FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Answers to our most frequently asked questions

NIHR CYP MEDTECH

What are the NIHR MedTech and In Vitro Co-operatives (MICs)?

There are 11 MedTech and In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operatives (MICs). The 11 MICs are funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). More than £14 million over 5 years has been awarded by the NIHR across the 11 MICs.

The MICs launched on 01 January 2018 and replace the NIHR Healthcare Technology Co-operatives and NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Co-operatives, incorporating and retaining the remits of both.

The MICs act as centres of expertise within the NHS to enable the development, evaluation, and adoption of new medical technologies and in vitro diagnostic tests.

Each MIC has a different focus and is hosted by a different NHS trust or university.

Who are NIHR Children and Young People MedTech Co-operative (NIHR CYP MedTech)?

NIHR Children and Young People MedTech Co-operative (NIHR CYP MedTech) is one of the 11 MedTech and In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operatives (MICs) funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). NIHR CYP MedTech is the only MIC dedicated to child health and paediatrics.

NIHR CYP MedTech is hosted by Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and directed by Professor Paul Dimitri.

The Core Team (Director, Programme Manager, Project Managers, Business Development Manager) are responsible for co-ordinating and overseeing all NIHR CYP MedTech projects and activities, and are based at Sheffield Children’s.

We work across NHS and NIHR infrastructure, including with the other NIHR MICs, NIHR Local Clinical Research Networks, Academic Health Science Networks, NIHR Biomedical Science Centres, and Generation R (an NIHR funded national network of Young People’s Advisory Groups).

Where is NIHR CYP MedTech based?

NIHR CYP MedTech is a national organisation but is hosted by Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

While the Core Team are based at Sheffield Children’s, our Theme Leads are based in seven NHS hospitals across England:

  • Sheffield Children’s Hospital
  • Evelina London Children’s Hospital
  • Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital
  • Birmingham Women and Children’s Hospital
  • Great North Children’s Hospital
  • Alder Hey Children’s Hospitals
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Does NIHR CYP MedTech focus on certain clinical specialities?

NIHR CYP MedTech prioritises developing technology for child health and paediatrics in seven clinical themes. These themes were chosen due to the high disease burden and clear need for innovation. Each theme is led by one or two expert clinicians based across England.

Our seven themes are:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy, Movement, and Muscle Disorders
  • Long Term Ventilation
  • Respiratory and Sleep
  • Rare Diseases
  • Surgical Technologies
  • Transition (cross-cutting theme)

NIHR CYP MedTech utilises the TITCH network to support the development of child health technology outside these specialist themes.


COLLABORATION

Who does NIHR CYP MedTech collaborate with?

We are keen to collaborate with academics, health professionals, businesses, patients, and families who are looking to developing evidence-based technology for child health and paediatrics.

Please complete our collaboration request form to tell us about:

  • Unmet needs i.e. things which make day-to-day living difficult for children and young people with long-term health conditions or a problem in a health care setting that does not currently have a solution. You do not need to know how to solve the problem.
  • Innovations in response to unmet needs. We focus on early stage technology development (Technology Readiness Levels 1 – 3) but will consider technology at later stages on a case by case basis.

Please read our collaboration request guidance before submitting the form to ensure your request is within our remit.

 

What support can NIHR CYP MedTech provide?

The support we can offer includes:

  • Identifying and validating unmet clinical needs
  • Input from children, young people, and families (patient and public involvement and engagement, PPIE)
  • Advice from and networking with our Theme Leads, who are leading experts in their respective clinical fields
  • Access to the TITCH network (a network of experts dedicated to developing technology solutions across all health specialities to improve child health)
  • Advice on regulations and intellectual property required for various medical technologies
  • Support and management of projects varying in complexity and size
  • Access to the national paediatric technology test bed, which supports the rapid clinical evaluation of child health technology
  • Support identifying and applying for relevant funding streams

Please note that we focus on developing early stage technology for child health in our seven themes and prioritise unmet needs and innovations that align with our priorities. Support is available to academics, health professionals, businesses, patients, and families.

Please complete our collaboration request form if you would like to tell us about an unmet need or would like us to support your innovation. Please read our collaboration request guidance before submitting the form to ensure your request is within our remit. If we cannot help or support, we will, where possible, signpost to other infrastructure that can.

 

Please note that we are not a sales team and will not support an innovation if it only needs market traction. We advise you to contact the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) if you are looking to have your product adopted into the NHS.

What is NIHR CYP MedTech’s innovation pathway?

Our innovation pathway outlines how we translate unmet needs and ideas for innovation into formal research projects. We primarily focus on early stage technology development (Technology Readiness Level 1 -3).

