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NW patients to benefit from £580,000 ‘good ideas’ award

Patients across the North West will benefit from a major funding award designed to help NHS staff turn good ideas into exciting new treatments and services. TrusTECH, the NW NHS Innovation hub which helps NHS staff to develop ideas which could benefit patients, has been awarded £580,000 by the government’s Public Sector Research Exploitation (PSRE) fund. It made one of 33 successful bids to the £68 million fund, which provides money to support the initial stages of commercialising research. The money will provide pump-priming funding for research into new products, treatments and services by NHS staff. Awards of between £5,000 and £25,000 will be given to staff to help with product trials, filing patents and setting up commercial collaborations. The PSRE funding runs for two years from 2009 to 2011, with £100,000 a year available to staff entrepreneurs. The remaining money will be used to recruit specialist technology and business development staff. They will be responsible for transferring successful new products, technology and treatments from the lab or ward into commercial production. “Frontline NHS staff have some great ideas for improving patient care and developing new treatments, and it’s our job to provide the practical support to make their ideas a reality,” explained Dr Richard Deed, Innovation Unit Manager at TrusTECH. “We already have a number of exciting developments in the pipeline, including new surgical devices, clinical training materials and patient monitoring software systems. We estimate that licensing activity and the creation of spin-out companies will return around £1.4 million over five years to the NHS in the North West, to fund even more research and innovation.” This is the second recent major funding win for TrusTECH. It has also been awarded £464,000 by the NHS Purchasing and Supplies Agency (PASA) to run the national Smart Solutions project. This is a programme targeting SMEs across a wide range of sectors who may be able to use their expertise to help the NHS develop products to beat bugs like MRSA and C.difficile. Science and Innovation Minister Ian Pearson announced the successful bids at an event in London today (June 23 2008). Mr Pearson said: “Public sector organisations are involved in innovative research that could lead to more effective tests for diseases and improved health care for patients. That’s why the Public Sector Research Exploitation fund is so important in taking great research and turning it into great business ideas.” DIUS has provided £30m in funding for the PSRE. An additional £38m has come from over a dozen other organisations, including government departments, research councils, charities and others.