University-led €428m bid could boost Scotland’s growing reputation for innovation in health and care

Author: Mark Parsons
Posted: 25 Nov 2014 | 16:13

The University of Edinburgh is leading an international bid to secure European funding to support the establishment of a European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) “Knowledge and Innovation Community” (KIC) focused on healthy living and active ageing.

Funded by the EIT through Horizon 2020 (The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation), LifeKIC, as the Scotland-led KIC is called, will support the EIT and EU’s goal of delivering the triple win of: increased healthy life years; economic growth and increased competitiveness; and sustainable health and care.

LifeKIC aims to catalyse a revolution in the delivery of health and care throughout an individual’s lifespan, driven by the real needs of society and the harsh realities of the sustainable provision of health and care in Europe today.

People are living for longer, but this often means that they experience complex illnesses late in life. We must plan effectively to manage the demand this places on health and care resources, to ensure adequate care for all. Scotland is well placed to tackle this challenge, and winning support for our bid could help us deliver effective results for citizens across Europe.

Throughout 2014, myself and Francis Wray of EPCC and Stuart Anderson of the School of Informatics, along with partners in Scotland including NHS Scotland, Scotland Europa, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government, have been working to build this complex bid which brings together partners in the UK, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain, to act as Co-Location Centres (a key part of a KIC). These countries are complemented by Affiliate Regions in France and Poland/Czech Republic.

In June, LifeKIC and the Digital Health Institute organised an evening reception at the Scottish Parliament to rally support for the bid. Hosted by Aileen McLeod MSP, speakers included Alex Neil MSP (Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing), Prof. George Crooks (Medical Director of NHS24 and Chairman of the Digital Health Institute), and Prof. Sir Timothy O’Shea (Principal of Edinburgh University). Guests included MSPs, business representatives and members of the LifeKIC consortium who were attending a bid meeting in Edinburgh.

Our bid was submitted in September and we now have to wait until mid-December to hear whether we’ve been successful. If we are, the 7–10-year project will establish itself in 2015 and open its doors in 2016. The UK Co-Location Centre will be hosted in Edinburgh along with the overall LifeKIC headquarters, providing us with a fantastic opportunity to tackle a key societal challenge of our age. 

Find out more

For more information about LifeKIC and the vision behind it see: www.lifekic.eu

For more information about the Digital Health Institute see: www.dhi-scotland.com 

Author

Mark Parsons, EPCC