BRADFORD will be at the centre of digital health technology after a £12 million scheme for the city was given Government backing.
The University of Bradford has won £3.8m from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to set up a University Enterprise Zone in digital health innovations after making a successful bid.
As part of the project announced yesterday, two new centres will be open in the city over the next three years to form a digital health zone expected to create 2,000 jobs over the next decade.
A new digital exchange will replace Bradford Council's existing design exchange in Little Germany.
This will create a hub for small and new companies who focus on information and communications technology.
There will be onsite support for them from BT researchers and Bradford University academics. It is scheduled to open early next year.
A new £7m health and well-being centre will also be built on the University of Bradford campus.
This site will be used by doctors, opticians and pharmacists and for trialling out new health devices and services.
The two centres will work together with the aim of developing new devices, services and ways of working to see which are the most effective for patients and affordable.
The scheme is a tie-up between University of Bradford, BT, Bradford Council and NHS organisations including the three Bradford NHS Trusts - Airedale, Bradford Teaching Hospitals and Bradford District Care.
The BIS cash has been topped up by £8.3m from the project's partners. The announcement secures Leeds City Region as a prime area for digital health innovation across the country.
Dr Liam Sutton, head of knowledge transfer at the University of Bradford, said: "It's colossal.
"It will help make the delivery of healthcare more efficient. People will be able to take control of their own lives through technology.
"This city will be back on the map.
"We expect Digital Health Zone companies to create more than 2,000 jobs over the next ten years."
Digital health uses information and communication technologies to help address the health problems faced by patients and can often see them diagnosed from their own home via a video link.
Bradford Council leader David Green said: "This is a further boost in establishing Bradford as being at the forefront of digital technology.
"It is already at the forefront of tele healthcare. It will come up with ways to use digital technology to support the health service.
"We don't know what will come out the other side of this but the ideas can be developed.
"It gives people the opportunity to put their ideas forward in a supportive environment. All this is in one place for them.
"It's important for Bradford that it's in the city centre. People can see it happening."
The aim of University Enterprise Zones is to see universities strengthen their roles as partners in economic growth through leadership in innovation and skills. The zones cover a host of industry sectors.