STAGE ONE: IDENTIFY

  • UNMET NEED: Observe an unmet need in child health. Unmet needs can be identified by anyone, regardless of profession or age.
  • IDEA FOR INNOVATION: Think of an idea for an innovation that may solve an unmet need in child health. Ideas for innovation can be suggested by anyone, regardless of profession or age.

STAGE TWO: SUBMIT

  • SUBMIT FORM: Complete our collaboration request form to let us know about an unmet need or idea for innovation.

STAGE THREE: VALIDATE

  • OTHER PEOPLE: Speak to other people in similar situations to find out if they have the same unmet need.
  • TRENDS: Review and monitor known unmet needs to identify potential trends.
  • SCOPING: Conduct a scoping exercise to find out if an innovation already exists that addresses the unmet need.
  • END USERS: Share the idea for innovation with stakeholders and end users (e.g. clinical teams, NHS commissioners, children, young people, families) to find out if they think it is a good idea.
  • PROTECTION: Conduct preliminary searches to find out if there is any protection, such as intellectual property, that may prevent the innovation from being developed.

STAGE FOUR: OUTCOME

  • PROJECT: If the unmet need can be validated, the unmet need can progress into an innovation project.  This is likely to include: establishing a project team; applying for funding; prototype development; clinical evaluation; health economics; and protection.
  • SHARE: In some circumstances, one of our partner organisations may be better equipped to progress the innovation. For example, if a product is almost ready for NHS adoption, one of the Academic Health Science Networks may be better resourced to continue the project.
  • PAUSE: If the unmet need cannot be validated, it may not be appropriate to continue progressing the innovation. The unmet need may be a local problem that needs a bespoke solution.

What are unmet needs and how are they validated?

Unmet needs are things which make day-to-day living difficult for children and young people with long-term health conditions or a problem in a health care setting that does not currently have a solution. Unmet needs can be identified by anyone, regardless of profession or age.

Validating unmet needs is a critical step in developing child health technology. Unmet needs are validated in the following ways:

  • Speak to other people in similar situations to find out if they have the same unmet need.
  • Review and monitor known unmet needs to identify potential trends.
  • Conduct a scoping exercise to find out if an innovation already exists that addresses the unmet need.
  • Engage with stakeholders and end users (e.g. clinical teams, NHS commissioners, children, young people, families) to find out if they think the innovation is a good idea.
  • Conduct preliminary searches to find out if there is any protection, such as intellectual property, that may prevent the innovation from being developed.

How can I tell NIHR CYP MedTech know about an unmet need or innovation?

Please complete our collaboration request form to tell us about unmet needs, ideas for innovation, or innovations in development. Please read our collaboration request guidance before submitting the form to ensure your request is within our remit. All collaboration requests are treated as strictly confidential and will not be shared with third parties without your express permission. If requested, we can arrange a non-disclosure agreement between relevant parties.

 

I have identified an unmet need or innovation that doesn’t fall into one of NIHR CYP MedTech’s themes, what can I do?

NIHR CYP MedTech focus on unmet needs and innovations that fit within our seven themes:

  • Cancer
  • Respiratory and Sleep
  • Rare Diseases
  • Epilepsy, Movement, and Muscle Disorders
  • Ventilation
  • Surgical Technologies
  • Transition (cross-cutting theme)

However, we can support unmet needs and innovations outside of these themes through the TITCH (Technology Innovation Transforming Child Health) network. The TITCH network is a national network of experts dedicated to transforming child health through technology and innovation. We can circulate a summary of the unmet need or idea for innovation around the TITCH network to gain expert feedback and find key stakeholders to form an effective project team.

If you would like the TITCH network to support your unmet need or innovation, please complete our collaboration request form and indicate that the request is for the TITCH network. If we cannot help or support, we will, where possible, signpost to other infrastructure that can. All collaboration requests are treated as strictly confidential and will not be distributed around the TITCH network or shared with third parties without your express permission.

I have a commercially available product suitable for the NHS, can NIHR CYP MedTech help?

NIHR CYP MedTech focus on early stage technology (Technology Readiness Level 1 – 3). Therefore, if your product is commercially available and you are looking for your product to be adopted by the NHS, please contact your local Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) as they are better placed to help you.

We expect products to have had considerable input from children, young people, families, and NHS health professionals. We will only support innovations where this input can be demonstrated or where collaborators are willing to work closely with these groups and modify their ideas and innovations accordingly. We can work with you to provide input from these groups, but only for innovations that are in early stage development.

Please complete our collaboration request form if you would like our support. We will ask you to indicate what stage the product is at when completing the form.

  

What happens once I’ve submitted a collaboration request form?

