CPI' National Centre for Healthcare Photonics
CPI' National Centre for Healthcare Photonics.
Jamie Hardesty

A new frontier? North East secures funding to build national innovation centre

An upcoming innovation centre, dedicated to novel technologies for imaging, diagnostics and therapy, will open at NETPark in Sedgefield next year, after the project secured £8.3m in funding to go ahead.

The National Centre for Healthcare Photonics is being driven by The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), the UK’s technology innovation provider for process manufacturing, with work commencing this month.

Financially supported with an £8.3m grant from the Local Growth Fund, through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the site is expected to open in December 2018.

It seems innovation is reigning supreme in the region right now, with advancements at NETPark complementing progress at Newcastle Science Central, as well as other emerging hubs in the North East, to bring a wave of new opportunities.

What is Healthcare photonics and why is it important in business?

Healthcare photonics involves the use of light to diagnose and treat a wide range of acute and chronic conditions. It is a rapidly growing area globally, because photonics-based methods can meet the increasing demand for non-invasive, cost-effective, or rapid treatments and/or personalised care.

The UK has world-class research capability in this area, but a key challenge is to reduce the barriers that are preventing promising research and early-stage inventions from moving beyond the laboratory and into innovative healthcare solutions for patients.

CPI aims to achieve this objective by creating infrastructure and capability to address several of these major barriers. The formation of the National Centre will allow more early-stage and small and medium sized companies to drive forward their innovation, and increase their chances of commercialisation, at reduced risk and with increased capital efficiencies.

The new Centre will also stimulate and encourage large companies in the UK to undertake more disruptive innovation.

At the National Centre for Healthcare Photonics, CPI will partner with the academic, medical and clinical communities, supply and value chain partners, as well as key players within the healthcare innovation ecosystem.

State-of-the-art biomedical imaging, photonic-enabled diagnostic methods and therapies are some of the technology themes that will be covered, with the aim to help improve the range and utility of photonic methods available.

A set focus will be on reducing the cost of manufacture of photonic devices, to be able to address established market trends such as the move away from hospital-based and delivered services towards more local or personal testing and diagnosis.


Dr Tom Harvey, Strategic Programmes Manager, CPI: “This new Centre will provide the infrastructure and support for companies to bring to market their highly innovative products, which have the potential to be cost-effective and provide improvements to patient care.

“We will be looking at applications spanning the full range of healthcare settings, from hospitals and GPs through to home-based care.”

Hans Moller, Innovation Director from the North East LEP, added: “This is an exciting time for the Life Sciences industry and we’re thrilled that the North East will once again be leading the way in the field with the National Centre for Healthcare Photonics, which will allow our region’s exceptional innovation expertise to flourish.”

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