NIHR awards HealthTech Research Center Network £5m to advance health innovations

The network will support the development, evaluation and adoption of innovative health and care technology

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has awarded an NIHR HealthTech Research Center (HRC) Network £5m to provide national coordination and leadership for NIHR HRCs to advance health innovations.

Hosted by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust from 1 September 2024, the network will support the development, evaluation and adoption of innovative health and care technology.

In November 2023, the NIHR announced £42m in funding to support 14 new NIHR HRCs to work with businesses to support the development of medical devices, diagnostics and digital technologies to allow people to better monitor their health, make earlier diagnoses and improve the management of conditions such as cancer, dementia, cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

The HRCs are located in leading NHS organizations across England, including Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London’s HRC for cardiovascular and respiratory medicine, announced in April.

The newly launched network aims to support “the UK’s ability to develop, test and deliver… new technological solutions” to support “patients, the public and the health and care system,” while “attracting support from the commercial sector,” said professor Mike Lewis, scientific director, innovation, NIHR.

It will work with the 12 HRCs to provide strategic collaboration with health and care research systems; coordination and leadership of cross-HRC initiatives; proactive support for industry to work HRCs; and a focal point to facilitate links with national partners, including the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and NHS England.

In addition, the network will help to build capacity for the development and evaluation of health technologies, patient and public involvement, engagement and participation, as well as identifying and addressing health inequalities.

Professor Wendy Tindale, director, NIHR HRC Network and NIHR HRC in long term conditions, commented: “Working in partnership with all 14 HRCs will be key to delivering the network’s ambitions in transforming UK HealthTech into a thriving ecosystem of industry, academia, NHS and stakeholders, collaborating to bring innovative health technologies more rapidly to patients.”