The Cornish public have recently shared their biggest challenges in health and social care – now local businesses are being invited to help address them.

From difficulty accessing a GP, to assistance with independent living, hundreds of people attended workshops to express the challenges they face as part of the E-Health and Productivity and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (EPIC) project.

EPIC launched the £600,000 Challenge Fund on 1 November at its conference in Truro’s Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre.

More than 120 people attended the event – including representatives from the county’s major health and social care organisations and the clinical community and participants from the original workshops.

Now local businesses are invited to come forward, hear more about the challenges, work with the health teams and individuals, and bid for a share of the Challenge Fund to help design technology solutions.

EPIC Project launch

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with additional financial support from the South West Academic Health Science Network, the EPIC collaboration includes the University of Plymouth, Kernow Health CIC, Cornwall Partners in Care, Patients Association, and Creative England, who will work to find technologies that can best help improve services, along with those which are, or can be, produced within Cornwall.

Project staff will support clinicians, patients, carers and others to work with Cornish companies who can then bid for funds from the Challenge Fund to develop and test their ideas.

Councillor Bob Egerton, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy said: “The Challenge fund is an excellent opportunity for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s creative thinkers to develop new or even existing ideas that can be used here or exported elsewhere. The impact for communities and for business could be significant.”

Project director, Ray Jones, Professor of E-Health at the University of Plymouth, said: “The workshops were really useful in finding out areas we need to focus on, which include increasing the ability to self-manage conditions, improved use and awareness of community resources through social prescribing and reducing social isolation. Now we’re looking forward to taking the next step – working with businesses to find solutions.

“People with a range of expertise from across the University, including nursing, medicine, psychology, robotics, business, and public health, are working with numerous collaborators across Cornwall, and this ‘bottom up’ approach should help find or develop technologies that will improve services.”

EPIC project challenge fund
Project director, Ray Jones, Professor of E-Health at the University of Plymouth

Mehjabeen Patrick, Chief Financial Officer for Creative England, said: “The aims of the project are two-fold: to improve health and social care in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and to create new jobs and opportunities for local businesses. We believe that small, creative businesses in the county – many of which may never have considered e-health – could have the answers to some of the biggest problems facing providers.

“With this project, we will create an ecosystem where health and social care stakeholders can identify their key challenges and market opportunities. Then we will support small businesses to come up with solutions and access the finance to develop them, all of which will attract more investment and jobs into Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. We’re really excited to be launching the Challenge Fund, and encourage anyone with ideas to come forward and speak to us.”

EPIC covers all of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly but has bases in general practices and care homes in St Ives, Redruth, and Liskeard as well as University centres in Truro.

To apply to the fund, please visit


Notes to Editors

For more information about this news release, please contact University of Plymouth Media & Communications Officer Amy McSweeny on 01752 588018 or email

About the University of Plymouth

The University of Plymouth is renowned for high quality, internationally-leading education, research and innovation.

With a mission to Advance Knowledge and Transform Lives, Plymouth is a *top 50 research university with clusters of world class research across a wide range of disciplines including marine science and engineering, medicine, robotics and psychology. A twice winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education, the University of Plymouth continues to grow in stature and reputation.

It has a strong track record for teaching and learning excellence, and has one of the highest numbers of National Teaching Fellows of any UK university. With 21,000 students, and a further 17,000 studying for a Plymouth degree at partner institutions in the UK and around the world, and over 100,000 alumni pursuing their chosen careers globally, it has a growing global presence.

* Research Fortnight Research Power League Table 2014.