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The West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and the Health Technology Hub based at the University of the West of England are launching an new initiative to support innovators and to support the NHS’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.

The initiative – West Net Zero – is calling for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with sustainable innovations in the West of England to apply.

We are seeking those that have either new sustainable innovations or already existing products that can be adapted to help the NHS lessen its environmental impact, in line with its ambition of having ‘net zero’ emissions by 2040 and who may benefit from the expertise and support offered by the Health Technology Hub and the West of England AHSN Industry and Innovation programmes.

The programme is also looking for companies that are already based in, or are working with, an NHS organisation in the West of England* area.

Professor Nigel Harris, Director for Innovation and Growth at the West of England AHSN, said:

“The AHSN is so inspired by the green agenda. Innovation will be vital in helping the NHS to achieve its ambition to be the world’s first ‘net zero’ health service and this programme will identify and support promising SMEs with a healthcare innovation and an interest in sustainability to have greater visibility in the NHS across the West of England.”

Our new programme will provide up to five organisations with unique and tailored guidance and support.

  • The West of England AHSN will provide tailored support which will assess the opportunity for the selected innovations to be adopted and spread within the NHS. They will be offered advice to better understand and develop their potential value to the NHS and how to evidence and create a powerful value proposition.

Each company will be given a feedback report which will assess their innovation’s technology readiness and action plan to support their ongoing needs.

  • The Health Technology Hub will provide technical support for businesses in the Health and Well-Being sector to develop their products. They will deliver a mini project for each business (1 week of specialist support) focusing on one aspect critical to the business’ product development pathway. This mini project may be associated with prototype development, proof-of-principle studies or testing of products/prototypes. The technical development work will be delivered by specialist scientists and engineers using the facilities in the Health Tech Hub at the University of the West of England, Bristol which include:
    • Wet labs
    • Living lab test bed
    • Product design and development
    • Testing and validation
    • Sensor design and evaluation suite
    • Electronics
    • Prototyping

Example of support previously provided to businesses by the Health Tech Hub can be found here:

In addition to access to the state-of-the-art facilities within the Health Technology Hub, participants will benefit from our connections within the health and care system to enable them to bring their innovative Green solutions to the region.

Professor Janice Kiely from the University of the West of England and Director of the Health Technology Hub, added:

The University has a strong commitment to addressing the climate emergency and we are excited to support innovators who are able to share these values and help the NHS deliver the very best care whilst at the same time protecting the planet.

The West Net Zero programme will provide its participants with access to a structured course of support and tailored advice, plus the opportunity to be involved in the ‘next steps’ on the journey to support net zero in the NHS.

Benefits are set to include carbon impact assessments, access to funding, and needs identification to support business cases, as well as improved visibility of products to NHS organisations in the West of England health and care system.

Innovators can apply for the West Net Zero programme online.

To enter please complete the online entry form (click here)

The deadline for applications is 5pm, 14 February 2022.

* West of England area includes businesses based within: Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon, Wilshire and Gloucestershire.

** Companies who have previously accessed support from the West of England AHSN or the Health Technology Hub via other funding routes are not excluded from applying.