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Grant Reilly


9th June 2022

Moray Rural Centre of Excellence for Digital Health and Care Innovation Launch

Scotland’s world-leading work in Digital Health showcased as Moray Rural Centre of Excellence launched

The launch of the Moray Rural Centre of Excellence for Digital Health and Care Innovation was marked today with an official visit from UK and Scottish Government representatives. Iain Stewart MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland and Richard Lochhead MSP, attended the launch which took place at The Glasgow School of Art’s Highlands and Islands campus.

On the visit Mr Stewart and Mr Lochhead were able to see first-hand some of world-leading research in the key area of digital health and learn more about future innovations particularly in the area of co-design, which are being made possible through major investment from the Moray Growth Deal. Among the projects that were showcased were SCOTCAP a video capsule endoscopy developed to replace or complement existing colonoscopy services.

The £5 million project, a UK Government investment, aims to support the remobilisation of health and care services and the economic recovery of the Moray region through investment in research and innovation activities aligned to the digital health and care agenda. It is the first Moray Growth Deal project to commence.

The Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre, a world-leading collaboration between The Glasgow School of Art and the University of Strathclyde, will be spearheading the development and delivery of the projects alongside key strategic partners.

The Moray Rural Centre of Excellence for Digital Health and Care Innovation will house a state-of-the-art, demonstration and simulation environment (DSE) and an enabling cloud infrastructure. There will also be a spread of five co-designed “Living Lab” testbeds across the Moray region.

The Living Labs, which will be open to all, will focus on thematic areas including co-managed health and wellbeing, care in place, mental health, and smart housing and communities, reflecting the priorities identified through stakeholder engagement.

All research and development will be co-designed ensuring that the end-user has a vital voice in the development of the products and services. The person-centred needs at the heart of programmed activity will deliver real-world evidence that will enable the innovations to be embedded in local services, potentially scaled to other parts of Scotland, the rest of the UK and globally.

The specialist innovation skills offered will help support Moray to create a dynamic and creative digital health and care cluster, enhancing recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and secure the provision of sustainable public services whilst creating inclusive growth through the creation of new jobs, development of future skills and equitable access, whilst also contributing to the Net Zero ambitions of Scotland and the UK.

The multi-million-pound investment of the Moray Growth Deal - a contribution of £32.5 million each from the UK and Scottish Governments is set to be bolstered with further funding from regional partners, contributing to Moray’s economic growth.

Fuller details on the eight projects being delivered over the lifespan of the Moray Growth Deal are available online. 

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: 

“Digital innovation in healthcare has huge potential for improving the quality, accuracy, timeliness and cost of diagnosis and treatments in our NHS.

"This will have a particularly positive impact for Moray's communities, who will benefit greatly from advancements in remote medicine.

"The UK Government is investing £5m in this exciting initiative that will put the region at the forefront of new technologies and practices and is part of the £2 billion we are putting into projects levelling up across Scotland."

Richard Lochhead, MSP, said: 

“This is an exciting development that will boost Moray’s profile as a centre of digital healthcare and innovation with some of Scotland’s leading institutions coming together to make it happen. For many years Moray has been spoken about as an ideal location for testing digital healthcare innovation given that we have all sizes of populations as well as being largely rural at the same time. I hope that local residents are amongst the first to benefit from such innovations.”

Professor George Crooks OBE, Chief Executive, Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre, said:

“The development of a Rural Centre of Excellence will not only become a catalyst for innovation and the development and delivery of next generation digital health and care products and services, that will benefit the people of Moray but will ensure they will also be made available both nationally and internationally”.

“Our aim is to establish Moray as a key part of the international digital health and care ecosystem, creating a supportive environment for Scottish and UK businesses to start up and or grow as well as become a focus for inward investment. DHI through its international networks has already stimulated significant interest in this initiative and will be seeking to consolidate emerging opportunities over the coming weeks and months.”

Convener of Moray Council, Councillor Marc Macrae, said: 

“The official launch of the MRCE is a significant milestone in delivering the Deal here in Moray. The prospect of Moray being an international leader in digital health is hugely exciting and made possible due to the investment and vote of confidence in Moray's economic potential.”

Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam, Director of Research and Innovation at The Glasgow School of Art and Director of the GSA’s Forres Campus said: 

“As a founder member the GSA has been helping to deliver pioneering work in digital health through the DHI for the last decade, and here at our Forres campus for over 5 years. The outcomes of this ongoing collaboration with the University of Strathclyde are powerful examples of the world-leading research being undertaken by Scotland’s universities, which were recognised in the recent UK-wide Research Excellence Framework.

Through the DHI we are delighted to be part of this new, important partnership with Moray Council, supported by both the UK and Scottish Government. It will harness the potential of digital and virtual innovation and put co-design at the heart of the development process, giving people a real voice in the products and services which will support both their future health care and the local economy.”

Watch the MFR Radio Station interview with Prof George Crooks OBE

Additional information including arrangements for media bids: 

The Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI) 

The Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre is a national resource, funded by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council. A world-leading collaboration between The Glasgow School of Art and the University of Strathclyde, its focus is innovation in digital health and care helping the people of Scotland live longer, healthier lives while providing sustainable and inclusive growth for our economy. This activity includes attracting inward investment and trade missions with Scottish businesses.

We collaborate, co-design and transform great ideas into real solutions that have benefits to the system and Scotland’s citizens. We have several key assets open to our partners including our DHI Exchange, that provides access to open architecture to quickly prove data integration. This can often lead to the opportunity to gain access to a variety of Real-World Environments and living lab testbeds.

We work extensively with the Scottish Government, NHS, Local Government, Academic Institutions, Commercial organisations (SMEs through to Enterprise-level organisations) and our Citizens, who are at the heart of what we do and why we do it. We have a proven track record on the delivery of next-generation digital services focussed on empowering citizens to make better health and wellbeing choices, accessing services on their own terms and delivering more of their own care.

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