Newcastle awarded multimillion investment to establish HealthTech Research Centre
The NIHR has awarded Newcastle close to £3M of government funding to develop and evaluate new innovative technology solutions for better diagnosis for people across the country.
The funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) will commence on 1 April 2024 and support a five-year programme across Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University. Researchers will collaborate with industry, healthcare professionals and patient groups to identify unmet needs, generate evidence to support the adoption of beneficial diagnostics, and accelerate their use in clinical practice.
The HealthTech Research Centre (HRC) scheme replaces the successful NIHR Medtech and In Vitro Diagnostic Co-operative (MIC) scheme, which comes to an end in March 2024.
The NIHR Newcastle HRC will build on the successful work of the former NIHR Diagnostics Evidence Co-operative Newcastle and the current NIHR Newcastle In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative (MIC). Over the last 10 years, this partnership has worked with over 240 companies helping them to obtain over £20M in external funding and to generate a portfolio of evidence as they bring their diagnostics to the UK healthcare market. The new investment will enhance the support on offer. The HRC will drive innovation and efficiency, bring new diagnostic technologies to those who need them most, support the health and care workforce to reduce workload, and help alleviate pressures on the health and care system.
Professor John Simpson, Director of the NIHR Newcastle HRC said:
“We are delighted to receive this award from the NIHR. Our team of experts will continue to work closely with the diagnostics industry, hospitals, and universities to deliver projects evaluating new diagnostic solutions.
As the NIHR Newcastle HRC, the team’s remit will expand to evaluate not just in vitro diagnostic tests but also diagnostic devices, including technologies related to imaging, artificial intelligence, and digital healthcare.
This new award will help us achieve our vision of creating a unique sustainable workforce to meet the demands of a rapidly changing diagnostic landscape and ensure new effective technologies are available for patients as quickly as possible.”
The NIHR Newcastle HRC will focus on evaluating diagnostics within three clinical themes that build on Newcastle’s research reputation and represent areas of key unmet clinical need. These comprise Ageing and Multiple Long-Term Conditions, Infection, and Precision Medicine and Rare Diseases.
Vicky Macfarlane Reid, executive director for business, development and enterprise at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“This new funding is fantastic news and will strengthen the golden thread between the NHS, academia and industry, accelerating development and use of the most cutting-edge tests and technologies.
“This will provide patients and healthcare workers with access to faster and more accurate diagnostics and enable more tailored treatment for patients with infectious disease, long-term conditions, rare disease and age-related conditions.”
The funding is part of a broader NIHR initiative, which has allocated almost £42 million to establish 14 HRCs across England.
Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care 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.”
For more information on the national funding, visit the NIHR website: https://www.nihr.ac.uk/news/nihr-awards-42m-to-new-centres-to-develop-innovative-technology-solutions-to-improve-healthcare/34832