Health Innovation Manchester attend NHSA Roundtable with Andrew Jones MP

NHSA Roundtable

Health Innovation Manchester were delighted to attend a Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) roundtable discussion with Andrew Jones MP, Conservative Party Vice Chair for Business Engagement.

The event, on 9 November 2018, saw attendees from small businesses, Universities and venture capital funds across the North of England come together to discuss the issues affecting them for Andrew Jones MP to relay to Government.

Professor Ben Bridgewater, Chief Executive of Health Innovation Manchester, and Dr Richard Deed, Associate Director of Industry, Health Innovation Manchester, took part in the session.

During the roundtable attendees highlighted issues in five main areas: taxation, talent, commercialisation of research, the uniqueness of the life sciences sector and research grants.

The event began with Andrew Jones MP highlighting the need for a stronger voice for business and enterprise across Government. Dr Hakim Yadi, Chief Executive of the Northern Health Science Alliance and Chair of the event, noted the importance of the life sciences sector to the north of the England, but stated that while innovation rich, at present the north remains capital poor.

The Life Sciences sector is an important part of the economy in the North of England and in 2017 contributed £13.6 billion to the economy, a rise of 48% on the previous year. The Northern Powerhouse is home to 21% of the total UK Life Science sector workforce, 19% of the UK biopharmaceutical sector workforce, 22% of the UK Medical Technology Sector workforce and a very significant 29% of the UK Digital Health workforce.

Research by the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has found that one of the key influencing factors in the commercialisation of research is the strength of the local economy and investment ecosystem. Life sciences clusters play a key role in the delivery of innovation, by linking up the diverse components of the research ecosystem, creating economic opportunities.

Health Innovation Manchester raised discussion points about longer term nature of funding and NHS and Academic Health Science Networks (such as Health Innovation Manchester) support for commercialisation issues.

It was argued that grant funding needs to take a more long-term approach, as their short-term nature means companies are constantly searching for the next funding opportunity. At the end of each short-term funding cycle, the application process needs to start again, which takes time and there is no roll over from the previous application.

Attendees noted the successful record the UK has in creating businesses but stated that issues still exist around scaling up businesses.

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