Innovators encouraged to apply for healthcare funding

Monday 16 February 2015

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Designers of innovative new products for the community healthcare sector have been urged to apply for a European funding stream before the programme deadline expires.

Coventry University Health Design & Technology Institute (HDTI) is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs, inventors and SMEs develop their ideas.

Support is available in the form of product design, from early concept through to prototyping and manufacture, and HDTI also offers usability research to provide inventors with an independent evaluation of their idea.

The funding from the Assistive Technologies and Community Healthcare Development Project from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) covers Shropshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands, and comes to an end on December 31 this year.

Over 50 businesses across the region have already been assisted by the scheme over the last three years.

However, to ensure there is enough time to qualify for five days of free consultancy support, applicants should move swiftly.

Guy Smallman, commercial development director at HDTI, said the ERDF funding had already helped a wide variety of entrepreneurs, inventors and SMEs turn their ideas into reality.

“As the ageing population continues to grow, there is an increasing need for healthcare products that help older people and those with disabilities to live more independent, comfortable, enjoyable and productive lives. There is an increased focus on providing products which can improve our wellbeing,” he said.

“We have a specialist design team at HDTI who can play a part in transforming an idea from an initial concept into a prototype or finished product. This, in turn, can be evaluated in a usability study we put together.

“It is critically important to gain constructive feedback from potential users who are completely independent and impartial, instead of carrying out market research with friends and family. Relatives and close associates will rarely give completely honest advice and relying on them to be objective is very risky.

“An academically led usability study feeds back into the design process and can be used extremely effectively to support a company’s marketing activity, find a commercial partner or attract additional investment.

“We can also assist in the area of intellectual property and perhaps help in finding a manufacturer.

“The ERDF scheme is here to help SMEs in the West Midlands region to take the next step but the funding requirements mean we need to hear from interested applicants as soon as possible to put all the necessary steps in place before the end of this year.

“This kind of free funding is becoming increasingly difficult to secure and we don’t want anyone to miss out.”

For further information contact Guy Smallman at