Challenge Fund Update – November 2018

by Kate Adam, Creative England

Since the programme launched on the 1st November 2017, the Challenge Fund has approved grants of just under £300,000* to 24 SMEs delivering digital health projects in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

There has been a huge range in projects, all meeting the challenges laid out by the key stakeholder groups at the beginning of the programme from a robotic medicine dispensing system (Robohealth), a social prescribing platform (Made Open) and a video role-play training service (Actorbank.)

A number of projects have been born from ideas or connections that emerged at EPIC project events, this includes Orthocontrol – a digital solution for sufferers of dental anxiety, a project developing a new Therapeutic Robot (Robotriks) and a platform that provides support and networking services for organisations involved in clinical research (eTrial Hub.)

18 companies have been approved for small feasibility grants to scope out work, research markets and develop Minimum Viable Products:

Orthocontrol Ltd A digital solution for sufferers of dental anxiety
Inspire Cornwall CIC Adding audio capacity to the DadPad app
Robotriks Ltd A project to produce a companion robot for the elderly by using customisable soft robotics
Ultramed Ltd A feasibility study to understand the costs and impact of adding in a reporting functionality to an online preoperative assessment service.
Robohealth Global Ltd Feasibility to research costings, materials, software and tooling’s needed to design and manufacture a Robotic Pharmacy Dispensing System.
Hydration Care Consultancy Limited Feasibility to gather end-user evidence on the validity of an app version of the ‘Reliance On a Carer’ (ROC) system.
icareimove Ltd Feasibility to review if the iCiM platform can support culture change in individuals’ post-acute care by offering a technology based solution to increase activity and prevent re-admission.
Kernow Health CIC A partnership with Goonhilly Earth Station to evaluate the potential of using the existing iDirect satellite technology to provide better connection between the regions GP’s
Hi9 Limited A project to use bots that operate through voice, mobile and messenger platforms to reduce unnecessary GP visits.
AvatarJo, part of ActorBank A partnership with Three Spires GP practice in Truro, to run a user led trial, to test and explore the potential of a video role-play training service for GPs.
Infinite Choice Media Limited A feasibility to evaluate market demand for a diagnostic tool which captures employee feedback to improve engagement and health benefits.
Access Robotics LTD A feasibility grant to fund the early R&D of a Wheelchair Mounted Robotic Arm.
Service Robotics Ltd A 4 week project to address the feasibility of a 50 robot pilot of the GenieConnect solution (a voice activated robot for the elderly population) in Cornwall.
Get Better Everything Ltd A project to design and build a collection of wellbeing game Apps for mobile phones, to build a network of socially responsible users utilising games to bring relief to the symptoms of their disorders.
Native Cornwall Ltd An application to encourage and support more children to exercise.
Kernow Health Solutions ForMyMinute – an app based preparation tool for patient-doctor consultations.
Optiadapt CIC Optiadapt’s feasibility is for a prototype physical activity log, (web application and database to capture client data) which will provide a comprehensive and accurate means of capturing physical activity.
Package My Care A feasibility to assess the viability of a platform to connect patients wanting at home care with care providers in their local area.

6 companies have been approved for larger development grants ranging from £20,000 – £65,000:

Rocklands Media Limited An app making clinical trial participation a digital end to end process for participants
Made Open A project to develop and take to market a ‘community prescribing’ digital platform that harnesses community resources and links people to non-medical support
Elephant Kiosks Ltd To further develop a modular self-health kiosk to increase the personalisation experience for patients.
Wholesome World A nutrition and recipe app initially aimed at cancer patients and their families.
Robohealth Global Ltd The development of the Robotic Pharmacy Dispensing System.
eTrial Hub Limited To develop a worldwide organisation that provides support and networking services for organisations involved in clinical research.

All projects need to be complete by December 2019, but we still have almost £300,000 in grants still available. We offer feasibility grants of up to £5,000 and there is no match fund­ing requirement for these smaller grants. Larger development grants are available from £5,000 – £100,000. There is a match fund­ing element to the larger development grants, but please feel free to speak to the Creative England team about this if you have any questions.

The Challenge fund team review applications weekly and once approved, applicants re­ceive 50% of their grant upfront. The second half is paid once the project is complete and the full project costs have been defrayed and evidenced.

Applications can be submitted via  

In addition to the financial support companies have gained from the EPIC programme, there have been a series of events since the project began to provide non-financial busi­ness support. We have provided companies with one-to-one businesses consultancy, giv­ing advice and guidance to help set-up their new businesses, talking through their health tech ideas, reviewing grant applications, and connecting companies with each other to build a stronger eHealth ecosystem.

We have held networking events for organisations interested in behaviour change apps, different types of funding, NHS procurement and sector specific innovation, as well as pro­viding opportunities for people to learn how to manage their health tech projects in an Agile way. In 2019 we will be holding events all over the county, from the Isles of Scilly to Bude, so if you’d like to be kept informed of what’s going on, sign up to our newsletter, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter and keep an eye out for our events.

*Current approved grant total as of 6/11/18 is £298,806

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