In-home biorhythm lighting will support people with dementia

A diverse group of senior people joining hands and smiling at each other

Lighting that helps people with dementia manage their condition better and stay in their own homes longer is being developed by start-up, Circadacare.

The project will adapt the biorhythm-based lighting commonly used in care homes for smaller buildings, including an individual’s home.

It is funded jointly by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) as part of the healthy ageing challenge and by the North East Innovation Fund.

The North East Innovation Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Northstar Ventures.

Dementia and neurodegenerative diseases are estimated to affect a million people by 2024 (Alzheimer’s Society, 2014) and place additional strain on assisted living and care homes.

Bioadaptive lighting

Recent research has shown that bioadaptive lighting, lighting which mimics the body’s natural rhythms, has positive effects on slowing the onset of neurodegenerative diseases and institutionalisation rates.

To date, this has only been made available in large care settings and is cost-prohibitive for smaller buildings, but Circadacare’s project aims to tackle that.

It will research and develop an ‘in-home’ system which combines health benefits of circadian lights, with artificial intelligence-driven sensing technologies to identify disease progression and abnormal behaviours.

Translating the science into solutions

Herman van Driel, Director, Circadacare, said:

Disrupted human circadian rhythms have wide-ranging health and wellbeing impacts in older adults and our focus is on translating the science into solutions which improve the quality of life of older adults and people living with dementia for happier more engaging lives.

Richard Charnley, Investment Director at Northstar, said:

We are delighted to support this important and innovative project which could potentially have a huge benefit to many people’s lives.

With more people living longer it’s important that we have technology solutions that help retain the quality of life too.

George MacGinnis, UKRI’s health ageing challenge director, said:

A third of children born today will live to 100.

By 2050, the number of people aged 85 and over is projected to double in size.

But it doesn’t necessarily mean that these extended years are spent in good health, those aged 65 today will only live half of their remaining life without disability.

That’s why the healthy ageing challenge is funding projects like this, which will help people lead healthier, more independent and connected lives, as they age.

Further information


Circadacare is a science-led health tech company focused on improving the quality of life of older adults through correctly synchronising day or night cycles.

It promotes healthy circadian rhythms for people spending most of their time indoors.

Through our smart technology, older adults and people living with dementia feel better and are more engaged, encouraging improved activity levels and reducing falls.

Northstar Ventures Limited

Northstar Ventures is a venture capital and social investment firm based in the north-east.

We provide funding for innovative, scalable businesses and high impact social enterprises.

We have been supporting entrepreneurs since 2004, seeking out strong teams with great ideas that will drive:

  • high growth
  • scalable businesses
  • sustainable charities.

As the north-east’s leading early-stage investor, we have invested over £100 million into start-ups, early-stage businesses and high impact social enterprises in the region.

Our investment managers have a wealth of experience supporting new and growing businesses and bring commercial and operational experience, PhDs and MBAs, international careers and micro-businesses.

North East Fund

The North East Fund is a suite of five venture capital and loan funds which was established in April 2018, to invest £120 million in around 600 north-east businesses until March 2023.

The fund managers provide business development advice and investment finance to small and medium-sized enterprises based in the seven local authority areas of north-east England:

  • Northumberland
  • North Tyneside
  • Newcastle
  • South Tyneside
  • Gateshead Sunderland
  • County Durham.

The programme encourages investment in and the commercialisation of new technologies, including low carbon technologies.

It also focuses on stimulating new business creation, private investment and entrepreneurialism in the north-east, with a view to creating over 2,500 new jobs.

The North East Fund has overall responsibility for the programme, which is delivered through five separate funds, each managed by independent, FCA regulated fund managers.

Further details and up-to-date information on the progress of the programme is available on The North East Fund’s website.

The North East Fund has been established with funding from:

  • the north-east of England European Regional Development Fund programme
  • the European Investment Bank
  • returns on previous north-east based, publicly supported investment funds.

It is jointly owned by the seven north-east local authorities.

European Regional Development Fund

The North East Fund will receive up to £58,500,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014 to 2020.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support:

  • innovation
  • businesses
  • the creation of jobs
  • local community regenerations.

For more information, visit England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds.

European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will lend up to £60,000,000 to the North East Fund programme.

The EIB is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its member states.

It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

For more information, visit European Investment Bank.

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