Developers of immersive technology for mental health to benefit from £20m investment and Innovator Support Programme

February 6, 2024

A new supportive ecosystem for UK innovators working on immersive digital mental health therapeutics is being launched.

The UKRI Mindset XR Innovator Support Programme is going to be led by the Health Innovation Network (HIN) South London it was announced today.

The full Mindset extended reality (XR) for digital mental health programme 2022- 2026 is a £20m investment which aims to treat more people with mental health needs by investing in Extended Reality (XR) and other immersive technologies; achieving transformation through the development and scale-up of emerging digital mental health therapies.

Through collaboration with experts across the UK, the HIN will deliver a programme of innovator support including:

  • Creating a networking and information sharing platform for potential collaborators.
  • Providing advice and expert support to existing and future competition applicants.
  • Delivering a programme of outreach and engagement activities to cover the whole of the UK, including the devolved administrations.
  • Facilitating knowledge sharing across a community of practice.
  • Providing tailored support for larger scale industrial research projects and smaller feasibility projects.
  • Delivering a learning package on a range of key topics.
  • Driving the conditions for change through industry-wide and health system-wide roundtables.

The collaboration brings together UK wide reach and a set of complementary skills – service user engagement, clinical research design, regulation and digital therapeutics – critical to address the challenge of bringing immersive tech to our population and staff. As part of the Health Innovation Network, we will collaborate with networks across the country, including Health Innovation North West Coast, Health Innovation South West and Health Innovation North East and North Cumbria. As well as these we will also collaborate with:

  • Hardian Health
  • Hill Dickinson LLP
  • The Health Innovation Research Alliance Northern Ireland (HIRANI)
  • King’s College London
  • MQ Mental Health Research
  • XR Health Alliance

Dr Rishi Das-Gupta, CEO of the HIN said: “Immersive technology has the potential to dramatically improve the treatment of those with mental health conditions, which is an area we know has seen increased demand and widening health inequalities.

“Working with Innovate UK and our collaborators across the UK presents an exciting opportunity to make a wide-scale difference.”

Quotes from Partners’ Spokespeople

    Hardian Health

    “Hardian is excited to be working with innovators at the cutting edge of healthtech to ensure that their novel extended and virtual reality devices are as safe, effective and performant as can be when applied across a range of medical purposes. We look forward to stretching the boundaries of what is possible with the Mindset cohort.”

    Health Innovation North East and North Cumbria

    Dr Nicola Hutchinson, CEO of Health Innovation North East and North Cumbria, commented: “We are delighted to be a partner on this important project, which will help to mobilise groundbreaking immersive innovations to address the mental health challenges facing many people in our communities. Through the Mindset programme, we’re looking forward to working with innovators in the immersive technology space in our region to support the development of solutions that will hopefully result in people with mental health needs being treated more quickly through immersive digital mental health therapies.”

    Health Innovation North West Coast

     Dr Phil Jennings, Chief Executive of Health Innovation North West Coast, said: “We’re really excited to be involved in a project that promises to deliver tangible improvements in patient outcomes.

    “The challenges are as acute in our region as anywhere in the country but there’s also an abundance of talent and creativity we can draw on. The Mindset programme will help us bring that creativity to bear on one of our most enduring challenges.”

    Health Innovation South West

    Jon Siddall, Chief Executive Officer of Health Innovation South West, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to build upon the existing novel technologies developed in, and deployed across, the South West to support those with mental health needs. We are working with our partners in the South West to maximise the impact of research and innovation in mental health care. Mindset’s innovative therapeutics offer promising digital solutions to the mental health challenges experienced by people living within our rural and coastal communities, and will enable us to drive a digitally-enabled health and care sector across our Peninsula.”

    Hill Dickinson

    “The Mindset XR Innovator Support Programme will be a brilliant vehicle for innovators to collaborate and develop new and immersive technologies for adoption into everyday healthcare settings. Extended Reality [XR] and similar technologies have the potential to transform our current approach to treating patients accessing mental health services here in the UK. For us as specialist healthtech lawyers it’s incredibly exciting to be a part of that.”  Jamie Foster, Partner, Hill Dickinson


    “In Northern Ireland there is a distinctive mix of capabilities in digital technology and the creative industries, coupled with expertise in mental health research – so we are delighted to partner with Health Innovation Network South London to support the Innovate-UK Mindset XR programme network in this region to support innovators to unleash their potential to forge new collaborations to develop and test XR technology solutions for mental health” Joann Rhodes CEO of HIRANI.

