The UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency are challenging UK space technology firms to come up with innovative, space-enabled technologies that will strengthen the NHS response to the Covid-19 crisis.
The agencies have set aside an initial £2.6 million to fund technologies that meet pressing needs such as logistics in health delivery, managing infectious disease outbreaks, population health, post-crisis recovery of the health system and preparedness for future epidemics.
Nick Appleyard, Head of Downstream Business Applications at ESA’s European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, said: “Even in normal times, satellites and space technology offer solutions to our needs in connectivity and inclusion, in resilience and logistics, and to support healthcare provision in even the most extreme situations.
“The current circumstances challenge the space business community to show just how much it can offer, to help us through this a once in a century event. Speed is of the essence, so let us act without delay.”
Satellite data and drone technology can already help to meet challenges such as delivering test kits, masks, gowns and goggles and managing infectious disease outbreaks. Space-enabled solutions could include satellite communications, satellite navigation, Earth observation satellites or technology derived from human spaceflight.
In support of the programme, Professor Tony Young, the NHS National Clinical Lead for Innovation, said: “This is a global crisis that would overwhelm any health service on earth without strong action from the public and their public services, which is why the NHS is looking to industries across the world – or indeed from out of this world – for new and exciting innovations that could help improve the care we provide to patients or help the NHS respond to this pandemic.”
Businesses can apply to join the programme here