NESTA launches £20m initiative to stimulate innovation
March 16, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health NewsMarch 2007, London, UK —— The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) (http://www.nesta.org.uk) is today launching a new £20 million initiative designed to encourage innovative solutions to some of the UK’s most pressing social issues including chronic disease, mental health and climate change.
NESTA’s ‘Innovation Challenges’ (http://www.nesta.org.uk/challenges) will focus on several key themes, starting with Health Innovation and followed by the Environment. Each theme will last for three years during which NESTA will conduct a series of high-impact projects with key partners, designed both to unearth existing ideas, and stimulate new approaches in response to recognised problems.
Focusing on health, the first Challenge aims to identify and develop solutions to issues around chronic disease management, mental health, and ageing. The Challenge programme’s initial partnership projects will see NESTA calling for both social entrepreneurs and front-line workers to come forward with ideas. The first two projects are:
1. The NESTA – Young Foundation Health Innovation Accelerator, a project to speed up the creation of social enterprises and start-ups in the health sector. The project will seek to stimulate innovative ideas, wherever they may come from, and turn those ideas into new ventures developed in partnership with individual social entrepreneurs and health sector partners. NESTA will provide the anchor investment of £1.24million for this three year programme.
2. A partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, with involvement from Mental Health Media, Mind, ReThink, and Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, to call for project proposals. NESTA will provide a total of £500,000 for innovative projects from front-line workers, users and carers to tackle some of the key issues in the mental health arena. This might include new or improved services, breaking down the stigma of mental illness or encouraging the involvement of users in re-designing their own care.
NESTA Chief Executive Jonathan Kestenbaum explains, “The UK faces significant social challenges that are resistant to conventional solutions. Mostly the impetus for addressing these issues is placed on the shoulders of government alone but this isn’t enough – there’s an increasing gap between the scale of the problems and the solutions available. It’s time we empowered people at the grass roots to develop ideas which, with the right support, could have a lasting impact on key social issues”.
Science and Innovation Minister, Malcolm Wicks said, “I welcome NESTA’s efforts to help boost social innovation. It’s vital that we look to as many different areas as possible in our bid for new ideas, so it’s great to see this challenge involving front-line workers and the broader community, who might have creative solutions which have previously gone unheard. We all need to work together to ensure the UK remains a world leader in terms of innovation, science and technology, because it’s these areas which will help secure our economic future.”
——Notes to editors——
For further information, to request an interview please contact: Damian Wilson at Forster on 020 7403 2230 or the NESTA press office on 020 7438 2643.
NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts. With endowed funds of over £300 million, our mission is to transform the UK’s capacity for innovation. We do this in three main ways: by working to build a more pervasive culture of innovation in this country; by providing innovators with access to early stage capital; and by driving forward research into innovation, with a view to influencing policy.
Tim Gibbon, Director
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