The Technology Strategy Board and the Department of Health have announced £7.5 million in funding for three R&D programmes focusing on diagnosis and management of sepsis, a life-threatening illness caused by the body overreacting to an infection.
Part of the Detection and Identification of Infectious Agents (DIIA) Innovation Platform, through which the government invests in development of diagnostic tests and devices that will help to cut the number of deaths and cases of illness caused by infectious agents in humans and animals, while reducing the economic burden, the three programmes are:
Sepsis I: Multi-pathogen detection and/or simple discrimination. £5 million will be available for collaborative R&D projects to develop point-of-care diagnostic tools to assist clinicians and health workers in the management of sepsis. The competition also challenges consortia to develop simple devices for use in primary care that could, for example, be used in a GP’s surgery to distinguish between bacterial and viral infections and help to reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics. The programme opens on 30th August. The competition registration deadline is 1st November and expressions of interest must be received by 9th November. Full details are here.
The Technology Strategy Board will also use the first of these competitions to pilot a planned initiative called Design Option, a new initiative which aims to help businesses think more about design at the start of their research and development project. Through the Design Option initiative, applicants will be offered free access to design mentors while they are in the early stages of developing their project proposals. This could lead to time and cost savings, and ultimately better project outcomes. Those applicants interested in taking up the Design Option in the competition must register this by noon 12th September and submit the subsequent Design Option request by 15th September.
Sepsis II: Advancing biomarker use in sepsis management. In this second phase up to £2.5 million will be invested in collaborative R&D to advance the effective use of biomarkers in the management of the condition. The programme opens on 26th September. The registration deadline is 1st November and expressions of interest must be received by 9th November. Full details are here.
SBRI: Assessing the impact of near-patient testing. Managed through the SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) programme, the competition will invest up to £1 million in projects to produce new and improved health economics related products, tools or capabilities to assist companies in the design and evaluation of diagnostic clinical trials. It is envisaged that the new tools will lead to better adoption, where appropriate, by providing assessors and decision makers with high quality data on the impact of new diagnostic products. This programme will open on 26th September. Further information will be released later.
Each application to these programmes must be collaborative and business-led, though there are clear needs for clinical and academic partners.
Further information about these three opportunities (from which this summary was distilled) is available on the Technology Strategy Board website at http://www.innovateuk.org/content/competition-announcements/government-to-invest-in-new-research-to-tackle-thr.ashx (or use the links above).