A European Space Agency (ESA) fund, which the UK is the leading investor in, will offer an initial £2.6m for projects to develop high-tech solutions for the challenges posed by Covid-19 to NHS England.
“The UK space industry has some of the brightest minds in the country and is well placed to support the unprecedented national effort to overcome the biggest threat the UK has faced for decades,” said the government announcement.
The space-enabled solutions could include satellite communications, navigation, Earth observation or technology derived from human spaceflight.
“From new, advanced software helping speed up cancer diagnoses, to satellite communications connecting GPs to patients virtually, the UK space sector has been world-leading in applying its innovations to supporting our brilliant NHS,” said science minister Amanda Solloway.
“This new funding will ensure that the latest innovations will be on the frontline of tackling the unique problems the coronavirus outbreak has created, helping medical staff to focus on delivering world-class care.”
Last year, the UK Space Agency provided £5m for new health technologies inspired by working in space to support NHS England. These included real-time diagnosis of bowel cancer, developing more compact 3D X-ray machines and a mobile app that provided exercise plans free from air pollution for those with medical conditions such as asthma.
The UK continues to be a leading member of ESA, which is independent of the EU, having committed a record investment of £374 million per year in November 2019.
Wednesday Apr 15, 2020