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£4m initiative launches to bring space technology to the NHS


(Credit: Shutterstock)
(Credit: Shutterstock)

Technology created for space missions could save lives on the NHS thanks to a £4m initiative.

The money from the UK Space Agency will be split up to four ways, converting technology originally made for use in space, such as for exploration and satellite communications, into medical applications.

Previous examples of space technology being adapted for NHS use include a pill camera that can be swallowed by patients, dementia-tracking slippers, breast screening vans that beam images to assessment centres, wearable monitors to help prevent falls among the elderly, and apps that help prevent skin cancer.

The joint initiative with NHS England is looking for high-tech solutions to the biggest health and care challenges, including meeting mental health needs and diagnosing cancer earlier. The two other key challenges outlined by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens were managing long-term conditions, and transforming GP services and other primary care.

“Throughout its 70-year history the NHS has been at the forefront of healthcare innovation,” said Professor Tony Young, clinical director for innovation for NHS England. “Through this competition we are seeking the latest, greatest, ideas and technical solutions to help address the modern challenges facing our health and care services.”

The UK’s space industry builds 40% of the world’s small satellites and 25% of the world’s telecommunications satellites. It supports 40,000 jobs and generates £14bn in revenue across the country.

Companies and innovators can apply for the funding. For more information, email

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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