• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Investment of up to £2.4m for industry-led Small Business Research Intiative (SBRI) projects.

  • Programme: SBRI

  • Award: Up to £2.4m

  • Opens: 08 Apr 2013, 00:00

  • Registration closes: 05 Jun 2013, 12:00

  • Closes: 12 Jun 2013, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4357

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The long-term care revolution

Competition results

The results of this competition are now available; see the PDF of the winning project proposals.



The Technology Strategy Board is inviting applications for participation in a revolutionary sandpit workshop in the autumn looking for novel thinking to blow apart conventional thinking about institutional long-term care. 
The challenge of turning around previously disenfranchised segments of the population to create a vibrant and empowered consumer group, along with their families and carers, requires radical thinking, risk taking and multidisciplinary approaches. 
The aim of this sandpit is to bring together a varied group of up to 25 individuals, who might be new entrants or existing players from across the UK, with the expectation that they work together to develop radical, risky and novel ideas that can then be developed into full proposals for industry-led Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) projects. Following on from the sandpit we will be awarding up to £2.4m in such projects. Academics can be fully involved as sub-contractors in the proposals. 
Who do we want to join? You could be from any industry sector, for example: built environment, engineering, media, tourism, aerospace, robotics, even the military. Or from an academic field, for example engineering, design, ICT, maths, management and business studies, sociology, economics, geography, legal studies, anthropology, social policy or creative arts. 
If you would like to transform the future of long-term care to create better quality of life and economic growth in the Uk and believe you have something to offer, we invite you to apply - irrespective of your sector. We particularly welcome applications from people representing organisations (large or small) that will contribute new expertise and new thinking to revolutionary new designs for long-term care – we are more interested in new ideas, underpinned by radical and innovative thinking.
The five-day sandpit will be held 16-20 September 2013. You can apply from 8 April 2013. The deadline for applications is noon 12 June 2013
We will be holding briefings for potential applicants in Edinburgh, Leeds and London and strongly recommend applicants attend one.  Register for the long term care revolution workshop briefing events

Background and challenge

What is the challenge? 

We want to eliminate institutional long-term care through business-led projects with the potential for real commercial value in the UK. The aim is to harness creativity and innovative capabilities across a wide range of sectors in order to provide more options in future - options that will enable people to live with more dignity and autonomy, as well as help decrease the financial pressure that the Government and individuals will face if they eventually need high levels of care.  
The rapid growth in the number of older adults through population ageing and increasing longevity, and the growing concerns to deliver a dignified later life, have triggered substantial debates on reforming long-term care provision over the last three decades. Despite numerous initiatives, the UK still grapples with affordable long-term care that delivers quality of life for older adults and their families. 

Demographic concerns and the scale and nature of likely demand

The 2011 census for England shows that 16.4% of the population was aged 65 and over (Office for National Statistics, 2011)  – the highest seen in any census.
More important than the growth in numbers of older adults, is that of the very advanced in age. The numbers of those 90+ were 13,000 in 1911, 340,000 in 2001 and 430,000 in 2011. The key trend is that the demand for long-term care will continue to increase because of increasing life expectancy and ageing. 


There is a particular challenge with dementia. The total number of people with dementia in the UK is forecast to increase by approximately 40% in the next 15 years and by 150% in the next 45 years (Frost & Sullivan (2013). Market Analysis of Long Term Care in the UK. A report commissioned by the Technology Strategy Boar) . In care homes in the 1980s, about 20-25% of people had dementia. Ten years ago it was 65% and now it is probably greater than 80%.

The shortcomings of institutional care

These have been documented and deplored since the early twentieth century. This scenario continues today with a steady stream of high profile media reports of appalling practice and unwarranted deaths. Despite some of the best intentions by various groups across the UK, many people continue to live as objects of ‘care'.

Informal carers

About 6.5m people, 13% of the adult population, provide informal care in the UK - a resource estimated as worth £119bn per year, more than the entire spending on the NHS (Department of Health. (2006). Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services:  A brief guide. London: HMSO).
Caring peaks at age 50-59 but over 12% of those aged over 65 provide informal care for older adults. There are over 2m family members providing over 20 hours of care per week. They themselves risk impoverishment in midlife, finding they cannot juggle paid employment with caring and must reduce working hours or (for one in five carers) give up their job (Pavolini, E., & Ranci, C. (20 08). Restructuring the welfare state:  reforms in long-term care in Western European countries. Journal of European Social Policy, 18(3), 246-259). 

