NIHR grants £42m to 14 new HealthTech Research Centres across England

The National Institute for Health and Care Research has granted £42 million to the development of 14 new centres in England to drive health tech research, with the aim of working with businesses to support development of medical devices, diagnostics and technologies for use in hospitals, general practice, the community, and social care.

Each of the 14 NIHR HealthTech Research Centres has been awarded just under £3 million toward driving innovation in their specialty and is hosted by an NHS organisation in England, with participating trusts including Cambridge University Hospitals; Guy’s and St Thomas’; Imperial College Healthcare; Leeds Teaching Hospitals; Manchester University NFT; Nottinghamshire Healthcare; Nottingham University Hospitals; Oxford Health NFT; Royal Devon University Healthcare; Sheffield Children’s; Sheffield Teaching Hospitals; South London and Maudsley; Newcastle Upon Tyne NFT; and University Hospitals Birmingham.

Research focuses include brain and spine injury; cardiovascular and respiratory disease; surgical technologies and rehabilitation; and children and young people’s health. The centres will also develop and test products designed to support rehabilitation and independence for those with social care needs.

The scheme replaces the NIHR Medtech and In Vitro Diagnostic Co-operative scheme, which will end in March 2024 before the NIHR Health Tech Research Centres officially launch in April.

Professor Lucy Chappell, chief scientific adviser at the DHSC and CEO of the NIHR, said: “Research into health technology is recognised as being of vital importance for patients, carers and users, our workforce, and the wider health and care system. The establishment of the NIHR Healthtech Research Centres shows our firm commitment to driving innovation in healthtech research from conception through to adoption.

“Our existing research centres in MedTech have delivered new technologies that have helped prevent, diagnose and treat ill health for many individuals, as well as ensuring increased efficiencies in the health and care system. The increased funding for the HealthTech Research Centres will build capacity and  expertise in health technologies, bring new innovations to market and enable people to live healthier, better-quality lives.”

Elsewhere on innovation, NHS England, the NHS Race and Health Observatory and the NHS Innovation Accelerator announced a targeted call for innovations addressing Core20PLUS5 health inequalities over the summer.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals also announced its Innovation Pop-Up in August, looking to engage the market across seven thematic areas – clinical communications, virtual care, operations, SMART buildings, inpatient central monitoring, patient flow and network infrastructure.