A £2MILLION fund has been announced to encourage innovation in the NHS in the east of England. The Regional Innovation Fund as part of a package of measures by the Department of Health to support frontline NHS staff in developing innovative ideas. Many innovative ideas in the NHS risk not being developed due to a lack of funding, according to the East of England Strategic Health Authority. This money will help to put these ideas into practice and stimulate the inspiration of NHS staff and their colleagues in social care, the SHA said. Regional Innovation Fund challenges and prizes will be set and awarded for non-clinical as well as clinical advances. Also announced by the Department of Health, is a new legal duty for SHAs to promote innovation. NHS East of England has already carried out an innovation review and will develop a strategy to support this new legal duty. NHS East of England recently launched its Small Business Research Initiative, which is offering a prize of up to £100,000 to companies working on the development of an innovative process, material, device, product or service that will help to meet current health priorities in the region. In March, Cambridge, including a relocated Papworth Hospital, was confirmed by the Department of Health as an Academic Health Science Centre. These centres, chosen from among the leading university medical centres in the country, will foster world class partnerships between research, teaching and patient care organisations so that developments in research can be more readily translated into benefits in patient care across the NHS and across the world.