2014 NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes to address growing burden of diabetes

Competition invites entries from designers of innovative solutions to meet key health challenges

The NHS is challenging manufacturers to come up with innovative new solutions to some of the biggest pressures facing the health and social care sector.

In partnership with NHS England, Janssen has this week announced the launch of the 2014/15 annual NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes. This is a joint NHS and industry competition offering a total of £650,000 in prize money – of which Janssen will provide £200,000 – to drive the spread and adoption of home-grown innovation across the NHS.

Through this competition we aim to help inspire and seed innovation, empower healthcare consumers, and modernise healthcare delivery to provide better, more-holistic care at a lower cost to society

The 2014/15 awards include specific challenges that focus on diabetes. Diabetes, of which 90% of cases are type 2 diabetes, is a serious chronic disease that causes sugar levels in the blood to become too high. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-age people and is a main contributor to kidney failure, amputations and cardiovascular disease.

Currently estimated to affect 3.2 million people in the UK, the number of people living with diabetes is expected to rise to five million by 2025. People from South Asian backgrounds are six times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and people from African and African Caribbean backgrounds are up to five times more likely to develop the disease compared to people in the white population. The chances of being diagnosed increase with age and up to half of people in black and minority ethnic groups will develop type 2 diabetes by the time they are 80 years old.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for obesity and diabetes at NHS England, said: “The NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes is a unique initiative that aims to find innovative approaches to help combat some of the health challenges we face in the UK. And there is no better candidate for our attention than diabetes. There is considerable scope for innovation to drive improvements in the way this disease is managed, with the potential both to save lives and to make significant cost savings for the NHS.”

The awards

Diabetes Challenge 1 (£100,000): The first of two diabetes-themed challenges focuses on enhancing quality of life for people through care centred around the needs of the individual. Linking directly into NHS England’s commitment to the House of Care model, the programme is seeking practical solutions that demonstrate improvements in patient outcomes through the implementation of integrated care services

Diabetes Challenge 2 (£100,000): The second diabetes-themed challenge seeks innovative solutions to help improve health outcomes among black and minority ethnic communities, for whom the prevalence of diabetes is up to six times greater compared to the UK’s white population

“Without a doubt, the time to act on diabetes is now,” said Professor Anthony Barnett, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Birmingham and a consultant physician at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham.

“With millions across the UK already diagnosed with this potentially-deadly disease, and rates of diagnosis increasing daily, we desperately need innovative approaches that will help to combat diabetes and stop it reaching truly epidemic proportions. The NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes is an incredibly important initiative and I very much welcome this year’s focus on diabetes.”

In addition to providing £200,000 in prize money for this year’s programme, Janssen is also offering an intensive programme of mentoring for the winners. This support will not only help to raise the profile of the winning initiatives, but aims to secure their long-term sustainability.

There is considerable scope for innovation to drive improvements in the way this disease is managed, with the potential both to save lives and to make significant cost savings for the NHS

“We’re proud to once again partner with NHS England on the NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes,” said Mark Hicken, managing director of Janssen, UK & Ireland.

“Through this competition we aim to help inspire and seed innovation, empower healthcare consumers, and modernise healthcare delivery to provide better, more-holistic care at a lower cost to society. We believe that an integrated approach and partnering with organisations such as the NHS are key to achieving these goals.”

There are also a number of other awards up for grabs. They are:

  • Infection control challenge (£50,000): Prize fund provided by 3M along with 12-month mentoring and sharing of international best practice at its US headquarters for the winner: This challenge seeks innovations that support patient safety and reduce avoidable harm by reducing the incidence of healthcare associated infections
  • Use of technology challenge (£100,000): Prize fund provided by NHS England along with Accenture providing consultancy to the winner to drive spread and adoption of their innovation: Preventing people from dying prematurely through the innovative use of technology to speed up diagnosis or improve care
  • Rehabilitation challenge (2 x £75,000): Prize fund provided by NHS England along with Allied Health Professions Federation providing mentoring to the winner to drive spread and adoption of their innovation: This challenge seeks innovations that enable people to recover from ill health or injury and helps them to remain in or get back to work
  • Digital patient and clinician engagement challenge (£100,000): Prize fund provided by NHS England along with Health Fabric providing mentoring to the winner to drive spread and adoption of their innovation: This challenge seeks innovations that use information, communications or diagnostic technologies to connect patients and clinicians as partners in their care
  • Acorn challenge (5 x £10,000): Prize fund provided by NHS England along with HSJ showcasing the innovations: This challenge recognises and rewards small ideas that have the potential to make a big difference to patients

Entries for the NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes are now open and can be submitted via the website (click here). The closing date is 7 November.

Companies