New investment will see life-changing technology developed here

New research centre for rehabilitation

On 13 November 2023, Nottingham was named as one of 14 new HealthTech Research Centres by the National Institute for Health and Care Research. These will be established from 1 April 2024 and the new Centre in Nottingham will focus on research into technology to support adults and children who need rehabilitation.

Here's a summary of our plans:

Why rehabilitation?

People with potentially life-changing injury, trauma and illness deserve the best rehabilitation. New technology is key to advancing this. The Nottingham HealthTech Research Centre (RHC) will focus on developing and applying new technologies to transform patients’ lives.

Medical advances have significantly improved survival rates after major injury and illness. However, these life-saving advances have not been matched by the same improvement in rehabilitation to ensure recovery towards good quality of life. For many patients their ongoing needs are currently unmet.

Recognising people might need rehabilitation at any time in their lives and focusing on needs across their life-course, rather than specific clinical conditions, we cut through any narrow-focused silos, creating solutions with wider applications. Embedded in the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), we will work across acute, primary care, residential and social care.

New technologies are a vital part of meeting these needs. The UK is a healthcare technology leader, with 4,000 companies and revenue of £21bn. The industry consists mainly of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). These often have limited resources or capacity, so need the support mechanisms of the HRC to thrive.

Why Nottingham?

Nottingham is uniquely placed to lead this research based on:

  • Our proven track record in innovation – conceiving, developing and applying technologies to improve patient care

  • Our thriving ecosystem of NHS, industry and academic expertise focused on rapidly developing new technologies

  • Clinicians, health and social care professionals who are already leading the world in new models of rehabilitation

  • Committed, diverse and engaged patients who we work with to design better and more effective technologies

What we aim to achieve

  • Enable patients to experience new technologies in a purpose-built centre of excellence

  • Working with the National Rehabilitation Centre to develop technology which will enable patients to recover faster and better after serious injury or illness. The HRC will support access to innovative technologies.

  • Increasing industry engagement and giving access to expertise to support developers. Nottingham and the East Midlands is already a successful test-bed for medical technologies. We have the capability and, through the NRC, increasing capacity to support developers, alongside current service provision.

  • Benefitting patients in greatest need through technology. By working with patients to develop technologies which can be used at home, we will support greater independence and empower individuals to shape their own recovery.

  • Widen participation and adoption of technologies in underserved communities. Participation rates in rehabilitation are lower for patients at social or economic disadvantage. The HRC will work with partners who deliver rehabilitation in a wide range of settings, including some of the most deprived local authority in England. This collaboration, therefore, is well-placed to ensure technology is appropriate and supported.

  • Realise the personal, community and social benefits of vocational rehabilitation. Technology can provide faster, more effective support to return to work, benefitting individuals, families and communities, as well as the wider economy. For example, each year 1.4 million people attend A&E with head injuries; many need rehabilitation.

Who is involved?

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust is working with our partners in:

The new Centre will be led by Professor Dan Clark, Head of Clinical Engineering at NUH and Professor Pip Logan, Professor of Rehabilitation Research at the University of Nottingham.