Our process for submitted collaboration requests is as follows:

  1. Submitted collaboration requests will be discussed by the NIHR CYP MedTech team to determine whether we are able to support the request in principle and the most appropriate next steps. Please make sure your request is clear and detailed as we use the information in the form to determine whether we are able to support your request.
  2. If your unmet need or innovation is within NIHR CYP MedTech’s remit, we will send your collaboration request to the relevant Theme Lead(s) to gain their expert clinical opinion.
  3. If the Theme Lead(s) are interested in supporting the unmet need or innovation, we will arrange a call or meeting with you and the Theme Lead(s) to discuss further collaboration.
  4. We can support unmet needs and innovations without direct Theme Lead involvement where appropriate.
  5. If your unmet need or innovation is not within our remit, we may be able to provide support through the TITCH network.
  6. In some circumstances, one of our partner organisations may be better equipped to progress the unmet need or innovation. If NIHR CYP MedTech cannot help or support, we will, where possible, signpost to other infrastructure that can.
  7. Due to the nature of NIHR CYP MedTech, no promise is made that an outcome can be achieved.
  8. We aim to respond to all collaboration requests within four to six weeks.
  9. Please refer to our Support page for more details on the support we can offer and an outline of our innovation pathway.

FUNDING

How is NIHR CYP MedTech funded?

NIHR CYP MedTech is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR allocated £14 million across the 11 MedTech and In Vitro Co-operatives (MICs) over 5 years, beginning in January 2018.

Can NIHR CYP MedTech fund our innovation?

NIHR CYP MedTech is unable to fund your innovation directly.

We can collaborate with you on projects, help you to identify suitable funding calls, and provide support and guidance in the funding application process. Please complete our collaboration request form if you would like us to support a funding application.

We can provide seed funding for proof of concept projects that are supported by our Theme Leads. Applications for our proof of concept funding calls can only submitted by our Theme Leads.

Can NIHR CYP MedTech support our funding application?

We are very happy to support funding applications for projects that fit within one of our seven themes and are aligned with our priorities.

Please note that we are required to raise funds for our involvement with collaborative projects, and therefore we can only support grant applications if we are a named collaborator, are actively involved in the project, and have our time costed for.

Please complete our collaboration request form if you would like us to support a funding application.

 

What are the relevant funding calls for child health technology?

Please see our Funding page for a list of relevant, open funding calls.

PATIENT AND PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT AND ENGAGEMENT

What is patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE), and why is it important?

Patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) involves carrying out research with or by patients or members of the public, rather than carrying out research about or for patients or members of the public.

Most funding applications require substantial PPIE to be included in the study design.

We believe that patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) is fundamental to the successful development and delivery of technologies for child health. The involvement of children, young people, and their families ensures that technology is developed for and with the user, adopted more rapidly, and better accepted into clinical practice. Our ethos is to ensure that children, young people, families are involved at every stage of the innovation pathway.

Who leads PPIE for NIHR CYP MedTech?

Jen Preston leads our PPIE work. For 13 years, Jen’s main role has been to develop and implement a strategy for involving children, young people, parents and carers in all aspects of health research to ensure the inclusion of a lay perspective in the design and delivery of paediatric research. Jen currently works at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Jen set up and co-ordinates GenerationR, which consists of many Young People’s Advisory Groups (YPAGs), based around the UK. The YPAGs meet regularly to learn about clinical and other health related research and discuss how to make it work better for young people. GenerationR has enabled hundreds of young people to have a voice in research design and delivery both nationally and internationally.

How can NIHR CYP MedTech help us with PPIE?

We work closely with both local and national patient involvement groups. Our PPIE lead, Jen Preston, co-ordinates GenerationR, a national network of Young People’s Advisory Groups. We also work with patient groups across England through our clinical Theme Leads and vast clinical networks.

We have extensive experience involving children, young people, and families in every stage of the innovation pathway. We are therefore well equipped to facilitate your engagement with children, young people, and their families through a variety of means, including co-design workshops, focus groups, and surveys. We can also advise when NHS ethical approval is required when working with children and young people.

Please note that PPIE requires sufficient funding and therefore we usually need to apply for funding before undertaking PPIE.

Do I need ethical approval for PPIE?

PPIE activities (such as advising on research designs, developing protocols or study resources, or being a member of a steering group) usually do not require NHS research ethical approval.

However, NHS research ethical approval depends on the specific study design. We can advise on whether ethical approval is needed for individual research studies.

For more information, please visit the NIHR INVOLVE website or use the Health Research Authority (HRA) decision making tool.

 

Do NIHR CYP MedTech have a PPIE strategy?

Yes, NIHR CYP MedTech have five year PPIE strategy, which includes the following strategic priorities:

  • Work in partnership with children, young people, families, and members of the public in the design and delivery of paediatric medical technologies
  • Continuously improve through patient experience and public awareness
  • Widen participation and involvement of children, young people, families in NIHR CYP MedTech activities
  • Grow the evidence base of the impact of children, young people, family involvement and engagement in the design and delivery of paediatric technologies

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

What is intellectual property (IP)?

