NPiHR Science and Innovation Audit reveals opportunity in the North to drive clinical research

Today, the Government has announced the publication of the Northern Health Science Alliance’s (NHSA) Northern Powerhouse in Health Research (NPiHR) Science and Innovation Audit (SIA).

The NHSA’s ambition is to use the SIA as a way to help the North become a healthier and more economically productive place in which to live, narrowing the North’s health, wealth, and productivity gaps compared with the South of England.

Nicola Wilson, Interim CEO of the NHSA, said:

The North of England is a powerhouse in health research and it is excellent to see this recognised today by Government through the publication of the NHSA’s NPiHR SIA.

The North’s world-leading strengths in using data for better health and wealth, in precision medicine, and in nurturing health innovation talent, are among many other attributes in health science recognised in this document.

Through using the considerable assets and collateral mapped out in the SIA, Government has the potential to drive the North’s economy forward and to rebalance the whole country as an economic powerhouse for the 21st century.”

The NPiHR SIA highlights the region’s ability to drive clinical research across its 16 million population by drawing on the region’s expertise in health and life sciences.

It follows on from the Industrial Strategy Life Sciences Sector Deal published in December which revealed £1.6bn of planned industry investment in the North’s life sciences over the next five years.

In November 2018 the NHSA’s “Health for Wealth” report demonstrated £1.20 of the £4 per person productivity gap between the North and South of England was directly attributable to poorer health in the North.

Universities and Science Minister Chris Skidmore said:

We are world-leaders across a range of science and research disciplines, and the SIAs published today show the whole nation contributes to that reputation.

We are committed to building on these strengths and others in our modern Industrial Strategy through the largest increase in science funding in a generation.”

The footprint of the (NPiHR) area is formed by eight cities and their hinterlands: Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, and York. The research-intensive universities in each of these cities form the N8 Research Partnership.

The Life Science businesses in the North work collectively through the membership organisation Bionow. Four Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) operate in the SIA’s geography. And the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) works on a pan-Northern basis with these organisations and networks.

The Northern Powerhouse is home to 21% of the total UK life science sector workforce, and has grown by more than 9% to over 50,000 employees since 2012. Latest figures for 2017 show the value of this sector in the North to be over £13.6 billion.

Ms Wilson continued:

By working with place-based communities, supported by initiatives such as #Datasaveslives and Connected Health Cities (CHC), and pioneering assets such as the Great North and Leeds Care Records and the Salford Lung Study, the North is in prime position to diffuse and embed digitally-enabled Precision Medicine research and application at scale, for the benefit of UK citizens and the national economy.”

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