Following the successful launch of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) for dementia, and subsequent awards to seven businesses, NHS South East Coast and the Technology Strategy Board, supported by SEHTA (South East Health Technology Alliance), are issuing a new SBRI on strokes.

Strokes are a blood clot or bleed in the brain which can cause lasting damage, affecting mobility, thinking, sight or communication. Strokes have a major impact on individual lives and on the nation’s health and economy.

Businesses are now being invited to bid for contracts in support of this initiative - the closing date for applications is the 16th of December 2010, with the awards made available from February 2011.

“£300,000 is now being made available to businesses which are able to demonstrate innovation in several areas in aid of stroke victims as well as the prevention of strokes,” says Dr David Parry, CEO of SEHTA. “More than 100,000 people in England have a stroke each year and this is likely to increase as the population ages, so prevention is a critical element of the research and potential solutions brought about through this award.

“There will be a strong emphasis on identifying people with AF (Atrial Fibrillation), enabling remote monitoring and treatment of AF and support for rehabilitation and recovery for people recovering from a stroke. SEHTA works with many innovative businesses and we are strongly encouraging our members and other businesses to present their ideas.”

The SBRI awards fully-funded development contracts which are open to all companies registered and operating within the European Union.

SBRI competitions are open to all companies and designed to stimulate new technology either as a standalone solution or underpinning a service solution for specific public sector needs.

SBRI is a mechanism which enables public sector bodies to connect with innovative ideas and technology businesses to provide innovative solutions to specific public sector challenges and needs. New technical solutions are created through accelerated technology development, whilst risk is reduced through a phased development programme.

Facts about strokes

  • 110,000 people in England have a stroke each year
  • Stroke is the third largest cause of death in England; 11% of deaths are caused by stroke
  • Stroke accounts for a major part of the gap in life expectancy between the most deprived areas of England and the population as a whole
  • Around 900,000 people are living in England who have had a stroke
  • 300,000 people in England are living with moderate to severe disability as a result of stroke
  • 25% of strokes occur in people under 65 years of age
  • The estimated cost of stroke to the NHS is at least £3 billion annually

The wider economic cost is estimated at £7 billion each year; £2.5 billion of informal care costs (e.g. the costs of home nursing borne by carers) and £1.8 billion in income lost to productivity and disability

By Claire West