Intellectual property (IP) refers to novel ideas, knowledge, and information resulting from human intellect. There are different types of intellectual property, including:

  • Patents
  • Copyright
  • Designs
  • Database rights
  • Trade marks
  • Know-how

Some types of IP are generated automatically (e.g. copyright) whereas other types of IP need to be applied for and approved (e.g. patents).

There is a difference between background and foreground IP; while background IP refers to the pre-existing IP that organisations bring to a project, foreground IP refers to the IP that will be generated during the course of a project.

Most, if not all, innovations have some IP.

Can NIHR CYP MedTech help us with IP?

NIHR CYP MedTech are funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and hosted by Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, and therefore we take IP advice from both the NIHR IP team and Sheffield Children’s Research and Innovation Department.

NIHR CYP MedTech can provide general advice on protecting IP and signpost you the right people to talk to.

NHS trusts or universities usually have a research and innovation office who can provide tailored IP advice and oversee IP agreements. Where possible, we advise you to speak to your local IP office in the first instance.

If we become involved with a project, we encourage collaborators to agree intellectual property as early as possible to ensure that projects are not hindered by intellectual property disagreements down the line.

Where can I find out more about IP?

NHS trusts or universities usually have a research and innovation office who can provide tailored IP advice and oversee IP agreements. Where possible, we advise you to speak to your local IP office in the first instance.

There are a number of organisations that specialise in IP and agreements who can help you protect your IP. These organisations include:

  • Medipex: A healthcare innovation hub that works with universities, NHS trusts, and industry. Medipex can perform patent searches, conduct market research, and advise you on intellectual property.
  • HGF: The largest IP law firm in Europe. HGF can provide comprehensive IP support and help you acquire patents and trade marks.

 

TITCH NETWORK

What is the TITCH network?

The TITCH (Technology Innovation Transforming Child Health) network is a national network of experts dedicated to transforming child health through technology and innovation.

The TITCH network was established in 2014 to address common problems in child health technology:

  1. A lack of health technology designed specifically for children and young people.
  2. Health technology is often designed for adults and repurposed for children and young people with inadequate results and potential complications.
  3. Many technologies used in paediatric healthcare do not account for the anatomical and physiological changes that occur throughout childhood and adolescence.
  4. The fragmented approach to developing and evaluating child health technology across the UK.

The TITCH network provides a platform for the essential and expert stakeholder relationships required to ensure that the very best innovations are developed and commercialised for the benefit of children, young people, and families.

The TITCH network is supported by both NIHR Children and Young People MedTech Co-operative (NIHR CYP MedTech) and NIHR Devices for Dignity MedTech Co-operative (NIHR D4D MedTech).

While NIHR CYP MedTech and NIHR D4D MedTech prioritise technology in specific themes, the TITCH network seeks to develop child health technology across all domains and specialities.

Can the TITCH network support my idea or innovation?

The TITCH network seeks to support the development of technology for child health. The TITCH network can provide more support to unmet needs and innovations that fall within NIHR CYP MedTech’s and NIHR D4D MedTech’s themes. Unmet needs and innovations that fall outside of these themes can still be supported through the TITCH network; we can circulate a summary of the unmet need or idea for innovation around the TITCH network to gain expert feedback and find key stakeholders to form an effective project team.

Please complete our collaboration request form if you would like to tell us about an unmet need or would like us to support your innovation. Please read our collaboration request guidance before submitting the form to ensure your request is within our remit.

We review all collaboration requests as a team and a member of the team will back to you as soon as possible. If we cannot help or support, we will, where possible, signpost to other infrastructure that can.

All collaboration requests are treated as strictly confidential and will not be distributed around the TITCH network without your express permission.

 

Can I join the TITCH network?

The TITCH network is comprised of experts across the UK seeking to support the development, evaluation, and adoption of child health technology.

Members of the TITCH network have a diverse range of backgrounds, including healthcare, education, academia, industry, and patient representation.

Complete the form below if you’d like to enquire about joining the TITCH network. We are keen to hear from anyone with an interest in or experience of child health or technology, including young people and parents/carers. The form will ask you to provide information about your role and affiliated organisation (if appropriate), the reasons why you would like to join the network, and the expertise that you can offer.

What is the TITCH Industry Ambassador?

The TITCH Industry Ambassador role has been created to showcase partnership collaboration as best practice for both small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the NHS within innovation and the medical technology development landscape, for the NIHR and NHS.

The Industry Ambassador tole has been awarded to long-term collaborator Tookie Ltd. Relevant SMEs that enquire through the TITCH network will be referred to Tookie Ltd for advice and guidance when considering developing a new medical product or innovation.

2020 © Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust