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Strong Interest From Highland Firms For Research Competition

6th April 2017

More than 50 small firms in the Highlands and Islands involved in the life science and technology sector were given the opportunity to compete for a share of £400,000 of Scottish Government funding at an event yesterday (5 April).

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The local firms have all signalled their interest in a competition run by the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) by attending a briefing at the HIE's An Lòchran building on the Inverness Campus in Inverness on Tuesday 4th April 2017.

Aimed at stimulating innovative technologies that enables personalised care, better education and remote monitoring for people living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the half day event is designed to give local firms more information about the competition.

Led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the NHS Innovation Partnership Board, the idea of the SBRI is to promote the rapid prototyping and adoption of solutions for people living with IBD.

The competition is particularly looking for solutions that

• Improve patient experience and outcomes for people living in Scotland with an IBD diagnosis

• can be applied to other medical conditions

James Cameron, Head of Life Sciences at HIE, said: "Our strong working relationship with NHS Highland and other NHS Boards to design and develop challenges leading to healthcare solutions for people with IBD is instrumental in our drive to create new business opportunities for businesses."

The organisers are looking for innovative digital solutions that include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

• enabling citizens to better manage their IBD through better lifestyle and prevention or early intervention approaches, combined with enhanced medication and treatment compliance

• empowering individuals, promoting independence and helping people to be more involved in decisions about their care

NHS Highland's Professor Watson commented: "Inflammatory Bowel Disease can be a devastating and lifelong condition than impacts on a patient’s social, educational and employment opportunities. This SBRI challenge is designed with patients at its very heart and is likely to produce some really exciting innovations that will benefit all IBD patients, no matter where they live."

To assist companies wanting to take up this challenge, the briefing at An Lochran starts at 12.30 pm with a working lunch and an opportunity to network.

During the afternoon sessions, companies will be able to hear directly from gastroenterology clinicians and patient representatives to discuss and better understand their requirements.

By attending, companies will have had an opportunity to:

• hear about the scope of the challenge in more detail from consultants and patients

• network and develop cross sector partnerships for the challenge

• meet with representatives from Innovate UK, Highland and Island Enterprise and NHS Scotland for 1:1 discussion about the competition

Part of Scotland's Innovation Action Plan, the SBRI competition has been given £400,000 of innovation funding from the Scottish Government specifically to help patients suffering from IBD manage their health from their homes.

The competition has three phases: Up to £75,000 can be allocated for phase 1; up to £135,000 for phase 2; and up to £150,000 for phase 3:

• Phase 1: technical feasibility. Projects should last up to 8 weeks. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £15,000 each

• Phase 2: prototype development and testing. Projects should last up to 6 months. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £45,000 each

• Phase 3: pre-commercial testing to support continued development of the solution. Projects should last up to 1 year. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £75,000 each.

As part of the competition, the firms can carry out the project on their own or with others. After being selected for the technical feasibility (phase 1), the projects with the most potential for success will then be awarded funding for development (phase 2), and following that, prototyping (phase 3).

After attending the briefing, the firms have until Wednesday 10th April 2017 to register for the competition, with applications completed and received by the organisers no later than midday Wednesday 17th May 2017. For further information contact: andrea.mccoll@hient.co.uk or anna.miller@hient.co.uk or call (0) 3000 134 725.

 

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