Welsh innovation receives global recognition for helping to save and improve lives
A Dragons Den-style competition offering Welsh innovators the opportunity to bid for funding to help them come up with new solutions to some of the trickiest challenges facing the public sector in Wales has received global recognition, Skills and Science Minister, Julie James is pleased to announce.
Backed by over £3m Welsh Government funding and run in collaboration with Innovate UK, the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) has gained interest from other UK devolved nations as well as attracting attention from Ireland, Sweden and Australia.
Launched in Wales in 2013, the SBRI offers businesses - many of which are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) - the opportunity to bid for research and development (R&D) funding to develop technology-driven solutions for specific challenges facing the public sector.
Run as competitions each challenge focusses on an area of public service where solutions either do not yet exist or where partial solutions might be improved.
Areas where solutions are already being progressed include the improvement of health and patient care, medical treatments, road safety, renewable energy generation and environmental management.
To date, 14 SBRI competitions have been run in Wales, resulting in 66 contracts valued at approximately £5m being awarded to companies to develop Welsh public sector solutions: 44 contracts at Phase 1 (developing the proposal) and 22 contracts at Phase 2 (creating a prototype with a view to bringing it to market).
One of the first SBRI challenges run in Wales was by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (UHB) which wanted to develop a solution to improve patient care by helping nurses and carers reduce administration duties so they could spend more time with patients.
The target of this challenge was for nurses to spend 10% more time with patients. After two years of practical collaboration between the UHB’s nurses and a small Bangor start up company, Elidir Health, a software solution has been developed which promises to increase nurses’ time with patients not just by 10% but potentially up to 23%. Indeed this challenge has been so successful that Elidir Health is now working with Cwm Taf UHB as well as Betsi Cadwaladr UHB to explore how this software can be adopted across both health boards’ pediatric units.
The Welsh Government’s own Transport department has also made use of SBRI challenges to develop solutions to identified issues, for example improving road safety and reducing the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on Welsh roads.
Of the bids submitted to this challenge two projects were selected, with the first example already complete.
Armourgel Ltd has developed a motorcycle helmet liner that will significantly reduce the impact to a rider’s head during a collision. This can make the difference between a serious brain injury and a minor one.
The second project has developed a junction alert system which will soon be trialed on Welsh roads. The project will be able to test the system in peak motorcycling season and by September the company will have fully tested the system in all weather conditions and will report on its market potential.
Skills and Science Minister, Julie James is keen to point out that both these projects have the potential to save the lives of motorcyclists not just on Welsh roads but across the world, saying:
“The Small Business Research Initiative is a great example of how the public and private sector can work together to tackle societal challenges in innovative ways and deliver benefits to both public sector bodies and industry as well as the people they serve.
“My aim now is for our SBRI programme to become a mainstream tool in the Welsh public sector, promoting innovation and driving forward out technological potential.
“SBRI can open up huge opportunities for Welsh businesses and help solve some of the toughest challenges we will all face in the future and we plan to use it.”
Latest News from
First Minister holds inaugural Ireland-Wales Ministerial Forum22/10/2021 16:05:00
The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, will today host the first Ireland-Wales Forum to be held in Cardiff with Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney T.D.
“Grow in Wales, sell to the world” – Vaughan Gething22/10/2021 14:05:00
“Grow your business in Wales and sell to the world” – that was the message from Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething yesterday as he visited Pontypool-based manufacturer and exporter Flamgard Calidair to encourage more Welsh companies to export their goods and services internationally.
Have your say on proposed livestock movement changes22/10/2021 11:05:00
The Welsh Government is asking for views on plans to change how livestock are identified, registered and their movements reported.
‘We are bracing ourselves for one of the hardest winters we have ever faced, but will keep essential services running,’ vows NHS Wales chief executive22/10/2021 09:05:00
NHS Wales chief executive Andrew Goodall has warned the dual challenge of the COVID pandemic and other respiratory viruses will make this winter ‘one of the hardest we have ever faced’, as the NHS Wales Health and Social Care Winter Plan is published.
Welsh Government response to latest NHS Wales performance data21/10/2021 14:05:00
The Welsh Government has responded to the latest NHS Performance data published today (21 October).
GALWAD: Welsh communities answer call to build future World as Wales’ contribution to major cultural programme in 202221/10/2021 11:05:00
Today Creative Wales and Collective Cymru announces the making of GALWAD for UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, 2022.
Welsh Government attracts Global smart tech energy team to Wales21/10/2021 09:20:00
Innovative smart energy technology provider Thermify is to establish a facility in South Wales, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has announced.
“We want a national and inclusive conversation about the impact periods can have across a person’s life”20/10/2021 15:10:00
An action plan to eradicate period poverty and ensure period dignity for all in Wales has been announced today by the Welsh Government.
New images show true scale of ‘ambitious and complex’ Welsh Metro project20/10/2021 14:10:00
“Delivering the £1 billion Welsh Metro project will be one of the most ambitious and complex programmes we’ve ever undertaken.”