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Funding for SMEs

A new round of Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competitions are being launched by NHS England during September 2013. This autumn call will commit £5m investment into the development of technology products to meet known healthcare needs. This second competition round in 2013 is part of NHS England’s strategic approach to innovation set out in the Innovation Health and Wealth (IHW) report published in December 2011.

 This competition round will see the largest number of clinical themes addressed to date with 7 topics selected in partnership with the Academic Health Science Networks across England. This will provide the maximum opportunity for businesses to come forward with their ideas. The £5m investment will potentially support approximately 40 companies to develop their products. The clinical themes selected are: Cancer, Cardiovascular, COPD, Diabetes, Mental Health, Patient Safety and Research Tools.

A call has been put out to small businesses in the UK to take part in a competition seeking to fund the development of novel products and services that could address significant healthcare challenges.

 SBRI Healthcare, an NHS England funded initiative, will distribute £5 million to fund feasibility programmes for novel solutions to challenges within seven healthcare areas - cancer; cardiovascular; COPD; diabetes; mental health/dementia; patient safety; and research tools - chosen in partnership with the newly designated Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs).

  A panel of mixed experts is used to help determine the viability of projects through the process. Venture capitalists and business experts advise on business and marketing plans, but it is clinicians who are "the biggest driving force in deciding whether a particular solution is valid," she stressed.

 To date, the SBRI programme has invested some £17.6 million to support 66 small and medium size enterprises, helping a number of products to market and securing a number of promising projects in the innovation pipeline.

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