The government has announced an investment of £215 million to fund NHS health research aiming to “transform the lives” of millions of people living with a range of conditions.

Academics and technology experts will be able to apply for funding to develop new health solutions that give patients greater independence and choice about how they manage their healthcare.

An investment of £150 million will fund research over the next five years to address key health issues, such as the pressures of an ageing population and the increasing demands on the NHS, said health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The remaining £65 million will go towards 13 National Institute for Health Research policy research units that are to play a key role in ensuring that the government and arm’s length bodies are equipped with “the possible information and evidence” to inform policy decisions about health and social care.

These university-based units will house a multidisciplinary team of researchers from collaborating institutions “to create a critical mass of experts for research in priority areas for health and social care policy,” the government noted.

Commenting on the move, Hunt said it is “vital we harness technology to develop the next generation of innovative treatments as part of the government’s long-term plan for the NHS.

“That’s why I want our world-leading academics, researchers and technology experts to work with frontline staff to develop the innovations which not only allow people to live longer, but also to lead healthier lives, so the NHS can continue to provide world-class care to all.”

An extra £3 million has also been set aside to fund the creation of a new research leader programme for nurses and midwives, so that they can help influence new approaches to health and care and improve patient experience.