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University of Bradford wins £4.8m to help develop innovative health tech


medical professionals

The University of Bradford’s Centre for Digital Innovations in Health and Social Care has been awarded £4.86m to develop and evaluate innovative health technology.

Through two flagship research programmes, the Centre will:

  • Create novel technologies that disrupt current practices to improve decision-making and alleviate electronic documentation burden
  • Develop and evaluate technologies that reduce the health and care system’s carbon footprint while improving patient care 

The award is part of a £156m investment by Research England’s Expanding Excellence in England Fund (E3 for short)

The money will be used to invest in 10 new staff members over the next five years, as well as PhD positions, and to develop a new Master’s programme. 

computer screen

It will also enable the University of Bradford to further integrate with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Healthtech Strategy and make the City of Bradford a testbed for new health and social care technology.

Professor of Digital Innovations in Healthcare Rebecca Randell, pictured below, said: “This is a wonderful recognition of the team I work with and it’s great to have validation of the Centre’s philosophy, which is about developing a deep understanding of the challenges that health and care providers face in order to design technologies that really support them and lead to better care for patients. 

“In addition to being a long-term investment, we will be working with digital health companies, offering training and knowledge transfer projects, and working with them to evaluate their products, all of which will mean Bradford will become a testbed for health care related innovation.” 

Professor Rebecca Randell

Professor Harris Beider, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Engagement, said: “This grant is hugely prestigious for the University of Bradford in terms of acknowledging the level of expertise we have here. The E3 funding will allow us to carry out world-leading research in health informatics while also working with our health and care partners to provide benefit for Bradford and West Yorkshire. 

“We will be developing training for health and care professionals, both in terms of masters programmes and continuing professional development, to enable them to get the most benefit out of technology. We'll have PhD studentships, funded by both the Expanding Excellence in England Fund and the University of Bradford, and we'll support healthcare professionals in the region to apply for doctoral fellowships, to develop the next generation of leaders in health informatics. 

“It will also enable us to support the delivery of West Yorkshire’s Healthtech Strategy, which endeavours to position West Yorkshire as a leading hub for health technology expertise.” 

Staff sat round table

In total, Research England is supporting 18 projects. Dr Steven Hill, Director of Research at Research England, said: “We have invested in research units in universities right across England. This will diversify the regional spread of research disciplines to support the sustained enhancement of research capacity across England, and enhance the skills base, build and diversify talent and bring disciplines together to develop new skillsets and "future leaders” in areas of research excellence where there is untapped potential.  

“Our investment will also help to reinforce the contribution of HEPs to their region through strategic local partnerships, focusing on sharing resources and infrastructure and generating local impact, backed by robust institutional leadership.   

“We’re excited to see how these units develop over the next five years.” 

What will the money fund? 

The Centre for Digital Innovations in Health and Social Care at the University of Bradford will undergo a rapid expansion, including: 

  • Recruiting new staff, bringing in expertise in data visualisation, software engineering, and health economics, to support the development of novel world-leading research
  • Createing a new MSc in Digital Innovation in Health & Care, ensuring that teaching is research-led
  • Developing a suite of continuous professional development courses for health and social care professionals and those working within digital health companies
  • Offering a range of PhD opportunities, with students spending one day a week at the Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research, a collaboration between the University of Bradford, University Leeds and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, providing a vibrant environment with a strong network of researchers and clinical colleagues.