The Children’s Health Impact Accelerator has launched to address the severe underinvestment in children’s health technology, compared to other areas of health tech within the NHS.

The accelerator is a non-equity, startup programme based in Liverpool and London. It is funded by Innovate UK, as part of the Biomedical Catalyst, and will be run by leading startup builder and early stage investor Founders Factory.

Support will also be in place from health tech consultants Humant and children’s health charity, Thinking of Oscar.

Henry Lane Fox, Founders Factory CEO, said: “Now is the time to bring together the right group of influential players to direct a greater proportion of this capital to world-class innovations that will help ensure future healthy populations.

“Together we are creating the leading programme in the UK, supporting children’s health innovation and the best launchpad for entrepreneurs tackling tough but incredibly important problems to protect generations to come.”

The 10-week bootcamp is aimed at helping founders and ventures who are putting children at the heart of innovation to tackle the unmet needs within paediatric care.

They will gain access to an established network of hospitals, including Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, in order to drive growth in the market from investment to adoption.

Tom Smith, Humant’s founder, said: “The Children’s Health Impact Accelerator programme brings together subject matter and operational know-how to deliver a full-stack support structure to very early-founding teams building smart solutions that address the unmet needs of paediatric care.”

The accelerator programme is open for up to 20 early-stage health tech ventures, who will receive funding, insight and expertise to help develop and test their innovation solutions.

The key areas to be addressed include, but are not limited to; paediatric oncology, neonatal technologies, rare diseases, remote patient monitoring, respiratory conditions, obesity, preventive measures of care, movement & muscle disorders and surgical technologies.

Less than 1% of digital health investment goes towards child healthcare technology and there is a lack of health sector adoption of bespoke solutions to the repurposing of adult health tech for children.

David Cole, co-founder of Thinking of Oscar, added: “Children and young people make up 25% of the population, and are 100% of our future.”

He continued: “We believe there must be greater emphasis on finding new, bespoke ways to improve children’s health that aid the NHS’s strategic direction on the future delivery of health and care to this part of our population.

“This programme will be a vital stepping-stone for founders who want to develop solutions that tackle the pressing needs of paediatric patients and their families.”

This accelerator is one of many in the healthcare sector that has been open for new cohorts. Others include the NHS Innovation Accelerator programme, which has welcomed 17 new Fellows into the programme in 2023, making it the largest cohort since its launch in 2015.