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Innovative data science solutions to improve cancer care and outcomes in Scotland

Organisations can apply for a share of £425,000 (including VAT) for innovative data science solutions to improve cancer care and outcomes in Scotland through a two phase funding competition.

 

Summary

The Data Lab, funded by the Scottish Funding Council, and in collaboration with DHI Scotland and Stratified Medicine Scotland, will fund up to £425,000 for or innovative data science solutions to improve cancer care and outcomes in Scotland

This funding call uses the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI). The goal of this challenge is to develop solutions using existing NHS Scotland data to improve cancer patient care and outcomes in Scotland.

Proposed solutions should achieve at least one of the following broad objectives:

  • Enable analysis of unstructured data (e.g. clinical notes, medical imaging)
  • Enable data driven clinical decisions
  • Enable data driven service improvement in the NHS
  • Enable data driven recruitment for clinical trials
  • Enable the adoption of precision medicine approaches

Organisations can carry out the project on their own or in collaboration with other partners.

This competition has 2 Phases. Up to £175,000 (including VAT) is allocated for Phase 1, and up to £250,000 (including VAT) for Phase 2:

  • Phase 1: Feasibility study. Projects should last up to 3 months. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £35,000 (including VAT) each.
  • Phase 2: Development and Evaluation. Projects should last up to 6 months. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £125,000 (including VAT) each.

 

The Data Lab, funded by the Scottish Funding Council, and in collaboration with DHI Scotland and Stratified Medicine Scotland reserve the right to adjust the provisional funding allocations between the two Phases. The total funding available for the competition may be subject to change.

 

The competition opens at midday 8 September 2017.

You must register to apply before midnight 27 October 2017.

You must submit your full application by midnight 10 November 2017

You should register online to attend the Information Session and Collider Event for Interested Applicants on 12 October 2017 by 29 September 2017. (NB the event will be live-streamed for those unable to attend in person)

The Cancer Innovation Challenge is an opportunity for you to make a real difference to the lives of cancer patients in Scotland and beyond.

Not right for your innovation project? View other Innovate UK funding competitions or Scottish Enterprise Open Innovation competitions
 

REGISTER TO APPLY NOW

1. Dates and Deadlines

Competition opens - midday 8 September 2017

Information session and collider event for interested applicants12.30-17.00, 12 October 2017

Registration deadline - midnight 27 October 2017

Application deadline - midnight 10 November 2017

2. Competition Scope

How can data science be applied to existing NHS Scotland data to improve cancer patient care and outcomes?

The goal of this challenge is to develop solutions using existing NHS Scotland data to improve cancer patient care and outcomes in Scotland. Proposed solutions should achieve at least one of the following broad objectives:

  • Enable analysis of unstructured data (e.g. clinical notes, medical imaging)
  • Enable data driven clinical decisions
  • Enable data driven service improvement in the NHS
  • Enable data driven recruitment for clinical trials
  • Enable the adoption of precision medicine approaches

Innovative approaches to these challenges will be expected to incorporate data science techniques from fields such as:

  • Predictive analytics
  • Visualisation
  • Machine learning
  • Natural language processing
  • Processing of structured and unstructured data

The competition is looking for solutions that are well designed, simple and accurate within the confines of a modern healthcare system, respecting clinical confidentiality whilst providing a degree of accuracy which has the confidence of clinicians, patients and health service managers alike.

Any solution must integrate with components of the NHS eHealth architecture. Critically, a key goal will be to provide a solution that can be implemented to benefit directly Scottish patients and the wider service.

The ultimate aim of the challenge is to fundamentally change the way data and analytics are used to drive improvement in cancer outcomes in Scotland.

3. Projects that we won’t fund

In this competition, we are not funding projects that:

  • duplicate existing solutions or research showing how the use of data can improve care and are of value to clinicians, patients and health services
4. Find out if you are eligible to apply

This funding competition is not just for organisations already working in the healthcare sector. The Cancer Innovation Challenge is looking for innovation from any organisations with experience of working with large complex, heterogeneous data sets in a safe environment.