Numbers in institutions and costs

One study showed that, where appropriate, postponing entry into residential care for one year saves an average of £28k a year. There is evidence that some people are in institutions, for example in hospitals and in care homes, unnecessarily. Hip fractures are the event that prompts entry to residential care in up to 10% of cases (Stirling, T. ( 2011). Pathways to prevention: ma ximising the oppor tunities of the integration of health and social care and housing for the benefit of low income, older home owners: HACT).

Poor care in institutional settings and at home

Institutional care is expensive yet the major challenge remains the poor standard of care provided both in institutions and at home. Numerous reports have identified the lack of dignity and care, which have been found in both situations.
For institutions the challenges are not just the poor standard, including lack of adequate medical care, but the fact many older adults enter them in a crisis without proper planning, many do not need to be there and some could be moved out if there were adequate alternatives. It is deemed that currently there are no adequate alternatives.

Financial constraints

There is reduction in expenditure for long-term care across Europe. As well as reductions in the public sector, there are also less people employed in the voluntary sector. A recent Local Government Association estimate was that spending on adult social care will exceed 45% of council budgets by 2019-20 (HM Treasury and Department of Communities and Local Government, 2010, p. 17). 

Complexity of funding

The Dilnot Commission claimed that the current system of institutional long-term care was hard to understand, often unfair and unsustainable. Lessons from 13 pilot projects in 2010 on the delivery and funding of public services showed the complexity of attempting to integrate each user's diverse funding streams into a single Individual Budget. From a citizen viewpoint, public services were often impersonal, fragmented and unnecessarily complex. 
The UK remains a global leader in innovation and should remain so. The aim therefore is to: 
  • identify new and innovative approaches with the greatest potential for new markets, business development opportunities and improved quality of life for people requiring long-term care 
  • bring together technology providers with the owners of the commercial and technical challenges 
  • engage innovators in new and unusual areas with the capacity to understand the opportunities presented by population ageing and new models of long-term care. 

Funding allocation and project details

Where are the business opportunities? 

The estimated value of the public and private long-term care market in the UK in 2011 was £13.7bn, with public expenditure on long-term care expected to at least double and possibly triple by 2050 (Frost & Sullivan (2013). Market Analysis of Long Term Care in the UK. A report commissioned by the Technology Strategy Board ).
Public spending on long-term care in the UK would need to rise by around 315% in real terms between 2000 and 2051, under the current system. The residential market is forecast to reach £66bn in 2040 with the private sector contributing to 91% of revenue. The non-residential market (eg, domiciliary services at home, extra care accommodation) is forecast to reach £19bn in 2040, with the public sector contributing 84% of revenue. 
The market remains dominated by a restricted number of players, mainly housing providers and private healthcare businesses, however the top 10 companies only account for approximately 20% of the UK's private sector capacity. There has been a strong public policy to encourage non-residential care and living, but this has not resulted in a dramatic shift in this direction. 

Who should join the sandpit? 

Having the right mix of participants influences the success or failure of this type of sandpit. We need a very broad range of disciplines to get the most out of it and applicants should not feel limited by conventional perceptions: the whole approach is about bringing people together who would not normally interact. 
We're very keen to attract new entrants to the sandpit. We want to invite applications from those that are already well placed to contribute, eg, housing associations, healthcare providers, healthcare technologies and design; to sectors such as aerospace, materials, the military, hotel and tourism, transport, robotics, and fitness. 
We are looking to attract those from industry and business as well as those working in academia in mathematical sciences, engineering (material, electrical, computer, design, civil, control and autonomous systems), physical sciences, energy. From the social sciences we are inviting applications from across all disciplines including anthropology, communication, criminology, cultural studies, economics, human geography, linguistics, law, political science, psychology and sociology. We want to attract applications from the creative and performing arts, philosophy, modern dance, ancient history, heritage studies and fashion.
The areas above are provided as examples only – this is not an exhaustive list. If you think you can bring something new and vital thinking to the sandpit, please apply.
In fact, we want the most unusual businesses to this area to apply. The very reason for this sandpit approach is that we're not trying to second-guess the type of projects we should be funding in advance.
We want to explore them in the sandpit. We welcome individual participants from all levels within industry, business and academia. It is a requirement that you obtain the commitment of your employer/board/shareholder(s) (as appropriate) before applying to ascertain and ensure the appetite of your organisation for activity in this area. 

