Research

The LEAPResearch Programme will fund pre-competitive research across four themes that have been shaped with the Hub’s partners. Consortiums will be able to apply for between £30k and £100k to fund collaborative research pilots between 6-18 months in length. Our first funding call will open for applications in June 2024.

Theme 1: Care outside of the hospital

Digital technologies have huge potential to help prevent or reduce the time people need to spend in hospital. This supports wellbeing and is a priority for health services. This can be achieved through health and social care services that support people in their own homes and communities (such as virtual wards). Digital health (and care) opportunities include:

  1. Technology for remotely monitoring patients (or people accessing care and support).
  2. Technology that enables high-quality remote patient consultations.
  3. Technology to ensure a safe, warm, dry home environment where patients can be safe and in good health.
  4. Technology to support a necessarily more mobile health and social care workforce.

Further, these technologies can help deliver new services in our region’s relatively under-utilised town centres, including community pharmacies, community diagnostics centres and establishing pop-up clinical services in former retail locations. Digital health (and care) opportunities include:

  1. Low cost, portable diagnostics and imaging devices able to operate with limited bandwidth.
  2. Decision support tools and AI-assisted diagnostic and imaging tools.

Theme 2: Service and resource planning

Health and social care are resource-constrained activities – the NHS and social care workforce operates very close to capacity and is difficult to expand in response to short- or long-term demand. Resources such as staff, facilities, ward space and ambulances all need to be planned in a dynamic, responsive and joined-up manner. Digital health (and care) opportunities include:

  1. Scheduling and queuing algorithms to help plan/allocate staff time/availability, or the use of resources such as hospital beds and ambulances.
  2. Research to improve processes and decision-making, including operations research and optimisation.

Theme 3: Frailty, fall prediction and fall prevention

Falls are a leading case of hospital admission in older adults and a major priority for the Hub’s partner organisations. Predicting and thereby preventing injury such as hip fracture could help many older adults remain independent and well in their own homes. Digital Heath (and care) opportunities include:

  1. Wearable and video analytics to predict risk of falling.
  2. Technologies that support the delivery of interventions, including physiotherapy, rehabilitation, social care and support.

Theme 4: Smartphone and wearable technologies

Consumer electronics including smartphone, wearable and video technologies put powerful computing and sensing capabilities in the hands of patients and health & social care professionals alike. Digital health (and care) opportunities include:

  1. Predicting exacerbations of chronic conditions.
  2. Image and video analytics for conditions such as eye health, hearing loss, cardiovascular health and skin lesions.
  3. Facilitating remote interaction between professionals and patients.
  4. Evidencing benefits and side-effects of new therapies and interventions, from pharmaceuticals to physiotherapy, to talking therapies and social care support.