Department of Health to launch design tender

The Department of Health is looking to pioneer the use of design in the fight against hospital ‘superbugs’ such as MRSA. The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency has appointed the Design Council to coordinate a special fast-track project to find five UK design consultancies to collaborate with scientists and healthcare experts on the development of innovative design-led hospital furniture and equipment that could improve cleaning and reduce patients’ exposure to healthcare-acquired infections.

The Design Bugs Out programme will begin with a briefing for designers in conjunction with the Design Business Association on 2 September.

The brief will be based on research in three hos pitals, to establish key problem areas for design teams to focus on.

Product design guru Richard Seymour, Habitat’s former crea – tive director Tom Dixon, the cofounder of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design Heather Martin and a team of microbiology and infection control specialists will make up the judging panel for the tender.

The five successful design teams will be given a grant of £25 000 each to develop design concepts and prototypes in one of five key areas identified.

The closing date for Design Bugs Out submissions will be 10 October, with final team selections to be announced on 20 October. Teams will have seven weeks to devise concepts, with development of prototypes anticipated between December and March 2009.

A national showcase of the designs is expected to take place in April 2009.

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