Artist impress of Lancaster University's new Health Innovation Campus
Artist impress of Lancaster University's new Health Innovation Campus

Lancaster University’s Health Innovation Campus on track with business engagement ambitions

Lancaster University’s groundbreaking new Health Innovation Campus is on track to meet its ambitious target of engaging with 300 Lancashire SMEs by 2020.

The £44M initiative provides a tremendous opportunity to address healthcare challenges with regional relevance and national impact.

Critical to its success is a collaborative approach, bringing together businesses with researchers and health providers to work together on solving significant health problems.

A committed team is already engaging with partners to identify and work on innovative projects across Lancashire. More than 35 companies have now accessed fully-funded support, through a £2M grant from the European Regional Development Fund.

Dr Sherry Kothari, Director of the Health Innovation Campus, said:

“The Campus will be a catalyst for improving health outcomes locally and fostering economic growth.

“It is clear that there is a need to do things differently and, in collaboration with our partners, the Health Innovation Campus will embrace this opportunity. Our objectives to address health inequalities, empower people to better manage their health, create healthier environments and encourage innovation in early diagnoses and interventions resonate with the NHS long term plan.

“Lancaster University has long been an economic anchor and driver of innovation. The Health Innovation Campus will continue to engage with business leaders to develop innovative new products, services and processes for the health and wellbeing sector.

“The campus is built on the principles of open innovation where good ideas and expertise can come from anywhere. Support is available for businesses who are new to the health and wellbeing market or who already have a product/service in place but want to expand.

“For aspirational businesses in Lancashire this is a real opportunity to begin a journey with the University to develop and grow innovative ideas which have the potential to transform lives.”

Support available to businesses currently draws on two key areas of excellence for the University - Business and Information and Communication Technologies.

Engagement activities with local companies have so far included two-day workshops designed to bring industry leaders together to explore local health challenges and begin to develop innovative, person-centred solutions.

Some of the projects which have already benefitted from engagement with the university include:

  • A live wireframe has been developed to support Preston-based business Mente to help improve transparency around Employee Assistance Programmes.
  • A sleep hygiene application has been developed with start-up business Sleepkick to create a smartphone-based sleep coach.
  • Shameem Sampath, a surgeon at Bluespot Knee Clinic in Lytham St Annes, has worked with the university to upgrade the clinic’s augmented reality app, Quads AR, for people who want to strengthen their legs but do not yet require an operation.

Sleepkick Director Tom Skarbek-Wazynski said: “This has allowed us to move much more quickly. It was almost like Lancaster University was an extension to the Sleepkick team.”

Support for businesses is available through a range of initiatives, including:

  • A newly-appointed team of Analyst Developers, recruited specifically to work with local businesses to apply the latest digital technologies to health product and service ideas. A range of businesses have already begun to access this fully-funded opportunity with various exciting prototypes in development.
  • A new Health Innovation Campus business support team is in place to signpost industry partners to the support available to suit their needs.
  • Throughout 2019, a series of innovation workshops will take place to support businesses to build innovation capacity and explore opportunities to develop solutions to health challenges.

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