Research & knowledge exchange

Working in the exploratory phase of our innovation model, our dedicated in-house research & knowledge exchange team can provide you with an interdisciplinary research service across all phases of your project.

Optimising innovation

No matter where you are in the development of your idea we can offer a diverse range of research and knowledge exchange services to ensure your digital health and care innovation is thoroughly considered and developed through solid research intelligence.

What we do

Our research & knowledge exchange services include:

  • Exploratories
  • Tailor-made workshops
  • Background and market research
  • Extensive reviews of literature
  • Background checks on proposed innovations
  • Horizon scanning activities
  • Field work
  • Academic engagement and mentorship

We also capture the lessons learned from our activities and feed these back into the new iterations of innovations.


Part or our remit is to arrange exploratories, which are large workshops that bring together diverse stakeholders (e.g. academics, business, industry and technology experts, health and social care practitioners, designers, NHS service users, carers, charities, policy makers etc.) to explore questions too large for one party to find an answer to. Exploratories are also used to:

  • map out problem areas
  • identify opportunities for innovation
  • better define a proposed area for innovation

During our exploratory workshops we utilise different formats and methodologies to capture, and actively stimulate, innovative thinking and the demand for solutions and novel, user-driven approaches.

The ideas for exploratories can arise from policy, come from the wider public, or emerge through our intake process. If on application a project idea is deemed most suitable for the exploratory-phase by our evaluation panel, we work with the innovators to measure their idea against the most current, diverse and relevant research, innovation and knowledge sources. This horizon scanning ensures that we work with cutting-edge technology, innovation and design. A project usually enters the exploratory-phase if the question needing an answer is very broad or the innovation domain is not well defined, such as re-designing a segment of the health and care service.

Tailor-made workshops

As well as our large exploratories, we can also organise smaller, tailor-made workshops on request. The purpose of these could be to help an organisation conceptualise or tackle a problem in a different way, or to simply find out more about the innovation process of the DHI.

We recently organised a workshop on e-Prescription services for the National Services Scotland e-prescription team. The task was to find out “how to remove paper from the prescription services in Scotland.”  To kick this off our team carried out research into different e-prescription services around the world, presenting examples of systems which have removed paper from the prescription systems. The participants, working in smaller groups, were then given a series of questions and ranking exercises to help them identify what types of barriers there were in the Scottish prescription service to remove the paper and help them think how these barriers could be removed.

Getting DHI input to our business problem was just what we needed. The workshop they ran for us was a stimulating and challenging day which encouraged us to explore our thinking and consider different approaches. They had also carried out some detailed research prior to the workshop which helped us to understand what other European Countries had done. The workshop didn’t provide us with all the answers neatly packaged but it certainly provided us with lots of new information, some inspiration and a great deal to think about
David Knowles, National Services Scotland

Background and market research

As part of our in-house research service, we may carry out market research and background checks on prospective innovations that come into our systems. This entails focus-group activities and/or academic and commercial literature scanning.

Academic engagement

We also look after our academic outreach programme. During 2015-2016 we toured round most of the Scottish Universities arranging engagement events to showcase the work that the we do, and how different academic research and development groups could get involved.

In the future we are planning on organising one larger annual academic digital health and care conference, and three smaller, regional university engagement events (in the East, West and North of Scotland).

Academic mentorship

The DHI fund annually a number of masters-level studentships within digital health and care at different HEI's in Scotland. As part of the funding activity, we arrange a face-to-face student meeting/conference to give the DHI-funded students an opportunity to meet up, network, present their work, discuss issues and opportunities, as well as learn about the DHI and the opportunities for aligning their Masters work with these issues and opportunties. There’s also some limited availability for student mentoring at the DHI.

Share this page

    How it works

    Find out how we select the projects we think are suitable to develop.


    Send us your idea

    Do you have an innovative idea to improve health and care services?


    Stay in the loop

    Sign up to our newsletter to receive regular news, information and updates.

    Field is required
    Field is required
    Provide valid email address