Kidney Research UK launches competition for dialysis tech

A new competition launched by Kidney Research UK will challenge scientists, academics and engineers to come up with innovations for dialysis treatment.

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In existence for more than 70 years, dialysis is an essential treatment for kidney disease, but one which can be particularly demanding for patients, limiting independence and often carrying negative side effects. Designed in collaboration with IN-PART’s Discover platform, the new competition will ask participants to seek improvements in peritoneal or haemodialysis, examining areas such as equipment, monitoring, and clinical access, as well as looking to minimise the cost and environmental impact of treatment.

A total of six successful applicants will receive £25,000 to progress their innovations and will be enrolled into an academy programme worth £5,000. As well as academic and biotech entries, Kidney Research UK is also encouraging app and software developers to pitch for the funding.

“Dialysis is a harsh and gruelling treatment that has a significant impact on the lives of the patient and everyone around them,” said Dr Kirsty Frearson, dialysis programme manager at Kidney Research UK.

“Introduced to the NHS in the 1950s, the principles and limiting nature of the treatment remain largely unchanged. With the support of engineers, academics, and those at the forefront of technological development, we can bring about meaningful change that will make the differences patients need. These innovations will bring hope to everyone facing dialysis as part of our vision to transform the treatment forever.”

The academy programme is designed to provide participants with practical knowledge to drive their products forward, identify marketing opportunities and get off the ground as a start-up business. Formed of six hours of starter sessions and eight further days of workshops and training, it will offer an opportunity for applicants to both develop their business skills as well as fund their product research.

“The MedTech competition we worked on with Kidney Research UK earlier this year surfaced so many valuable research projects and placed funding with seven academic groups,” said Katie Syddall, head of Industry Partnering at IN-PART. “We’re excited to see what new ideas and research will be presented by our academic community to drive forward developments in the dialysis space.”