Robotic muscular assistance research forms part of £32m government care funding plan


Six pioneering health technology research projects aiming to transform NHS healthcare delivery are set to benefit from £32m government investment.

Projects include novel AI X-Ray scanner to diagnose cancer and osteoarthritis more effectively and robotic muscles to assist those who have suffered from a stroke.

As part of a keynote speech on research and development at London Tech Week 2020, the Science minister Amanda Solloway will announce six new projects aimed at developing revolutionary new technological approaches that aim to transform care and treatments in the NHS by 2050.

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It hopes to be a move in helping to improve people’s quality of life as they age.

One of the six projects, emPOWER, will be led by researchers at the University of Bristol, and will receive £6m to develop artificial robotic muscular assistance to help restore strength in people who have lost muscle capability.

This could include patients who have suffered a stroke or are living with degenerative diseases such as sarcopenia and muscular dystrophy.

Using these highly targeted robotics will help overcome the limitations of current wearable assistive technology of regenerative medicine.

Through using robots, emPOWER will aim to provide life changing benefits for sufferers, restoring their confidence, independence and quality of life, all while reducing the cost to the NHS.

Ahead of her keynote speech on R&D at London Tech Week, Solloway said: “The pioneering projects we are backing today will help modernise healthcare, improving all of our lives now and into the future.

“Today’s announcement is part of our ambitious R&D Roadmap and underlines our commitment to back our incredible scientists and researchers and invest in ground-breaking research to keep the UK ahead in cutting-edge discoveries.”

The funding is being delivered through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, through the Transformative Healthcare Technologies for 2050 call.

As part of her speech, Minister Solloway will set out the government’s ambitions for research to address significant issues such as advancing healthcare outcomes for patients and ensuring the UK is at the forefront of transformational technologies like artificial intelligence.

It follows the launch of the government’s R&D Roadmap in July 2020 which detailed plans to make the UK the best place in the world for scientists and researchers to live and work, building on the government’s commitment to increase R&D public spending to £22 billion per year by 2024 to 2025.

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Alex Douglas

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