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Innovation to tackle diabetes

Published: 8 Oct 2015 14:26

Hunt for private and public companies to find help for those with the condition.

A new £500,000 competition to find innovative new technology to help those with Type 1 diabetes in Scotland will launch later this month.

The challenge is open to companies of all sizes who can develop and demonstrate an innovative process, material, device, product or service that will change the lives of those with Type 1 diabetes.

People with Type 1 diabetes need to manage their own health carefully in order to lead a healthy life.

Speaking ahead of the second meeting of the Council of Economic Advisors, at which innovation will be discussed, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

"Tackling inequalities in Scotland and improving the competitiveness of the Scottish economy go hand in hand. That's why I've asked my Council of Economic Advisors to recommend how we increase inclusive growth in Scotland, and improve our innovation performance, building on the strong research base we have in Scotland.

"The competition I have announced today is a great example of this Government focus on tackling health inequalities and changing the outcomes of those who face serious health complications as a result of diseases like diabetes. It is estimated that diabetes accounts for around 10 per cent of the total NHS budget. That is why it is a priority for this government to work with partners from across private, public and third sector organisations to develop new and innovative solutions.

"Considerable progress has been made in the treatment of diabetes in Scotland in recent years. However, the number of people being diagnosed with the condition has continued to rise – not just in Scotland but throughout the UK and beyond.

"The sheer diversity of innovation that already exists in Scotland is something to be commended and I am excited that the SBRI fund will uncover future medical results for those plagued with Type 1 diabetes."

Dr Lena Wilson, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, said:

"The economy grows faster when companies embed innovation in all they do. Scotland operates in an increasingly competitive global market so developing and maintaining competitive advantage is imperative. The work underway with NHS Scotland on solutions to the challenges Type 1 diabetic patients face offers an opportunity for more of our SMEs to embrace innovation.

"We know that companies that actively innovate have increased productivity and grow nearly twice as fast and create more jobs than those that don't. There's also strong evidence that the SBRI approach works. Businesses that participate in challenges like this experience average annual sales growth of more than 30% and create nearly 10% more jobs than the national average.

"This is a vitally important and exciting challenge and one I hope smaller companies and entrepreneurs embrace when it opens later this month."

Notes to editors

The Council of Economic Advisors meet bi-annually and advise the First Minister on actions to improve the competitiveness of Scotland's economy, and tackle inequality. As part of this, the Council's work focuses on inclusive growth and innovation.

Total for the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is £500,000. Of that funding, 50 per cent is coming from Scottish Enterprise, and 50 per cent from Scottish Government. The funding is divided up into £150k for the first year and £350k for the second.

SBRI competitions are open to all organisations which can demonstrate a route to market for their solution. Developments are 100 per cent funded and focus on specific identified needs, increasing the chance of exploitation. Suppliers will be selected via an open competition process managed by the UK's innovation experts Innovate UK, and retain the intellectual property generated from the project, with certain rights of use retained by the contracting authority. This is an excellent opportunity to establish an early customer for a new technology, and to fund its development.