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Scottish Universities Share £20m Funding to Transform Healthcare

Ross Kelly

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Healthcare

Debilitating diseases such as cancer could be identified and treated faster and more effectively thanks to the Scottish tech projects.

Four Scottish universities are set to benefit from £20 million in government funding to transform the future of healthcare.

Tech projects from the University of Glasgow, Edinburgh Napier, Heriot-Watt and the University of Edinburgh will share the funding package and focus on a broad range of areas.

The investment packages form part of a £32m UK-wide funding scheme for healthcare projects. Government Science Minister, Amanda Solloway, made the announcement at London Tech Week on September 7th.

Commenting on the funding, Solloway said: “The pioneering projects we are backing today will help modernise healthcare, improving all of our lives now and into the future.

“Today’s announcement is part of our ambitious R&D Roadmap and underlines our commitment to back our incredible scientists and researchers and invest in ground-breaking research to keep the UK ahead in cutting-edge discoveries.”

Funding for the projects is being delivered through the Transformative Healthcare Technologies for 2050 call. Through the initiative, the UK Government plans to increase R&D spending by £22 billion within the next five years.

EPSRC Executive Chair, Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, said: “The projects announced today will develop new approaches which could become routine in the NHS and community and home care in the coming decades.

“Harnessing the latest technologies and the UK’s world-leading expertise will allow us to deliver a step-change in how healthcare is delivered and benefit millions of people, emphasising the critical role the UK’s R&D sector plays in improving the health of the nation.”

Who is set to benefit?

InlightenUs, led by the University of Edinburgh, is set to receive £5.4m to explore the use of artificial intelligence and infra-red lasers to product fast, high-resolution 3D medical images. It is hoped the combination of AI and lasers could identify diseases in patients more quickly.

COG-MHEAR, a project led by Edinburgh Napier University researchers, will receive £3.2m through the scheme to develop hearing aids that autonomously adapt to their surroundings.

Quantum Imaging for Monitoring of Wellbeing and Disease in Communities, led by Glasgow researchers, has been granted £5.5m to create a “home of the future” which provides residents with feedback on their health and wellbeing.

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The project will use sensors in living environments to monitor residents. It is hoped this could enable healthcare professionals to monitor people’s vital signs and also their emotional or physical wellbeing.

U-care, led by Heriot-Watt University, in partnership with the universities of Bath and Edinburgh, it will receive £6.1m to exploit new laser, optical fibre and imaging technologies, delivering therapy for bacterial diseases and viruses in confined regions of the body such as the lungs.

The platform will be able to cut out single cells leaving the cells around it undamaged in cancer surgery, aiming to offer a cure for currently unresectable tumours.

Scotland Minister, Iain Stewart said: “It is fantastic to see such a variety of projects awarded funding, from identifying cancer more quickly to managing health and wellbeing in the home, all will make a positive difference to health of millions of people across the UK and important contribution to the future of the NHS.”

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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