Entrepreneurs with potential technology solutions to major health challenges have been called upon to enter a £175,000 funding round backed by Innovate UK.

Jamie Oliver, Bupa and AXA PPP healthcare are amongst the brands looking for the next digital health innovator in a £175,000 competition funded by IC tomorrow, the digital arm of Innovate UK.

The fitbit is one of the most lucrative devices on the tech market

It is hoped that startups will come forward with apps or tech that could tackle issues like mental health, nutrition and improved wellbeing for the elderly.

Fitness tech is a huge market, with devices like Fitbit and Jawbone leading the way, but the government is looking at how it can bring innovative technology ideas into public and private healthcare in the UK.

The UK government estimates that the number of people over the age of 60 will rise to 20 million by 2030.

At the same time, psychological illnesses in young people are on the increase.

Wearables are predicted to take off within the NHS over the next five years, thanks to their vast potential to improve care and save money. However security, culture and funding stand in the way

It is hoped that this funding and call to action from the UK’s developers, engineers and entrepreneurs will back technology that could improve the quality of life and wellbeing of UK citizens of all ages.

As well as each receiving up to £35,000 in funding, five winners will also set up partnerships with industry leaders for a pre-commercial trial. This includes working with Bupa, Saga, AXA PPP healthcare and Toshiba.

Dr Mark Winwood, director of psychological services at AXA PPP healthcare said: “Maintaining the psychological health and wellbeing of our working population is one of the biggest challenges facing Britain today.

"The health technology revolution offers the chance to make a big difference and, as a result, we are delighted to support Innovate UK’s Quantified Self contest that will encourage a new generation of technology developers to bring healthcare into the hands of working age people.”

Chef, TV personality and healthy eating campaigner Jamie Oliver is also launching a category on quantified nutrition, following his latest TV documentary, which investigated sugar’s huge contribution to global health problems like obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The winning entrepreneurs will keep 100 per cent of their IP and will receive mentorship and promotion to help bring their solutions to market.

The categories

Re-imagining data capture: Bupa

Improved wellbeing in later life: Saga

Quantified nutrition: Jamie Oliver

Self-tracking for young people: Toshiba

Emotional wellbeing in working age: AXA PPP healthcare

Matt Sansam, lead technologist, digital economy and programme manager for IC tomorrow, said: “The interest around quantified self has grown remarkably in the last few years and it could prove to be an enormous growth area for UK businesses, creating new markets and boosting productivity. We have only scratched the surface of how we can use this technology.

“Once we can harness the huge amount of data that people are already sharing on their devices, there will be significant benefits in earlier health diagnostics and improved wellbeing. We look forward to seeing the new ideas that entrepreneurs can bring to this space”

The deadline for applications is noon, Tuesday 27 October 2015. Shortlisted entries will be invited to a live pitch and Q&A with a panel of judges. The final trial launch for successful applicants is scheduled to take place in autumn 2016.

There will be a briefing event in London on the 21st September. Full information on the contest is available here.

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