£1m grant to create VR training platform for CGT professionals 

Great British Pounds, Investment

UK technology company FourPlus, along with collaborators Holosphere and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, have been awarded funding from Innovate UK to create and test a mixed reality training platform that enables customised training delivery for pharmaceutical companies and healthcare.  

The project is a £1 million investment, with almost 75% from Innovate UK, and has been awarded via the Digitalisation and Automation of Medicines R&D and Manufacture competition. It will support the development of a customisable training platform that leverages mixed reality and multi-player capabilities.  

The training platform  

The digital and automated training platform will be designed for a number of manufacturing roles within cell and gene therapy, biopharmaceutical and wider life science sectors, including those at hospital sites. It will support initial training of staff, validation and the creation of digital training records. 

The platform will also enable healthcare trainers and trainees to collaborate seamlessly within virtual training environments. Additionally, the grant will facilitate the integration of data analytics tools, providing valuable insights for training and competency assessment purposes. 

The training platform will expand the FourPlus technology portfolio that is already influencing the onboarding and training process for new hires and apprentices in technical roles within the healthcare and biopharma sectors. By significantly accelerating time to competence, using FourPlus software leads to substantial cost savings. Automation and standardisation of core training elements also guarantees consistent workforce skills, ensuring excellence across technical functions within an organisation. 

Furthermore, this solution significantly reduces waste streams by minimising the use of single-use consumables in physical lab training, thereby making a positive environmental impact. 

Official comments 

FourPlus CEO, Dr Ivan Wall, said: “We are really excited to be starting this innovative project with Holosphere and Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult. We already know that VR is a powerful way to support training of new sector employees, as it reduces cost, time, facility use and waste production. This project will deliver the next generation solution, that integrates mixed reality, training customisation, multi-user interactivity, data analytics and training support features. We will integrate best-in-class networked co-localisation technology, designed by project partners Holosphere, and Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult will support through testing with sector apprentices.” 

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult said: “To feed the expected growth of the cell and gene therapy industry we need to employ innovation in every area. FourPlus’ innovative use of virtual and mixed reality is a great example of new technology meeting need. We look forward to working with FourPlus, Holosphere and our apprentice community to test this platform.”

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