Release date: 23 November 2010
The Technology Strategy Board and Design Council announce drive for innovative solutions to the challenges of the UK’s ageing population.
Innovative new technologies, systems and approaches to help older people stay well while living independent and fulfilling lives are to be developed through a new £2million programme called Independence Matters, announced today. The programme, delivered by the Technology Strategy Board and the Design Council, will see designers, industry, and young people working in partnership with older people to jointly develop and test new systems and services which tackle issues of mobility, healthy eating, staying fit and keeping connected to friends, family and the younger generation.
Independence Matters will support the creation of new design and technology- led solutions developed within the context of older people’s lives. Enabling older people to live longer in their own home is a particularly pressing issue. Over 65’s will make up almost a quarter (23%) of the UK population by 2034, according to the Office for National Statistics, and by 2025, almost 1.5 million people in the UK will be living with an age-related disability.
Announcing the programme, Minister of State for Higher Education and Science David Willetts said:
"The Government sees enormous value in technologies which reduce social isolation. This project will help to bridge the generation gap - using communication technologies to keep elderly people more connected to family, friends and carers, as well as local communities. These new solutions promise not only to help people to stay independent for longer, but they also open up new market opportunities for UK business.”
Independence Matters involves two projects:
Home and Away will generate innovative solutions to help people to live independently for longer. The Technology Strategy Board will offer SBRI development contracts to enable designers and businesses to work with older adults and third sector organisations.
Keeping Connected aims to design and deliver designs for technology enabled systems and services that improve the quality of life of older people, while working in a new way with young people in schools engaging with older people, designers and industry. The idea is to harness the creativity and information technology ability of young people, along with the life experience and needs of older people, to generate concepts that are then developed into market-ready services and products by industry.
Independence matters will be rolled out over the next two years and draw upon the expertise and skills of business, the talents of top designers, the knowledge and experience of third sector organisations, the wishes and aspirations of older people and the ’know-how’ of younger more technologically aware generations.
Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board Iain Gray said: “We are aiming to trial innovative new ways to help people live healthy, fulfilling and independent lives. At the same time, we will be working to help UK businesses to exploit lucrative new markets by developing innovative systems and services which they can export around the world”
Independence Matters is one of the largest programmes ever undertaken by the Design Council. David Kester, Chief Executive of the Design Council said: “Design excels in finding new ways to solve complex social challenges – and they don’t come much more important than helping our current and future ageing population to live healthy, fulfilling and independent lives. This is not just a ‘must-do’ for our society - it also makes great business sense for designers, service providers and manufacturers to develop new innovations to capitalise on what is a massive and growing global market.”
Further announcements launching the various elements of Independence Matters projects will be made in the coming weeks. To find out more, visit www.designcouncil.org.uk/independencematters
The programme is being run through the Technology Strategy Board’s Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP), which is responding to the challenge of the demographic shift – in essence promoting independent living and improved quality of life by making the technology better, cheaper, more desirable and more relevant
1. Keeping Connected aims to design and deliver solutions that improve the quality of life of older people whilst working in a new way with young people in schools, engaging with older people and designers. Their work will form the inspiration for an industry challenge, whereby new solutions to connect across generations will be prototyped and developed. The idea is to harness the creativity and information technology ability of young people, along with the life experience and needs of older people, to generate concepts that are then developed into services and systems by industry which can then be taken to market. Schools will be invited to take part in the project in December and projects will be underway by March. Click here to find out more
2. Home & Away aims to enable older people to remain living in their own home for as long as they wish, by developing innovative solutions that support independent living. This programme will be delivered through an SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) competition and the work will be design-led with significant financial backing to deliver solutions that can then be taken to market. It is likely that this programme will respond to two key needs – mobility and food/nutrition. It will run from November 2010 – December 2012 (approximately). Applications for the SBRI project will be invited in February 2011. Click here to find out more
3. Assisted Living Innovation Platform. The programme is being run through the Technology Strategy Board’s Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP), which is responding to the challenge of the demographic shift – in essence promoting independence by making technology better, cheaper and more desirable. The ALIP aims to significantly advance the technology to meet the demand for independent living from the expected increase in the numbers of people suffering from long term conditions and age-related disability. By 2021 half of the UK’s adult population will be over 50 and by 2025 almost 1.5 million people will be living with an age-related disability. Click here to find out more.
4. SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) is co-ordinated by the Technology Strategy Board. The initiative is designed to encourage government departments and other agencies to ensure that they invest in innovative companies and that the departments are procuring innovative solutions to some of the challenges that they face. The aim of SBRI is to use the power of government procurement to drive technology development, especially in early-stage companies, supporting projects through the stages of prototyping and demonstration, which are typically hard to fund. SBRI offers an excellent opportunity for businesses to develop and demonstrate technology, supported by a customer, and to reach the first rung on the government procurement ladder. Click here to find out more
5. The Design Council: places design at the heart of growth and renewal in Britain and shows how design can help build a stronger economy and improve everyday life. Find out more about their work: www.designcouncil.org.uk
6. The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the government. Its role is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of life. It is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). For more information please visit www.innovateuk.org.
Press enquiries should be directed to
Claire Cunningham, Media Relations Manager, Technology Strategy Board. 0755 4115745 mailto: Claire.Cunningham@tsb.gov.uk.
and / or
Nigel Campbell, Head of Communications, Design Council 020 7420 5282 firstname.lastname@example.org