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eHealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall (EPIC) Fund

EPIC helps eHealth innovators find the funding and support they need to prove their solution in the UK’s healthcare system – and start changing lives.

eHealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall (EPIC) is a one-of-a-kind project led by the University of Plymouth’s Centre for Health Technology and funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The project offers a challenge fund dedicated to growing the eHealth sector across Cornwall, offering businesses the support they need to get their eHealth innovations into the marketplace. EPIC helps eHealth innovators connect with health and care professionals and academics across the region to prove the value of their solutions – and ultimately, help secure the funding they need to succeed.

Alongside its challenge fund, EPIC also offers a unique demonstration centre, student internships, and collaborations with health technology partners across the region.

Q) What sort of businesses does EPIC work with?

EPIC’s project is all about new ideas, which means it’s open to working with anyone with a compelling pitch, from students to healthcare professionals with decades of experience.

The EPIC team works closely with businesses to develop their ideas, whether it’s a minimum viable product or ready for sale. Ideally, EPIC is looking to work with SMEs based in Cornwall who want to work in eHealth, or are looking to pivot existing ideas into the region’s health sector.

But it’s not a strict quota – the project is flexible, and EPIC wants to hear from anyone with a compelling idea that’ll improve the quality of life and wellbeing of others. The team is especially interested in addressing specific challenges like rurality and accessibility to healthcare in Cornwall.

Health technology
Q) What makes EPIC a compelling fund for regional, national, and international businesses?

EPIC is more than just a challenge fund. It works closely with the South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN), who administer the fund on EPIC’s behalf and support businesses with expertise throughout the process.

The project offers dedicated services for businesses, health and care professionals, academics, and students – covering everything from expert-led internships to its demonstration centre that showcases innovations in the region.

EPIC’s team also hosts regular events, like its recent ‘Meet the World’ series. These collaborative workshops united innovators from around the world to explore key ideas and share business advice on topics like preparing to export and securing finance.

Q) How does the funding process work?

EPIC has a straightforward application process that makes it easy to get started and offers support at every step.

When you contact EPIC, a team member will guide you through an online questionnaire to determine whether your idea is a good fit for the project. At this point, if your idea isn’t suitable for EPIC, the team will direct you to a more appropriate support organisation.

If your idea or business is a good fit for EPIC, and you wish to apply for the challenge fund, you’ll get a chance to meet with the Grants Manager, who will take you through the official application form. The Grants Manager will look through your completed form before sending it to the committee, who will then decide whether your funding will be awarded.

There isn’t a guarantee that funding will be awarded, but EPIC’s team will always offer feedback to unsuccessful applicants, who can then decide if they’d like to reapply or seek alternative finance.

Most importantly, EPIC is flexible and dedicated to helping businesses complete their application as quickly as possible. This means the team will adapt its support to meet your needs, and help you quickly find out if your idea is suitable for the project.

Q) How long is the funding processes, from application to award?

EPIC’s team are quick to respond to any enquiries, and initial conversations can take around 45 minutes to scope out your idea and determine if it might be suitable.

Following this introduction, the application is quick to complete, and the funding committee meets approximately every six weeks to determine which ideas will receive support. The funding terms are then agreed upon between the SWAHSN and the business applying for funding.

Q) Is there a time limit to the fund?

The challenge fund is technically open until the end of 2022, but it may close a few months earlier if all the funds are allocated.

Since the fund opened in September 2020, it’s already had an impressive response, but there’s no need to panic – EPIC’s team is on hand for support if you still need to work through your idea. And it’s important to note; you can always reapply if you’re not successful on your first application.

Q) Where can I find out more about EPIC?

If you think you’ve got an idea that fits with EPIC’s funding requirements, or you just want to find out more about the services the project offers, get in touch with us today or visit the EPIC website.

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