ARIIA launches ideas incubator for aged care tech – Australian Ageing Agenda

Australian Ageing Agenda
Applications are open for a new incubator program that provides time with experts to help design, test and proceed early stage product or technology innovation ideas for the aged care sector.
The initiative is a collaboration between Aged Care Research & Industry Innovation Australia and Flinders University’s Medical Device Partnering Program, which has been supporting the development of medical devices since 2008.
The ARIIA x MDPP Ideas Incubator Program was announced at ARIIA’s inaugural conference at Monday evening’s dinner by Professor Karen Reynolds, who leads both the MDPP and ARIIA’s Aged Care Partnering Program.
“The aim of the program is to support people and organisations who have ideas for new technologies that may provide benefits to aged care and to those people within the ageing system. It’s based on 15 years of success of running a very similar program within the medical device partnering program,” Professor Reynolds told delegates at Monday’s dinner.
Rather than money, a successful applicant will receive 280 hours of support from experts – 250 hours for technical work and 30 hours for commercial work.
“There’ll be a team of technical experts, engineers and so on to help develop the project to do some prototyping and perhaps some laboratory studies, or other technical developments. And then also a 30-hour component, which is around the commercial aspects. So helping perhaps to do some primary market research or secondary market research and trying to help that pathway through to get the product through to market,” Professor Reynolds said.
Importantly, the initiative will help to determine whether the ideas have technical and commercial feasibility and meets an unmet or poorly met need in the aged care sector so it actually helps providers or consumers in some way, shape or form, she said.
“Those three elements are really important parts of an application. Importantly, the applications open today, so you can all rush home and start putting in your application,” Professor Reynolds said.
Speaking to Australian Ageing Agenda at Monday’s event, ARIIA research director and workforce capability lead Professor Sue Gordon said four successful ideas will be funded in September and another four later in the year.
“This is an incubator for aged care technology for testing, proceeding, and co-design it,” Professor Gordon told AAA.
The program will also help assess its marketability in terms of whether this is a solution for a problem – rather than a solution looking for a problem, she said.
“It’s all about bringing the right team together” and seeing whether the tech is “something that’s worthwhile investing in beyond” the incubator period, she said.
The initiative will also involve connecting the innovators with partners including aged care providers.
“We’ll be calling for aged care providers to be involved in these partnerships. And asking who else we need to bring on board,” Professor Gordon said. “Do we need to bring in a physiologist? Do we need to bring in an acoustic architect? Do we need to bring in all those areas of expertise to make the project more likely to be successful?”
Applications close for this first round on 9 June. There will be a second round later in the year.
More information is available on ARIIA’s website. Professor Reynolds suggested those interested to also check the MDPP program’s page for an indication of the kind of projects that could be achieved within a 250-hour window.
She also wished applicants good luck. “I’m looking forward to seeing some really exciting innovations that can try and help support our sector.”
The two-day conference – Facing the Future: Aged Care 2030 and Beyond – continues on Tuesday.
Main image: Day one of ARIIA’s conference
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