The AWRC’s Advanced Wellbeing Accelerator is an R&D-focused programme that supports companies developing products or services with health and wellbeing applications that align with the five ‘Global Challenge’ areas the AWRC is focused on addressing. Your innovation must support one or more of these challenge areas in order to be eligible to apply (speak to the programme team if unsure):
Challenge 1: Promoting lifelong physical activity.
Lifelong physical activity can help protect and restore physical health and mental wellbeing. It creates connected and vibrant communities, preserves the environment and helps to grow the economy. We believe in a future where a child born today, should expect to live 100 years of healthy active life.
We wish to support companies that seek to create the conditions that mean everyone in society can live healthy, active and prosperous lives as they age.
Challenge 2: Tackling widening health inequalities.
Inequality of opportunity, education, employment, housing and access to physical activity across our communities can make people more vulnerable to poorer health, wellbeing and economic outcomes.
We wish to support companies with a focus on those individuals and groups who are currently underserved, seldom heard or otherwise excluded from innovations that would improve their health and wellbeing.
Challenge 3: Addressing climate change.
Climate change and physical inactivity are two major issues impacting population wellbeing. The past 100 years has been characterised by an exponential and unsustainable growth in the size and ageing of the population, with accompanying utilisation of energy in multiple forms (traditionally in the form of fossil fuel). This has driven up illness caused by poor air quality and vulnerability to climate shocks, particularly in the poorest communities, which are often densely populated.
We wish to support companies focused on reducing the carbon footprint of human movement, we can help the UK to deliver its productivity goals, prevent disease by reducing air pollution and harness the benefits to business of a healthy and active workforce, which is more resilient and more productive.
Challenge 4: Reimagining rehabilitation.
When people become ill or experience trauma (physical and psychological), they need support. This support should be focused on optimising a person’s wellbeing as quickly and efficiently as possible so that they can maintain independence, return to education or work (if appropriate) and experience a good quality of life.
We wish to support companies looking to improve outcomes and address the challenges currently facing rehabilitation, we will harness physical activity, AI, digital and non-digital technologies to advance rehabilitation for people with progressive conditions (e.g. COPD, Multiple Sclerosis), recovering conditions (e.g. cancer, stroke) and multimorbidity.
Challenge 5: Closing the skills gap
The UK faces a critical challenge in relation to skills, employment expectations and pathways to employment in the context of the fourth industrial revolution. Young people are at the forefront of the response because of additional factors such as an ageing workforce (in healthcare and across other sectors) and the impact of the pandemic on society. The pace and scale of technological changes across all sectors is also accelerating rapidly and the training and education of the future workforce needs to adapt.
We wish to support companies that are integrating the latest knowledge and skills in digital-technology to support skills development across healthcare.
Aside from clearly addressing a challenge area, you should also:
- between yourself and your wider team, be able to commit the necessary time to the programme (~0.5 day per week, mostly virtual and spread out in 60-120 minute sessions).
- be prepared to pitch at our demo day near the end of the programme (May 2024, Sheffield, UK) – plenty of support will be provided in the run up.
- be an academic team, startup or a more established business (i.e. at market for a number of years and generating some revenue (but still be a relatively small company)
- be developing an innovative product/service requiring some level of R&D support e.g. rapid prototyping, lab testing and/or real world evaluation
- be able to demonstrate clear benefit(s) for your end user(s) and/or customers
- be committed to growing the enterprise with the potential for new job creation
- be looking to raise funding during/post-programme (debt, grant, angel and/or VC)
There is no geographical restriction for applicants (except for those where the UK Government has placed financial sanctions upon them or affiliated regimes), and we work with entrepreneurs developing innovations that are digital (or intend to incorporate digital) into their product(s) or service(s) - so this can be a physical object/device.
Please follow the AWRCs social media channels as announcements will be made there.
Check out this post for application tips from our Accelerator Programme Manager Ryan.