To create novel and personalised healthcare solutions built on the latest science and technologies originating from our research labs, the Health Technologies Consortium (HealthTEC) is set up to facilitate companies to translate research outcomes into products and services that can improve the health and wellness of individuals. The consortium will bring researchers and companies together to leverage deep tech and big data to develop and eventually provide advanced health and wellness solutions that will benefit Singaporeans. This national consortium will be led by the Institute for Health Innovation & Technology (iHealthtech) at the National University of Singapore (NUS). NRF will set aside funding of $1.5 million over three years to support the activities of the consortium.
HealthTEC will facilitate industry-academia interactions through regular networking sessions, workshops, roundtable discussions and scientific symposia. The consortium will also provide seed grants to kickstart collaboration projects. In addition, HealthTEC will form alliances with other international consortia or societies to tackle global healthcare challenges through the use of health technologies, giving members the opportunity to benefit from interacting with the international community.
The consortium will partner Singapore-anchored companies of all sizes – startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), large local enterprises (LLEs), and multi-national companies (MNCs) – for this effort. Companies that have joined the consortium as founding industry members include Roceso Technologies Pte Ltd, Tip Biosystems Pte Ltd, ST Engineering and Ferrero Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.
From lab-on-chips to wearables to smart sensors, health technologies have strong potential to produce disruptive innovations that can improve the health and wellness of individuals by empowering them with personalised and actionable data and insights. It is differentiated from medical technologies that typically require clinical trials to prove clinical claims, and stringent approval from regulatory authorities before being made available or administered to patients.
Some examples of health technologies include wearables that track posture and assess sports performance, sensors to monitor comfort and fatigue levels in drivers, or mobile applications that help users to track their caloric intake when they take photos of the food they eat.
HealthTEC will focus on two areas to develop health and wellness solutions:
- Health sensing technologies, which refer to innovations to track and collect health-related data.
These could include tactile sensors to detect standing, walking or sitting pressure; imaging technologies to detect fatigue; or molecular diagnostics to collect vital signs of individuals such as glucose level.
- Health analytics and artificial intelligence, which uses predictive modelling and machine learning technologies to make sense of collected data, with the aim of providing insights and suggesting actions that individuals can take, so as to improve their own health and wellness.
An example would be a mobile app that provides users with personalised information about how their vital signs change when they are seated at work and when they are exercising, and provide suggestions on what they can do to improve their health. On a larger scale, health analytics can be used by researchers to find health and wellness patterns across a population.
The HealthTEC Steering Committee comprise members from NRF, Enterprise Singapore, NUS and Nanyang Technological University. It will be chaired by Professor Chen Tsuhan, NUS Deputy President (Research and Technology). The HealthTEC Technology Management Committee will comprise leading experts from IHLs and the industry.