but getting it right has the potential to prevent two thirds of asthma deaths. We believe technology could play a vital role in this and are excited to see the novel solutions to preventing asthma attacks and improving the lives of people with asthma that are created as a result of this funding.”

Dr Kedar Pandya, Director for Cross-Council Programmes, EPSRC said: “New and emerging technologies, such as smart inhalers that link to personal devices, have the potential to revolutionise the way we diagnose, manage and treat asthma. The Asthma Technology Fund announced today aims to attract ambitious proposals in order to realise this potential and improve the lives of people with asthma.”

The programme is being supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

To find out more and apply please click here.