Ground Breaking Research in Cornwall Backed by European Investment

Up to £3.7m of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) has been secured for a project in Cornwall that will undertake ground breaking research in a bid to discover how to enhance the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

The “SMARTLINE” project will explore how digital technologies and innovative approaches to how we live our lives, and connect with our communities can improve our health and wellbeing and, in turn, the health of our communities.  This innovative project will start on 1st March.

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In addition to collecting information from individuals, the project will collect information from participants’ homes, and linking this to other information such as weather data, use this ‘picture’ to help connect the individual to activities, services or people. By increasing and improving the connectedness of our communities we will explore how this can improve wellbeing and community cohesion. 

For example, if during a cold spell of weather, a participating household is noted to have low room temperature from the installed sensors, using the information about the community, it may be possible to find a willing volunteer to check on the household and maybe help prepare a hot meal or ensure the heating is at a suitable level.  If this can be achieved in one household, the learning could be applied across entire communities for the benefit of all involved. 

The SMARTLINE project will help identify the requirements and market potential for new eHealth and eWellbeing products and services, stimulate business development, identify skills gaps, and create jobs.  With an ageing population in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and indeed around the world, this research has huge potential from both a care and commercial point of view.

The SMARTLINE project is being delivered by a partnership of local Cornish organisations; University of Exeter, Coastline Housing, Volunteer Cornwall and Cornwall Council.

Julian German, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy said, “I’m really excited about this European investment which presents us with a great opportunity in Cornwall to not only enhance the lives of our residents but to also learn from the research and share this knowledge across the country and even the world.  Where we are able to take commercial advantage, we will be able to create well paid jobs for our residents.”

Emma Bland, Centre Manager for the ERDF funded European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, where SMARTLINE is based said, “This is a really exciting and wide reaching project that could help individuals live to take back control of their wellbeing and be part of cohesive and engaged communities. We also hope to share our learning with innovative businesses to develop products and services that really meet the needs of the people of Cornwall.”

Story posted: 1 March 2017