To lead a project you must be an organisation of any size based in the European Union (EU) and can demonstrate a credible and practical route to market

Organisations can carry out the project on their own or in a consortium with others.  However, in order to access non-open source non-consented NHS Scotland data, a private sector organisation must have a partner with an Approved Institution, namely public sector organisations such as universities, NHS and local authorities. Further details can be found in Section 10.

5. Funding and project details

The Cancer Innovation Challenge has allocated up to £425,000 (inc VAT) to fund innovation projects in this competition.

This is divided across 2 Phases:

  • up to £175,000 (including VAT) is for Phase 1
  • up to £250,000 (including VAT) is for Phase 2

Phase 1

In Phase 1 you will show the feasibility of your proposed innovation. This will need to include the establishing of any necessary partnerships that are not already set at the point of application and also the undertaking of information governance approvals, and associated costs, for access to data (should your project need to do so). Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £35,000 (including VAT) each. Development contracts for feasibility studies should last up to 3 months. Phase 1 will have total funding of up to £175,000 (including VAT).

In the Phase 1 proposal, applicants should include their goals and an outline plan for Phase 2. This should cover testing in a live NHS system in Scotland. Proposals should also include an explicit plan for full commercial implementation.

All Phase 1 projects are expected to apply for Phase 2 at the end of Phase 1.

Phase 2

Phase 2 is only open to applicants that have successfully completed Phase 1. All Phase 1 projects are expected to apply for Phase 2 at the end of Phase 1. Up to two Phase 1 projects will be awarded Phase 2 funding. Phase 2 will involve the development and evaluation of prototypes with real data sets in a live NHS Scotland setting or approved National Safe Haven if appropriate and will require appropriate information governance approvals to be in place. Projects should last up to 6 months. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £125,000 (including VAT) each. Phase 2 will have total funding of up to £250,000 (including VAT). 

6. How to apply

Register and apply online. Please note that you once registered, you can submit more than one proposal.

We will not accept late submissions.

Your application is confidential.

A panel of selected experts will assess your proposal. We will then choose the best proposals from those that meet the aims of this competition.

If you need more information, please contact info [at] cancerchallengescotland.com (subject: Cancer%20Data%20competition%20query)

Read the competition documents (provided to you after registration) carefully before you apply. It will help your chances of submitting a quality application.

7. Background and further information

Outcomes for cancer patients in Scotland lag behind those of our Northern European counterparts. Scotland has some of the best health service data in the world. Few other countries have information which combines high quality data, consistency, national coverage and the ability to link data to allow patient based analysis and follow up. This competition asks the question “How can data science be applied to existing NHS Scotland data to improve cancer patient care and outcomes?

Scotland provides a unique test bed for exploration into innovative technological solutions to accessing large volumes of data pertaining to patients’ demographics as well as their pathways to diagnosis, treatment and long term follow up. The intelligent analysis of this wealth of information could be used to deliver benefit at several levels:

  • Clinical benefit to individual patients, informing clinical decision making and prognostication
  • Clinical benefit to populations, informing vital information on the efficacy of treatment options
  • Resource utilisation, informing service delivery, service planning and service development
  • Academic benefit of informing high quality research to inform efficacy of current and future treatments.
  • Economic benefit of driving company growth and inward investment as the Scottish ecosystem leads to rapid commercialisation of medical technologies within a global market.  

Data already held in primary, secondary and research databases relating to patients’ demographics and pathways to diagnosis, treatment and follow up offers a real opportunity to map closely individual patients. The ability to identify, share and learn from variation in clinical practice will undoubtedly change treatments for patients in the future: as well as contributing significantly to overall clinical care and service planning, as progress towards ‘personalised medicine’ is made, it is vital first to collate variables unique to individual patients and then apply these variables to the experiential learning from similar clinical cohorts. Data provides the key to unlock this process!

