The North East is in prime position to benefit from a 2.1bn Euros funding pot to boost its world-leading research into ageing as part of a new European consortium.
Newcastle University is a key partner in InnoLife, a consortium of 144 European companies, research institutes and universities, selected by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to invest 80m Euros a year into projects tackling demographic change across Europe.
The consortium partners Newcastle University with business giants such as Roche Diagnostics, Sanofi Aventis, Siemens and Philips as well as universities across Europe.
As part of the consortium, Newcastle University has been chosen to lead new collaborations, education programmes and projects tackling the challenge for society posed by an ageing population, in one of the world’s largest publicly funded health initiatives.
Newcastle University is a world leader in the field at its Campus for Ageing and Vitality which is to be the location for a new £40m National Centre for Ageing Science and Innovation (NASI) following backing from Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in his Autumn Statement.
The campus already offers businesses a chance to grow alongside university research teams working on every aspect of ageing, to develop products, services and care needed to support more older people – the National Centre will be able to build on this work.
The University is now working with North East companies to put together bids for EIT funding which have to be jointly submitted with a European partner.
Professor Louise Robinson (pictured), Director of Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, said: “The real opportunity here is that this consortium puts Newcastle University together with significant partners funding innovation activity into ageing and health.
“The power of the consortium and businesses within it are great news for the North East and our agenda for ageing and vitality.
“It gives us the initial investment for further expansion of our ageing activity to really address the innovation aspects which is what our research is about in Newcastle.
“Getting access to funding is dependent on the University and business partners putting forward the right projects to tap into that money.
“We will put together suitable projects to take forward innovation in ageing research – our work in the new national centre unveiled by the Government will play an absolutely pivotal part in this.”
Gordon Graylish, Vice President, Sales and Marketing Group and General Manager Enterprise Solution Sales, Intel Corporation, said: “Global ageing requires a sea change in how we think about care.
“The changes required for healthcare institutions, government policies, providers and patients cannot be underestimated. We are very pleased to be a part of EIT Health which is bringing all the stakeholders together to innovate solutions for our future care needs.”
Professor Elio Riboli, Director of the Imperial School of Public Health and chair of the InnoLife executive committee, said: “This is a great opportunity for our strong consortium to make a major contribution to the health and wellbeing of Europe.”
The consortium has been selected by EIT as the Knowledge and Innovation Community for EIT Health.
It will promote entrepreneurship and develop innovations in healthy living and active ageing by delivering products, concepts and services, including educational programmes to train the workforce of tomorrow.
The critical mass of partners within EIT Health opens the path to reduced time-to-market for added-value health products and services.
published on: 16 December 2014