UK government funds research into assisted-living technology

Universities and businesses in Britain are to receive a total of nearly £9m of government investment for research that will help to underpin the development of user-centred services for independent living.

The funding – from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the Economic and Social Research Council and the Department of Health’s National Institute for Health Research – will go towards eight research and development projects in the areas of economic business modelling and social behavioural studies.

According to the TSB, the decision to invest in the eight projects follows a competition managed by the Technology Strategy Board’s Assisted Living Innovation Platform, which supports UK businesses and the health care sector to develop new technologies and services to support older people and those with long-term conditions in their everyday lives.

Iain Gray, the Technology Strategy Board’s Chief Executive, said: ‘New technologies can play a vital role in enhancing the health and wellbeing of older people and those with long-term conditions.

‘However, while assisted-living technologies are becoming increasingly available and affordable, their adoption is far from extensive. Understanding the market for such products is a vital step towards meeting the needs of users and service providers.’

The eight projects will be led by Leeds University, Queen Mary University of London, Newcastle University, Sheffield University, St Andrews University, Coventry University, Tunstall Healthcare and Healthcare Over Internet Protocol Community Interest Company.

Each of the projects will see the lead partner working in collaboration with other universities, businesses, researchers and third-sector organisations.

The Technology Strategy Board will invest £6.8m in the projects while the Economic and Social Research Council will invest £1.5m and the Department of Health’s National Institute for Health Research £0.5m.

The total cost of the projects, including contributions from business partners, is more than £12m. The projects will take between two to three years to complete and they are all due to start between January and April 2011.