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CPI Announces Start of National Centre for Healthcare Photonics Project

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) has announced that the infrastructure design of the National Healthcare Photonics Centre has officially started. The centre is set to be opened in 2018, subject to full funding approval, and will be located at NETPark, County Durham.

One of the most interesting and fastest developing areas in healthcare is the use of light to diagnose and treat medical conditions and illnesses, collectively known as Healthcare Photonics. It is an exciting and rapidly growing area globally, as the demand for non-invasive, cost-effective, rapid and/or personalised care and treatment rises. Applications are wide ranging from monitoring of physiological parameters to wound, skin and cancer care and other applications in neurology and ophthalmology.

CPI’s new centre will provide the facilities and expertise needed to help companies of all sizes to develop their photonics based technologies for healthcare and turn them into commercially viable products.

Phase 1 of the project will run between July 2016 to March 2017, and will focus on the design of infrastructure and further development of the centre’s offering via a collaborative partnership model. CPI will partner with the academic, medical and clinical communities, supply and value chain partners as well as key players within the healthcare innovation ecosystem.

Dr Arun Harish, Head of Development, Healthcare Photonics at CPI says “We are delighted that the Phase 1 of the Centre development has now begun. We are seeking guidance from our industry led advisory group as well as from potential users of the Centre to inform our design and infrastructure build. The UK has world class research capability in this area of healthcare photonics and a key challenge is to reduce the barriers that are preventing early research and inventions from moving beyond the laboratory and into innovative healthcare solutions for patients. The creation of the National Centre will allow more early-stage companies and SMEs to drive forward their innovation, and increase their chances of commercialisation. This will also stimulate and encourage large companies in the UK to undertake more innovation activities, at reduced risk and with increased capital efficiencies.“

The North East is already home to a number of innovative SMEs working in healthcare photonics and CPI with receiving initial support from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) to establish the centre. Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP Chair, adds, “The life sciences are a smart specialisation area for the North East LEP, which means we are committed to supporting those working within this field to unlock further innovations, capabilities and economic wealth.

“CPI leads significant national activity in healthcare and life sciences and this latest initiative showcases how truly innovative its practices are. The new National Healthcare Photonics Centre is a strong example of why our global reputation for excellence in healthcare is growing fast.”

The healthcare photonics project is funded by the North East LEP as part of the North East Growth Deal (Local Growth Fund) from Government. The Local Growth Fund is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport across the North East LEP area.

CPI is the process industry element of the UK government’s national manufacturing strategy and a member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult – the network of technology and innovation centres tasked with stimulating growth within key manufacturing sectors throughout the UK. CPI works with industry, academia and the public sector to develop, prove, prototype and scale up the next generation of products and processes.

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