Oxford Brookes University has been awarded funding to develop four innovative projects which aim to help the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The funding is part of a £40m government investment to fast-track new technology while supporting the UK’s next generation of cutting-edge small businesses.
More than 8,600 projects applied for funding of up to £50,000 in a competition run by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, with just over 800 projects selected from across the UK.
The four projects awarded funding are:
- HandHeld Health, based at Oxford Brookes, is a start-up company creating a mobile exercise app to help people recovering from coronavirus back to full fitness. The app will tailor an exercise programme based around existing conditions or diseases. The app is due to go live by September and the data collected will be used to help health professionals understand more about the lasting effects of the virus as well as offer a cost effective long term rehabilitation pathway.
- Bristol-based company 500 More will work with Oxford Brookes’s Clinical Allied Technology and Trial Services Unit (OxCATTS), to develop an app to monitor people’s recovery from COVID by measuring walking. This will help healthcare professionals and patients alike, by empowering them to track their own recovery in a quick, cheap and scientifically validated way. Work on the app is nearly complete and the team aims to start first trials before the end of the year, leading to a registered medical device by the start of 2021.
- Software company Syndeo, based in Belfast, will work with Oxford Brookes to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) app that monitors people’s emotional reactions and helps improve their mental health and wellbeing. The app will incorporate insights from experts in organisational behaviour at Oxford Brookes Business School.
- Good Boost, a social enterprise delivering water-based rehabilitation programmes, will be working with Oxford Brookes’s Clinical Allied Technology and Trial Services Unit (OxCATTS), to move to land-exercise to support people at home who have had their physiotherapy or joint surgery appointments altered or affected. Good Boost are using state-of-the-art AI methodologies to produce personalised exercise plans for users.
Welcoming the funding, Professor Linda King, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Global Partnerships at Oxford Brookes, said: “The impact of the COVID-19 crisis has changed people’s lives and the society that we live in. As we now begin to emerge from the current lockdown and enter a period of recovery, there is a greater need than ever for us to drive purposeful digital innovation. These four projects are a great example of our mission to be at the forefront of innovation while supporting the small businesses of tomorrow.”