Prosperity Outcomes: Healthy Nation

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Healthy Nation Outcomes and Ambitions.

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Healthy Nation Outcomes and Ambitions.

Annette Bramley, Head of Healthcare Technologies - EPSRC

I’m Annette Bramley.  I’m the Head of Healthcare Technologies at EPSRC and I’m the convenor for the healthy nation outcome.  Healthy nation is all about improving patient outcomes and improving the health of the nation through better mental and physical health.

So we have five ambitions in this space.  The first one is about transforming the way care is delivered using real-time sensing and data analytic technologies.

The second one is about improving prevention and keeping people healthy.  We have a priority around optimising diagnosis and treatment.  Then we have two priorities which are around treatments.  One of which is novel therapeutic technologies, so things like drug delivery, but also manufacturing and scaling up the production of therapies and also regenerative medicines.  The final priority is about non-medicinal interventions which are about surgeries and novel radio therapies and also prosthetics. 

There are lots of opportunities for research from right across EPSRC’s remit to contribute to a healthy nation agenda, from underpinning mathematics to civil engineering, ICT and physical sciences.  What you need to think about if you are a researcher applying to EPSRC for funding for research which could be relevant to health, is how do you make sure that the research you are going to do is going to find its right place in health in the future.  The best way to go about that is to make sure you have the right clinical and user collaborations in place at the start of the programme, to inform the way that you plan and you conduct your research.  What’s really useful is that we have an impact and translation tool kit for research and healthcare technologies, which is really relevant across EPS space and it contains a lot of advice and suggestions for things to consider when you are preparing, particularly for the pathways to impact part of your research proposal.

But I think what the outcomes really usefully do is articulate some of the key challenges that face the UK over the next five years and the link back to the cross-cutting capabilities within each of the outcomes, helps the research community to see where their particular research specialities can contribute to each of those agendas.  This could be in areas where they may not have realised either that they could contribute or, if you are a user, might not realise that those cross-cutting underpinning EPSRC disciplines have something that could help you.  What we are doing by articulating the contribution that our research makes to real socio economic outcomes in the UK, is that we are showing that in the longer-term the research has the potential to make this amazing contribution. 

We are hoping for new technologies which will transform our ability to manage our own health.  We are hoping that advances in engineering and physical sciences will transform our ability to predict and to treat disease.  In a really multidisciplinary area like the healthy nation, we are really encouraging people to think about how to make those connections to deliver better biomedical understanding, better tools, more cost effective healthcare, but it’s all underpinned by the fantastic engineering and physical sciences which we know is all around the research base that we have.