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26 September 2006 PR 06/107

£15k prize launched to raise the level of innovation in healthcare delivery

A prize fund of £15,000 is announced today to encourage innovation in healthcare delivery in the East Midlands region. The competition is open to partnerships of university researchers, healthcare practitioners and small to medium sized companies including start ups.

The brand new initiative is organised by the Da Vinci Health Technology Network and NHS Innovations East Midlands. The award specifically aims to encourage new linkages to stimulate regional innovation, and applications must include a partnership involving at least two of the following types of organisation, one of which must be based in Leicestershire:

Health care practice (University hospitals and Primary Care Trusts)
Research institution (including universities)
Small to medium sized enterprises (including start ups)

Any stage of innovative health technology, including those based around patient or service improvement processes will be considered, provided a strong case for its commercial potential can be made.

£10,000 has been made available by Leicester Shire Economic Partnership, which supports the
Da Vinci network, with a further £5,000 recently confirmed from NHS Innovations East Midlands. The competition has been launched in memory of the very talented health technology researcher and co-founder of the Da Vinci network, Peter Smith, who died in a tragic car accident in February 2006. Peter was the Professor of Photonics Engineering and the head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Loughborough University. The Health Technology Research Group he led received numerous prestigious awards including A Queens Award (2001), Innovation Awards (Gatsby 2000 and 2002) and Medical Futures: Best Medical Innovation (2002).

“The drive to exploit the UK knowledge base to develop new health care technologies is high,” says Anna Seddon, manager of the Da Vinci network. She continues, “By working together with NHS Innovations East Midlands, we aim to bridge the disciplines of medical practice, bio and life sciences, engineering and physical sciences to open up new partnerships, paving the way for new inventions that will improve patient care. Peter Smith worked at the forefront of this goal and this new prize challenge will honour his immense contribution.”

Further information about the health care prize is available at http://www.davinci-net.org and the deadline for entries is Friday 10 November 2006. Winners will be announced in early January 2007 and there will be an evening awards ceremony shortly after.


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Notes to editors

  1. About Da Vinci (http://www.davinci-net.org)
    Da Vinci encourages scientists, engineers and clinicians to engage in open discussion about health technology research innovations and clinical challenges. It embraces Leicestershire universities, University Hospitals Leicester and other regional health providers including the Leicestershire Primary Care Research Alliance. Colleagues in organisations in the East Midlands and further afield are always welcome to get involved in the network’s activities.
  2. About NHS Innovations East Midlands
    NHS Innovations East Midlands assists NHS organisations in identifying, protecting and managing Intellectual Property (IP) in response to the Department of Health’s published Framework and Guidance document and the requirements of the Research Governance Framework.
  3. The hub is also charged with providing guidance on business development, patenting, technology transfer, licensing, negotiating exploitation and spin-out company agreements and collaborations with industry.
  4. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

    In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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