Seedcorn Funding Competition Winners

The NIHR Brain Injury HTC is pleased to announce below the winners of the Seedcorn Funding Competition 2016-17.

Further news will follow shortly.

Round 1

1. Intra-operative detection of 2-Hydroxyglutarate: avoiding injury to normal brain during surgery for low grade gliomas
Mr Stephen Price, University Cambridge
The first aim of this project is to develop a sensor which could be used during an operation to determine if the brain tissue is cancerous. The second aim is to determine a suitable way of processing the tissue prior to 2-HG detection to optimise the sensing process.

Map_Round 12. Cognitive training using an attention/concentration game in adults with brain injury.
Professor Barbara Sahakian, University Cambridge
The group previously developed a NIHR Brain Injury Healthcare Technology Co-operative funded, iPad-based attention/concentration game in collaboration with patients with brain injury. The group now plan to use this game to train visual sustained attention (i.e. the ability to maintain attention/concentration over longer periods of time) and response inhibition (i.e. the ability to withhold an inappropriate response) in patients with brain injury.

 3. Development of sensory stimulating orthotic insoles to aid balance and independent walking following brain injury. 
Dr Kristen Hollands, University Salford
The outcomes will be a definition of the clinical objectives and design and technical specifications for a sensory stimulating orthotic insole based on clinical and patient needs. The eventual orthotic insole will seek to address sensory and balance problems and enhance physical activity for people with brain injury. Ultimately the outcomes from this work will lead to clinical evaluations and future demonstrations of care pathway benefits.

4. Evaluating retrodialysis as a focal delivery method in human brain 
Mr Matthew Stovell, University Cambridge
An important question is how far small molecules administered down microdialysis catheters diffuse into the surrounding brain. Coupled to this question is from how far away in the  brain can we recover molecules from, and so what sized region of brain is represented by microdialysis results. The study will try to answer this question by dissolving a small amount of a substance visible on MRI in the fluid that flows through the microdialysis catheter.

5. ApplTree – Memory aid software for people with acquired brain injury
Dr Matthew Jamieson, University of Glasgow
The grant money will be used to develop ApplTree into fully functional memory aid intervention software that contains these supportive features. This is a crucial step prior to testing the efficacy of this intervention in a larger study. Following the development of ApplTree we will apply for a grant to fund a pilot study followed by a randomised controlled trial (RCT) testing the use of this software by a group of people wth cognitive impairment and everyday memory difficulties.

6. The use of lower body negative pressure to reduce Intracranial pressure: a prelimary study.
Mr Mark Wilson, Imperial College London
The group has utilised lower body negative pressure (LBNP) in a small pilot study to investigate if this mechanical tool can also be utilised to lower ICP. There are potentially  many advantages to such a technique, not least the immediacy of its effect and ability to stop it if required.
The proposed study will take the initial pilot further to investigate the technique in subjects, initially seeing the effects of LBNP on the venous system in the brain (which indicates the effect on ICP without the need for invasive monitoring) and secondly to assess the effect on ICP in patients with concurrent ICP monitoring.

Round 2

7. Mobile app for the delivery of cognitive behavioural therapy following concussion. 
Mr Aimun Jamjoom, University Edinburgh
The project is a novel approach for delivering CBT digitally for patients who have suffered a concussion. It would provide a resource for these patients to take their care into their own hands and help them understand and manage their symptoms.

Map_Round 28. Autoantibody screening for the prediction of outcome and neurodegeneration post-TBI

Dr Edward Needham, University of Cambridge
In the short term the team will develop a novel screening technology for routine clinical use to aid early prognostication of TBI by detecting autoantibodies, a marker of autoimmunity, in around two thirds of patients following traumatic brain injury, and have suggested an association with subsequent worse outcome.

9. Feasibility of identifying modifiable risk factors for the prevention of TBI
Dr Julie Mytton, University of the West of England, Bristol
The group will undertake a study to explore the feasibility of adapting the Child Death Overview Panel principles and processes to improve our understanding of risk factors for non-fatal TBI and identifying
potential interventions to prevent future TBI.

10. Aptitude: Novel Aptamer Technology for Measuring Interleukin at the Bedside.
Dr Susan Giorgi-Coll, University of Cambridge
The overall objective of this study is to develop a bed-side test for the rapid and straight forward detection of inflammation, for future application in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) or bacterial meningitis.

