The aim of the programme is to establish a variety of collaborations that sees a client need translated into practical innovation projects that draw on specialist input from across the University’s departments including: Product Design, Engineering, Health Sciences, Business Studies and increasingly, Computer Science.

There are various support options available, from Innovation skills workshops, each delivered by academics and professional practitioners, to specialised academic support that sees companies working directly with academics to frame and identify funding for innovation projects. Co-Innovate Journeys also enables companies to work directly with Undergraduate and Post-graduate students on a wide variety of topics.

To facilitate these collaborations, Co-Innovate has available a limited number of Innovation Vouchers to fund initial project work with academic staff.

Brunel Design has supported NHS-based product innovation for over a decade, consistently demonstrating the value of a people-centred design approach to health and wellbeing, working with NHS Healthcare Trusts including Guy’s, St Thomas’s and Hillingdon Hospitals. These collaborations enable companies to use a design-led-approach, to create products that patients are able to use successfully, as well as research how a given technology could be used in a clinical environment, or by certain groups of end-users.  The resulting products have improved the experience of clinical staff, patients and their families, as well as patient/staff interaction.

This year, collaborative projects have delivered, among others, products to reduce skin necrosis after breast surgery, an inclusive foot mouse for people with severe neurological conditions, a set of effective garments to retain skin dressing for people affected by pemphigus vulgaris, a product-system to improve awareness of and detect antibiotic resistance, and a portable device for retaining confidential exchanges in Neonatal, Intensive Care Units (NICUs).

Academics from Brunel’s Computer Science department are increasing working with Co-Innovate in the field of digital product and service design, another growing focus for innovation. The University is actively engaged with start-ups, established companies and charities in this area. Examples of projects involve specialised technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Immersive technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, deployed in a growing number of healthcare applications, such as VR and AR solutions to reduce patient anxiety, and self-management of post-operative care for patients.

The range of support offered by Co-Innovate Journeys delivers two key benefits to SMEs. The first is a design-led approach that creates products and services tailored to the needs of end-users, and the practical aspects of how a technology can be used in a clinical environment. Secondly, Innovation Vouchers enable Academic with specialist expertise to engage with businesses at the highest level in order to share their expertise across a wide range of disciplines.