With a £5 million capital investment from the UK Government, Scotland’s National Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI) – a collaboration between The Glasgow School of Art and the University of Strathclyde – is to deliver a Rural Centre of Excellence for Digital Health and Care Innovation as the first project to commence as part of the Moray Growth Deal.
DHI has worked closely with the Moray community and partners since 2018 to identify and refine the key challenges and opportunities digital health and care innovation could bring to the local region and takes into consideration experiences over the last 18 months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding programme aims to support the remobilisation of health and care services and the economic recovery of the Moray region, by investing in research and innovation activities aligned to the digital health and care agenda.
The programme will include the creation of a state-of-the-art, anchored, demonstration and simulation environment (DSE) and an enabling cloud infrastructure along with a spread of five co-designed Living Lab testbeds across the Moray region.
The Living Labs will focus on remobilisation and recovery of care services from COVID-19. The Living Labs will be open to all and focus on co-managed wellness, home first, mental health, smart housing and communities, and unscheduled care, reflecting the priorities identified through stakeholder engagement.
All research and development projects will be co-designed with person-centred needs at the heart of programmed activity and will deliver real-world evidence that will enable the innovations to be embedded in local services and potentially scaled to other parts of Scotland, the rest of the UK and globally.
The digital health investment 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, develop future skills and equitable access, and also contribute to the Net Zero ambitions of the UK.
The multi-million pound investment for 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. DHI is thrilled to lead the very first project to commence as part of the Moray Growth Deal.
Professor George Crooks OBE, Chief Executive, Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre, said: “The Moray Growth Deal, having digital health and care as one of its key priorities ensures that we can position Moray and Scotland at the forefront of digital health and care innovation. This will not only benefit the people of Moray and Scotland but will create opportunities for Scottish businesses to grow and develop innovative products as well as secure inward investment. DHI is very pleased to be a strategic partner in the Growth Deal.”
Janette Hughes, Director of Planning & Performance, Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre, said: “In working with the Moray Growth team and key stakeholders, I strongly believe this programme will bring high potential opportunities to the Moray region, to transform services for the citizens of Moray, and create job and skills opportunities for the region. I am very excited about the impact this will make over the coming years.”
Simon Bokor-Ingram, Chief Officer for the Moray Health and Social Care Portfolio, said: “I am delighted that health and social care services have this opportunity to contribute through transformation to the lives of our residents, not only directly through how we deliver services, but also to the wider potential prosperity of our communities”.
Leader of Moray Council, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, said: “The signing of the Moray Growth Deal marks the culmination of a huge amount of work by the Council, our local public and private sector partners, alongside the Scottish & UK Governments. The work done to get to this stage should not be underestimated and has put the meat on the bones of 100 million pounds worth of innovation projects for Moray.
“The leadership of the individual projects by the Council, Moray College UHI, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Scotland’s National Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre has required significant investment of time, energy and early finance to develop them to this stage. This has been underpinned by cross-party and cross-governmental support providing the necessary confidence to drive the overall Deal forwards.
“Moving forwards the Digital Health project is already underway, land acquisition is being pursued in other projects, new electric buses are on order for the Bus Revolution project and designs are moving to an advanced stage.
“One of the major boosts of this work has been the partnership working between different organisations, which has grown substantially, and the benefits of this close working and strengthened relationships will extend far beyond the Growth Deal.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “This major investment into Moray will be truly transformational, supporting the area, its people and businesses to reach their full potential.
“Projects including a world-class aerospace campus, manufacturing innovation centre and digital health centre will help turn Moray into a hub for engineering, research and development, fueling the regional economy and creating high quality jobs. The development of a Cultural Quarter in Elgin will also support economic growth while proudly showcasing the area's unique heritage and culture.
"The UK Government's £32.5 million support for the deal is part of £1.7 billion we are investing right across Scotland to level up communities and build back better from the pandemic."
Scottish Government Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “I am delighted to sign the Moray Growth Deal today confirming Scottish Government investment of up to £32.5 million in a range of projects that will boost the region’s economy.
“At a time of such unprecedented challenge and uncertainty it is important that we continue to build strategically for the longer term to drive innovation in key sectors, create jobs and equip local people with the skills they need to compete for opportunities. The growth deal package is supporting a range of projects designed by local partners that will do exactly that.
“Projects supported with Scottish Government investment will improve access to sustainable transport, deliver affordable housing, grow the region’s visitor economy, support business growth – including cutting edge innovation in manufacturing – and develop the pipeline of future talent in technology and engineering needed to support key industry sectors.
“The deal is about investing in local people, local projects, and local priorities, with our partners to create opportunities for all and I am delighted we have reached this milestone today.”
More information on the Full Moray Growth Deal can be found on the Moray Council website.