Digital Innovation Hubs Life Science
Life Sciences Industrial Strategy
8 mins read

City welcomes influential report recommending creation of Digital Innovation Hubs

A report by prominent Life Science’s Champion Professor Sir John Bell recommending the creation of new Digital Innovation Hubs in the UK has been welcomed by Leeds City Council and partners.

With Sir John setting out a recommendation in the report on the future of the UK’s Life Science sector to ‘Establish two to five Digital Innovation Hubs providing data across regions of three to five million people’, Leeds has expressed its desire and readiness to be one of the host sites.

If created, these hubs would enable researchers in the UK to engage with meaningful data for 3-5million people, improve the speed of technology trial initiations and create and strengthen world leading medtech centres which can compete on a global level.

Already supporting 200 companies and recognised as a world leading centre for medical technology, an ideal candidate to realise Sir John’s recommendation in the city is an innovative project currently being developed known as the ‘Leeds Innovation District’.

A key aim of the Leeds Innovation District which has been formed as part of a partnership between Leeds City Council, University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, are plans to unlock and create a 21st century science park in the city.

This facility would leverage the benefits of a cluster of world class research activities and facilities, and utilise the experience and creativity of organisations at the forefront in public services innovation. This would assist the creation of a range of opportunities for business start-ups, growth and investment not just in Leeds but the wider city region.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said:

“It is clear that Leeds is the best placed city to deliver a Medtech Digital Innovation Hub. We are pleased that Leeds is rightly recognised in Sir John’s report as a global centre for medtech already, but we know that there is even greater potential.

That is why, in partnership with the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, we have already begun work to develop a Leeds Innovation District. We now stand ready to work with government through the industrial strategy to deliver the Innovation District and ensure that Leeds and the UK remains at the forefront of global medtech.”

Leeds credentials as a centre for medical excellence have been further underlined by two further announcements this week. Supported by the Leeds Academic Health Partnership (LAHP), Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Leeds have been successful with two bids to host National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) MedTech & In Vitro Diagnostic Co-operatives, while Leeds Beckett University was also rated by the Nursing Times as providing the best nursing education amongst the 52 UK providers.

The MedTech & In Vitro Diagnostic Co-operatives will act as centres of expertise, bringing together clinicians, researchers, health commissioners and industry support the development of new diagnostic and surgical technologies and ultimately benefit patients.

The LAHP have also started work on the Leeds Health Innovation Gateway project which will work with innovators of all sizes in the sector to identify their needs and navigate them to the most appropriate service, advice, and expertise. More details can be found in the Notes to Editors section.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership said:

“Leeds City Region has a long heritage in fostering innovation within healthcare and has played an important role both nationally and globally in the field of medical technology, from the manufacturing of the Charnley Hip System to conducting the UK’s first double hand transplant.

This alongside the strength of our nine universities and the existing businesses based in the region – which includes over 350 medical technology firms, makes it clear to me that Leeds and the wider city region should be the location of choice for a new Medtech Digital Innovation Hub.”

John Fisher CBE, Professor of Mechanical Engineering University of Leeds said:

“Leeds City Region has a long history and distinctive global reputation in medical technology innovation. The opportunity to create a Digital Health Innovation Hub, supported through the Leeds Innovation District Development, will allow us to deliver improvements in patient care, as well as support economic growth and exports. We are extremely well placed to address and deliver on the challenges set out in Sir John Bells report.”

Linda Pollard CBE, Chair of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said:

“We are at the forefront of healthcare innovation in the UK and our collaboration through the Leeds Innovation District is building on an already flourishing area of research and enterprise. The introduction of a Digital Health Hub would enable us to compete with the best at an international level; utilising the specialist expertise of our workforce and providing even more cutting edge, specialist care for patients.”

On the Nursing Times announcement, Leeds Beckett University Vice Chancellor Peter Slee said:

“This is a great accolade for our dedicated professional staff and our healthcare partners in the Lees City region. It is also great news for our city, where most of our student nurses will develop their careers.”

Facts about Leeds medtech:

  • The Leeds City Region hosts 22% of UK digital health technology jobs
  • 8.9% of medtech patents submitted by UK inventors have originated in the Leeds City Region
  • Over 250 businesses specialising in medical technologies in LCR, complemented by over 200 digital and technology businesses in health and social care.

Leeds Health Innovation Gateway project:

The Leeds Health Innovation Gateway will provide a single, virtual doorway and one-stop-shop to Leeds for innovators of all sizes, where we will work with them to identify their needs and navigate them to the most appropriate service, advice, and expertise. In addition to helping innovators navigate the system, the Gateway will enable the innovation process, acting as a key contact point and relationship broker to Leeds’ existing services, organisations, structures, expertise and citizens.

The Gateway will promote the growth of SME’s in Leeds, and work with them and entrepreneurial individuals to grow transformative ideas into transformative realities, improving patient experiences and outcomes, and reducing health inequalities by targeting the issues that affect the most deprived communities.

To view the report by Sir Jon Bell, please see: Life Sciences Industrial Strategy

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