11. Closing the digital divide and enhancing participation in social and leisure activities for individuals with acquired brain injury through near filed communication technology.
Professor Rachel McCrindle, University of Reading
This study will provide evidenced proof of principle that the use of smartphones with NFC technology can reduce the digital divide and enhance participation in hobbies and leisure activities by individuals following ABI.



12. Development of virtual-reality based concussion assessment prototype
Dr Michael Grey, University of East Anglia
The primary object of the project is to develop and test a prototype virtual reality based concussion assessment that can be used to aid the pitch-side return to play decision.

13. Rheolytic Thrombectomy For Adult Intraventricular Haemorrhage (RTIVH). 
Dr Karol Budohoski, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
In this study the team proposed to pilot a novel instrument that employs a high pressure but very localised microjet of water to mechanically disrupt blood clots and then sucks the debris away. This technique has been highly successful in reopening blocked arteries in the heart and, importantly, does so without damaging the underlying vessel lining. In the context of IVH, this should allow rapid removal of blood from the ventricles while causing minimal trauma to the brain.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 – Surviving or thriving?

For Mental Health Awareness week, which this year takes place from 8-14 May, we wanted to share’s animation video, and a few facts on how we can support one another, promoting well being in mind:

The World Health Organisations definition of Mental Health surmises Mental Health as ‘a state of well being in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. supports and values mental health as a core business asset. The EU Partnership CRISP Citizenship, Recovery and Inclusive Society Partnership stresses the benefits of access to nature, either through purpose built spaces or natural, open to all age groups positively affecting their social interaction and cohesion.

To find out about events taking place to support Mental Health Awareness week click on the link below: 

MHAW17 Badge

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – Pre-contract notice (External Assessment Centres)

NICE has published a Prior Information Notice on commissioning external assessment centres from 1 April 2018 at and are running a workshop planned for 28 April 2017.


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for improving outcomes for people using the NHS and other public health and social care services. NICE does this by:

  • Producing evidence-based guidance and advice for health, public health and social care practitioners.
  • Developing quality standards and performance metrics for those providing and commissioning health, public health and social care services.
  • Providing a range of information services for commissioners, practitioners and managers across the spectrum of health and social care.

NICE’s guidance and advice can be used by the NHS, local authorities, employers, voluntary groups and anyone else involved in delivering care or promoting wellbeing. Documents describing the methods and processes employed by NICE in developing its guidance are available from the Institute’s website (available at

NICE’s technology evaluation programmes require a range of high quality HTA services from organisations with knowledge of novel technologies, the life sciences industry and novel research methodologies.  NICE uses its non-drug technology programmes to develop guidance on the value of new and novel device, diagnostic and digital technologies that have the potential to offer substantial benefit to patients and/or the NHS, and on the safety and efficacy of interventional procedures.  NICE facilitates collaborative research involving industry, academia and the NHS to generate evidence on the clinical utility or longer term use of selected technologies. NICE also provides specialist observational data collection and analysis services. NICE also develops technology appraisals guidance which contains recommendations on the use of new and existing medicines and treatments within the NHS.

Services to be commissioned

NICE seeks to commission external assessment centre (EAC) services to support a variety of technology evaluation programmes from 01/04/2018 for a period of three years in the first instance. More information on NICE’s programmes can be found at:

NICE invites potential suppliers to attend a workshop regarding this work, which allows NICE to engage with potential suppliers interested in learning more about the services NICE is commissioning. 

Exploring social franchising – The Health Foundation

HF Brand LogoOpen for expressions of interest

  • Does your team have a proven health care intervention it wants to spread widely?
  • Does your organisation have social purpose at its heart?
  • We’re looking for teams to explore whether social franchising techniques can successfully spread your work.
  • Apply now for the chance to receive funded consultancy support from the International Centre for Social Franchising (ICSF) to explore whether social franchising or licensing might be appropriate for your intervention.

The Health Foundation is exploring new techniques to spread improvement. Social franchising and licensing are methods to replicate and spread interventions that have not yet been used or tested widely in health care!

Social franchising involves enabling another team or organisation to deliver a proven programme to agreed standards under a franchise agreement. Social licensing involves turning an innovation into intellectual property that can be licensed for use by others, with certain expectations on quality. In both cases, the primary aim is to maximise social benefit – which is what distinguishes them from the commercial use of franchising and licensing methods.

The Health Foundation is offering teams the opportunity to apply for funded consultancy support from ICSF to explore whether social franchising techniques can support the successful spread of improvement interventions. More information on the Health Foundation website.