    Innovate UK

    Dr Stella Peace, Executive Director for the Healthy Living and Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK, said: “Fostering collaboration between the immersive technology sector and mental health providers is pivotal to driving innovation to address critical challenges in mental health care. This programme, with its commitment to empowering innovators and providing robust support, will drive business growth by inspiring and unlocking innovations that make life better.”

    King’s College London

    Fiona Gaughran, Professor of Physical Health and Clinical Therapeutics in Psychiatry, King’s College London said: “We are very excited to be part of this innovative collaboration aiming to develop and scale-up new immersive digital mental health technologies. At King’s College London we have a wealth of clinical researchers who bring their patient experience right into the heart of their research to positively impact the lives of people with mental health needs and their families. We are looking forward to sharing our knowledge in this area and providing support and training across the partnership.”

    MQ Mental Health Research

    “MQ is excited to be a capacity development partner, alongside the Health Innovation Network, supporting innovators in the creation of digital therapeutic Extended Reality (XR) solutions in mental health. Specifically, and in line with what MQ stands for and strives to achieve, we look forward to helping these passionate individuals ensure people with lived experience and their needs are at the heart of their innovations and to help them along their pathway to impact.”


    “We desperately need to bring together science, storytelling and innovation to solve some of society’s greatest challenges. The XR Health Alliance are utterly elated be part of the Mindset program, which has the bold goals of doing exactly that. We are particularly excited to be supporting and bringing together a transdisciplinary community of patients, XR creatives, healthcare professionals and researchers to create powerful new solutions for mental health and wellbeing.”

    Notes to Editors

    Hardian health is a clinical digital consultancy helping researchers, industry and investors bring digital solutions to healthcare.

    Health Innovation North East and North Cumbria supports the health and care system to accelerate innovation which improves people’s health and the regional economy.

    It works closely with the NENC ICS and its member organisations, including the NHS Trusts and universities, across the NENC to help them identify, evaluate, adopt and disseminate transformative innovation. It works a lot with industry too, as a source of innovation and also to help industry access the expertise within the NHS that is so crucial to the development, testing and deployment of products and services that are the basis of the UK’s Life Sciences sector.

    Health Innovation North West Coast supports the discovery, development and deployment of innovations and improvements in health and care across Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and South Cumbria.

    The innovations it supports are ideas, services, products and processes which improve health and the quality of care and drive costs down.

    Health Innovation South West is one of 15 Health Innovation Networks set up by NHS England in 2013.

    It exists to help transform the way health and care systems in the South West identify, adopt and spread innovation to transform lives, improve population health, and drive economic growth. Together with its local and national partners it is increasing the impact of research and innovation across the peninsula.

    An international commercial law firm that provides wise counsel and market insight, to not only help deal with the issue at hand, but to help seize opportunities and plan ahead.

    The Health Innovation Research Alliance Northern Ireland (HIRANI) was established to strengthen the Life & Health Sciences ecosystem by maintaining a clear vision and strategic direction, and to act as a single voice for the sector with a focus on promoting Life and Health sciences capabilities in Northern Ireland.

    Innovate UK is creating a better future by inspiring, involving and investing in businesses developing life-changing innovations.

    We provide targeted sectors with expertise, facilities and funding to test, demonstrate and evolve their ideas, driving UK productivity and economic growth. Join our network and communities of innovators to realise the potential of your ideas and accelerate business growth.

    King’s College London is an internationally renowned university delivering exceptional education and world-leading research. It is dedicated to driving positive and sustainable change in society and realising its vision of making the world a better place.

    Its vision is to create a world where mental illness is understood, effectively treated and ultimately prevented. With the help of its supporters and a global network of leading scientists, it is championing and funding research into mental health that will change millions of lives.

    The XR Health Alliance is dedicated to the responsible development, investment and adoption of immersive technologies in healthcare. Bridging the gap between industry, research and healthcare to unlock new cross-sector innovation and collaboration.  XRHA aims to share best practice, support and connect inclusive and diverse communities of patients, creators, researchers and healthcare professionals.

    Mental Health

    Want to find out more about our work on Mindset?

    Get in touch