Application process

How to apply 

The competition opens to applications on 8 April 2013 and closes at noon 12 June 2013. You must register your interest via our website by noon 5 June 2013. If you do not register your interest you will not be able to submit an application. 
You apply to participate in the sandpit as an individual with an interest in the area – once your place is secured it is not transferable to anyone else. Being selected to attend the sandpit is a competitive process; therefore competition rules apply and are clearly noted in the Guidance for Applicants.
If you are selected to participate in the sandpit, a condition of entry will be the production of a 1,500 word report to be submitted to the Technology Strategy Board. 
A contract for up to £3k is available per sandpit participant to produce this report. The payment will only be made on submission of an acceptable report prior to the sandpit, and full attendance for the five-day duration of the sandpit. Please refer to the Guidance for Applicants for further details. 
Once at the sandpit you are expected to work with the other participants to explore and shape ideas to produce exciting collaborative proposals. You should not restrict your vision to preconceived solutions, but come with an open mind to develop new ideas with the people you meet at the event. We see this as being critical to selection of participants and to the success of the sandpit. Genuinely novel approaches tend to come from open- ended discussion between people working in very different fields. 
Vital to the success of this programme is the involvement of families and carers of people now resident in long term care settings, who might wish to offer their insight into what life is really like. 
If this is something you might be interested in but you do not want to participate in the sandpit, please contact therev@healthktn.org.
Accommodation, refreshments, breakfast, lunch and dinner costs will be met by the Technology Strategy Board. Any incidental costs and travel costs to and from the sandpit will not be covered. 
The sandpit will run over five days and attendance is compulsory for the entire duration. 

Next steps 

The sandpit plays a part in the assessment process. At the end of the five days, independent Technology Strategy Board sandpit mentors will, based on assessment criteria, select some of these teams to put forward written proposals for business-led SBRI projects. Full details of this process will be given to participants at the sandpit. 

What about intellectual property?

It is essential that you can share your ideas freely at the sandpit to explore business opportunities and future collaborations, so all participants will need to sign the non disclosure agreement before attending. By applying you are agreeing in principle to the non disclosure agreement. 

What funding is available? 

Up to £2.4m of Technology Strategy Board funding is allocated to projects arising from the sandpit. The projects will be funded through the SBRI scheme which means that successful business-led projects will be awarded a 100% development contract. 

Key dates

  • Competition opens: 8 April 2013
  • Competition briefing
    • Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh: 10 April 2013
    • Leeds City Museum, Leeds: 23 April 2013
    • London: 9 May 2013
  • Deadline for registration: 5 June 2013 noon
  • Deadline for applications: 12 June 2013, noon
  • Decision to successful sandpit applicants: 12 July 2013
  • Sandpit: 16-20 September 2013

Further information

To apply for this competition you must first register with us. You can do this by going to the web page for this competition at www.innovateuk.org under Competitions. When you register you will get access to all the supporting information you need to read before you apply, including the Guidance for Applicants and the application form.
The deadline for applications is noon 12 June 2013. Applications should be uploaded to the Competitions area of our website. Please note that late submissions will not be considered. 
Applicants will be informed of their selection for the sandpit by end of business on 12 July 2013.
If selected as a participant, your details in section 1 of the application form will be made available to other participants to facilitate networking at the event. Section 2 of the application form will remain confidential.


As part of the application process all applicants are asked to submit a public description of the project. This should adequately describe the project but not disclose any information that may impact on intellectual property, is confidential or commercially sensitive.
The titles of successful projects, names of organisations, amounts awarded and the public description will be published once the award is confirmed as final. Information about unsuccessful project applications will remain confidential and will not be made public. E-mail pressoffice@tsb.gov.uk with any queries.