EPSRC Launches Second Digital Technologies for Health and Care Sandpit

Applications to attend a sandpit on the theme of novel digital technologies to monitor, diagnose and treat the population remotely.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has launched a call inviting applicants to attend a sandpit event on the theme of Digital technologies for Health and Care. Sandpit participants will consider how the challenges raised will be addressed and develop innovative ideas and activities into research projects.

UKRI is running three sandpit events over a three-year period to bring the different communities in the theme of Digital technologies for Health and Care together. This second sandpit will focus on novel digital technologies to monitor, diagnose and treat the population remotely. The intensive event will enable a diverse group of participants from a range of disciplines and backgrounds to immerse themselves in collaborative thinking processes to construct innovative approaches.

The broad aim of the sandpit is to generate research proposals. Successful projects should either have a new approach to monitor, diagnose and treat the population remotely to relieve pressure on the NHS and social care system; or deliver efficient, effective, patient-centric care in the community. Such approaches should:

  • Reduce the time that the public spends engaged with the traditional healthcare delivery system
  • Improve health outcomes
  • Enable better community-based or home-based healthcare delivery

The research ideas that will be developed at the workshop could investigate some or a combination of the following:

  • Technologies to support early detection of disease and disease prevention, including secondary prevention
  • Technologies which relieve pressure and burden on hospitals
  • Technologies which allow efficient and effective care in community settings
  • Supporting people with physical (including disabilities) and mental health conditions
  • Enabling patients to manage long-term conditions including adherence to medication or other interventions for example

Participants will pitch an idea at the end of the sandpit which will be assessed by the panel of director and mentors.

Researchers from a diverse range of domains are encouraged to apply to attend, including but not limited to those from: engineering, physical sciences, mathematics and computer science, social sciences, life sciences, humanities, and medical sciences. There is no prescribed list of appropriate disciplines; instead, potential participants are invited to outline how their expertise can address the challenge of the sandpit.

Applicants must be based in the UK and employed by an eligible research organisation. This includes:

  • UK higher education institutions
  • Research council institutes
  • UKRI-approved independent research organisations
  • Public sector research establishments
  • NHS bodies with research capacity

Individual applicants must meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be employed at the submitting research organisation at lecturer level or equivalent
  • Hold a fixed-term contract that extends beyond the duration of the proposed project, and the host research organisation is prepared to provide all the support normal for a permanent employee
  • Hold an EPSRC, Royal Society or Royal Academy of Engineering fellowship aimed at later career stages
  • Hold fellowships under other schemes

The sandpit will run virtually over three days in October 2021. Attendance at the Sandpit does not guarantee UKRI funding.

It is expected that up to £1.5 million of UKRI funding will be made available to fund research projects arising from the sandpit.

Applications should be submitted by the 21 July 2021 (16:00) deadline.