Non-clinical data such as administrative data sets such as the Scottish Cancer Registry, prescription data, acute admissions can also offer analytical insights that could lead to service improvements and predictive insights that can improve cancer outcomes.

The competition is looking for solutions that are well designed, simple and accurate within the confines of a modern healthcare system, respecting clinical confidentiality whilst providing a degree of accuracy which has the confidence of clinicians, patients and health service managers alike.

Any solution must integrate with components of the NHS eHealth architecture. Critically, a key goal will be to provide a solution that can be implemented to benefit directly Scottish patients and the wider service.

The goal of this challenge is to develop solutions using existing NHS Scotland data to improve cancer patient care and outcomes in Scotland. Proposed solutions should achieve at least one of the following broad objectives:

  • Enable analysis of unstructured data (e.g. clinical notes, medical imaging)
  • Enable data driven clinical decisions
  • Enable data driven service improvement in the NHS
  • Enable data driven recruitment for clinical trials
  • Enable the adoption of precision medicine approaches

Innovative approaches to these challenges will be expected to incorporate data science techniques from fields such as:

  • Predictive analytics
  • Visualisation
  • Machine learning
  • Natural language processing
  • Processing of structured and unstructured data

The ultimate aim of the challenge is to fundamentally change the way data and analytics are used to drive improvement in cancer outcomes in Scotland

8. Challenges for consideration

Scotland is ‘awash’ with clinical and administrative data and this provides a tremendous resource for the improvement of clinical care and the wider organisation of the health service. Numerous challenges exist precluding the reporting of more timely information including multiple heterogeneous datasets held within multiple heterogeneous IT systems, as well as multiple organisational variances. Clinical and non-clinical leaders however are united in seeking a methodology which is nearer to ‘real time’ as well as a format to allow benchmarking from patient to patient up to nation to nation and all levels in between.

Whilst the Framework to manage the interrogation of the data is developed and implemented, any proposed solution to this competition must be mindful of these technical barriers.

Access to non-open source non-consented NHS Scotland data will require applicants to go through an approval process to ensure that its use is in line with legal and privacy requirements. Further information can be found below in 10. Guide to accessing NHS Scotland Data. We would expect proposed projects to include this process in their Phase 1 feasibility programme of works. 

9. About SBRI competitions

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector. This can lead to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. SBRI supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services. It does this through the public procurement of research and development (R&D). SBRI generates new business opportunities for companies and provides a route to market for their ideas. It also bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early-stage companies.

Applications must have 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively for R&D services.

R&D can cover solution exploration and design. It can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service. R&D does not include:

  • commercial development activities such as quantity production
  • supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs
  • integration, customisation or incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes

You can also see some FAQs about SBRI on the SBRI Framework page

10. Guide to accessing NHS Scotland data

Information about accessing NHS Scotland data can be found in the following document link - Quick guide to accessing NHS Scotland data for research and innovation

FAQs regarding data access from eDRIS

NHS NSS CKAN Open Data platform

11. Information session and collider event - 12 October 2017

An information session for interested applicants will be held on 12 October 2017 in Edinburgh at the Apex Waterloo Place Hotel.  Come along to find out more about the context and state of the art in which the funding competition exists from clinical and technological experts in the field including an overview of Scotland’s eHealth infrastructure and also the NHS Information Governance framework. A chance to ask questions to help inform your proposal. The session will also involve a ‘collider’ element so that interested companies could ‘collide’ with interested clinicians, academics and specialists from the Information Services Division of NHS National Services Scotland.

The event will also be livestreamed for those unable to attend in person and a recording will be made available after the event. 

Register here

 

12. Further help and information

Directions on how to enter this competition can be found in the Invitation to Tender document available after registration.

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network or Scottish Enterprise

If you need more information, contact info [at] cancerchallengescotland.com (subject: Cancer%20Data%20funding%20call%20enquiry)

 or submit a question on the Q&A page and an answer will be published shortly.

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