Digital & Hi-tech News

UWE's new £5million facility to support companies developing health tech

Share Article

Written by: Hannah Baker | Posted 11 May 2018 11:47

UWE's new £5million facility to support companies developing health tech

Businesses in the West of England developing health technology products are being encouraged to make use of a new £5million centre at UWE Bristol.

The Health Tech Hub at Frenchay campus is focused on advancing technology that enables people to live independently and manage their own health and wellbeing, so they spend as little time in hospital as possible. 

The hub offers companies support for product development and prototype testing, including access to technology and support from UWE Bristol academics.

It aims to boost regional economic growth, create new jobs and international recognition of the health and life sciences sector in the West of England.

Professor Steven West, Vice Chancellor of UWE Bristol and chair of the West of England Academic Health Science Network said: “This world-class facility brings together clinicians, scientists and industry experts to solve some of the most challenging issues of health and social care practice.

“I am convinced that this will deliver tangible results for patients and grow a vibrant health-tech cluster and collaboration here in the West of England.”

Read more: Bristol Robotics Laboratory to stage UK’s largest robotics conference

The facility is located in UWE Bristol’s University Enterprise Zone, which also houses Bristol Robotics Laboratory, the largest robotics complex in the UK, the Future Space incubator for high-tech start-ups, and the Launch Space innovation incubator for graduate tech start-ups.

Products in development within the facility include next-generation diagnostic wearable biochemical sensors, which are able to detect diseases and monitor patients’ long-term health conditions, as well as highly sensitive easy-to-use devices for rapid detection of infections for home use.

Professor Janice Kiely, co-director of the Health Tech Hub, said: “Today doctors often give people antibiotics as standard, which are suitable for some patients but not all.

“The type of technology we are looking at here aims to enable doctors to test the sample there and then, rather than having to send samples off to a lab. This allows them to administer a precise treatment, reducing the global threat of antimicrobial resistance. 

There is also a live-testing apartment within the facility. The fully furnished one-bedroom flat enables engineers to measure the functionality of their products and, using cameras, monitor how people might interact with them while at home.

The space will also allow them to evaluate the use of new home diagnostics, such as  smart toilets, and new systems for treatment monitoring, as well as activity monitoring and prompting of everyday tasks.

Read more: Number of new tech companies being launched in South West rises

Tech companies can get feedback from the public through focus groups and other user-led evaluation organised within the Health Tech Hub belaunching products on the market.

The facility can also help companies to develop technology related to digital health, which looks at how information about someone’s health is stored, communicated and displayed.

With its links to industry, the Academic Health Science Network and Medilink, a national network for health technology businesses, the Health Tech Hub aims to help companies accelerate commercialisation and adoption into healthcare environments.

Professor Richard Luxton, co-director of the Health Tech Hub, added: “A key aspect of this centre is developing relationships with companies, from which we are hoping research projects will develop.

“Given that there are no large health and life science companies in the Bristol area but hundreds of small businesses developing health technology, we are using the Health Tech Hub as a lens to focus that vitality.”

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Health Tech Hub is managed by a consortium led by UWE Bristol.

Other partners include the Academic Health Science Network, the University of Bristol, Designability, Sirona andP3Medical.

Share Article