Background and Scope
The project provides targeted expertise in nano and micro technologies applied to healthcare and associated industries, transferring technological knowledge and industrial research results to companies in the competitiveness region. This will help the regional economy to make a major stride towards knowledge-based production.
Utilising the state of the art facilities in the new Centre for NanoHealth (CNH) and established Welsh Centre for Printing & Coating (WCPC), the project is able to offer a cost effective and highly skilled knowledge base to companies wishing to develop innovative technologies, or make improvements in existing products and processes where they do not have facilities and/or expertise to do so themselves. Building on the ERDF projects; ‘DIPLE’ and CNH (Convergence) and the A4B programs in expanding the facilities in the WCPC and CNH, the NMH project offers similar support to companies in the competitiveness region supplying products and services to healthcare providers, their suppliers, and other related sectors, who could benefit from the facilities on offer.
Using the facilities developed from these projects maximises the benefits of the capital investment already made and promotes sustainability. The project employs skilled research and commercialisation officers to; promote specific areas under the project's targeted R&D themes underpinned by the facilities and academic expertise; engage with companies in East Wales; assist them with specific queries and undertake collaborative R&D projects as required.
There will be many innovations from this project through the application of advanced processes to real life problems. For example, the potential of printing as an advanced additive volume manufacturing process for electronics and sensors presents an opportunity for companies to add value to their products and to develop new business opportunities in the healthcare sector. This project will also look at “Smart” packaging (e.g. monitoring tablet dispensing as the reluctance of patients to take medicines as prescribed and to reliably report their compliance with the prescription is a major source of ineffective medical intervention and misdiagnosis) and security (anti-counterfeiting) for companies who supply or may wish to supply to the pharmaceutical industry. It can also address the printing of sensors, and other innovative sensing techniques using the facilities within CNH and WCPC, for point of care health. For example, techniques using silicon based fabrication techniques to define nano and micro scale arrays for sensing, and nano structure growth techniques will be extensively applied to novel sensor architectures.
The NMH project will assist both SMEs and larger companies, as it is recognised that benefits to SMEs come both directly and through supply chain and other networks. The predominant focus will be on SMEs in the East region of Wales (Competitive*), in line with the Programme’s intention to work with 90% SMEs.
*Note: The competitive region of Wales includes the following regional authorities: Cardiff, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Newport, Powys, The Vale of Glamorgan, Wrexham. The remaining areas of Wales fall under the Convergence region and can be supported via the Centre for NanoHealth project.
Once a possible collaborative project has been identified and a scoping exercise carried out, an appropriate team will be proposed by the Project Manager to deliver the project. The team will include one or more research officers, together with supporting academics, who will be chosen based on the particular expertise required. The proposed team and project plan will be developed in the project sub groups and for larger projects, presented to the project board. This will include allocation of specific resources to ensure the project delivers the objectives.