Regional healthtech sector poised to boost economic growth as partners join forces

27th September 2021

A range of major new initiatives launching across Leeds and Leeds City Region this month together mark a dynamic new era for transforming healthcare and accelerating economic growth.

With the global medical technologies market forecast to grow significantly to more than $675 billion by 2022 and with venture capitalist investment in UK healthtech reaching a record high of $2.35 billion in 2020, the time is ripe for Leeds City Region to capitalise on these trends.

As home to more than a fifth of the UK’s digital health jobs and hundreds of digital and healthtech businesses supplying the health and care sector, Leeds City Region is already acknowledged as a healthtech hub. But partners are now joining forces to create a seamless, dynamic infrastructure to strengthen its position and the “innovation pipeline”.

The new initiatives include:

  • A Healthtech Catalyst, linking to expertise from industry, academia, the public sector, investor networks and entrepreneurs to stimulate innovation and commercialisation.

This will include access to:

  • information, advice and guidance
  • practical advice such as product pitching, being investor-ready and economic modelling
  • workforce skills and training.

Led and managed by Leeds Academic Health Partnership, the free-to-join Healthtech Catalyst will support all other major, new initiatives to help drive forward new levels of collaboration, investment and pace for healthtech innovation in the region

  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s Innovation Pop Up: situated in Leeds General Infirmary, this is a dynamic new approach to nurture and accelerate the innovation, adoption and spread of health technologies within the hospital setting. Unmatched in the North of England, it is already attracting businesses to locate in the city and the region and is a first step towards creating a world-class centre for healthcare innovation, as part of the emerging innovation district in Leeds.
  • The Leeds’ Centre for Healthtech Innovation: a joint research initiative between the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to accelerate the development and adoption of new health technologies. It will draw on the expertise of a community of around 300 scientists and clinical academics from across the University and the Trust and is part of a wide network of industrial, academic and clinical partners from the Leeds City Region.
  • Bradford and Craven Innovation Hub: focusing on ageing well, the Hub will identify proven innovations and help develop local culture and skills so that these innovations can be effectively adopted. This is part of Act as One, the health and care partnership for Bradford District and Craven
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Innovation Hub – is core to the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership’s plans to create a unified approach to capturing, validating and solving the unmet needs of the local population. Hosted by Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network, the Hub will drive innovation in health and care across what is the country’s third largest integrated care partnership, serving 2.7 million people, alongside the work of West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership.
  • [email protected] health accelerator programme: Applications are now open for the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network’s (AHSN) [email protected] Now in its third year, the 2021 programme is looking for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with innovations that can help the NHS and social care organisations with recovery and transformation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with the AHSN’s Leeds-based partners including Nexus, Barclays Eagle Labs, Leeds City Council and Hill Dickinson, the programme provides a structured course of support and advice to businesses to help them navigate the health system, accelerate company growth and increase market presence.

Other regional assets, such as the University of Huddersfield’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre and the University of Leeds’ Nexus, already provide wide-ranging support for innovative businesses to grow, including access to academic expertise, and research and development facilities.

Linked together, these schemes support new ideas and discoveries from conception through to evaluation and testing – and eventual adoption and use in a clinical setting or with the wider population.

Not only is the aim to stop good ideas from falling by the wayside, but to significantly reduce the time it takes for them to be transformed into products and devices that benefit patients or promote health in the wider population.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, commented: “The Healthtech Catalyst is an exciting initiative to accelerate healthtech innovation in our region and I am proud to support the launch event. We want to make a difference in our region and this collaborative platform will not only support local businesses in the healthtech sector, it will also support improved health outcomes for patients.
“Together, we are positioning the Leeds City Region as the engine room of health ideas and innovation that will drive levelling up, contributing significantly to the post Covid-19 economic and health recovery, not only for our region’s economy, but for the whole nation.”

Dr Liz Mear, Managing Director, Leeds Academic Health Partnership, said: ““Health technologies can help people better manage their own health and health conditions, support health and care staff to do their jobs better and ultimately save lives. We’ve seen amazing levels of collaboration across organisational boundaries, creative thinking and fast adoption of digital and technological solutions throughout the pandemic. And we now need to accelerate that kind of adoption.
“The exciting new initiatives launching this month mark a huge, collective step forward for healthcare innovation in our city and our region, specifically for health technologies. This will contribute significantly to the post Covid-19 economic and health recovery we all need.”

To join the Healthtech Catalyst or register for the free, online launch event on 16 Sept, go to bit.ly/healthtech-catalyst

Discover more about Leeds Academic Health Partnership:

Leeds Academic Health Partnership brings together Leeds’ universities, our local NHS organisations, regional economic and health and care partnerships, Leeds City Council and third sector partners to solve some of the city’s hardest health challenges. We catalyse innovation and economic growth to transform health and care and reduce health inequalities. Learn more about Leeds Academic Health Partnership here: www.leedsacademichealthpartnership.org

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