New Chair appointment strengthens Health Innovation Manchester board

Rowena Burns

Rowena Burns has been appointed as Chair of Health Innovation Manchester, the organisation responsible for delivering proven innovations into Greater Manchester’s health and social care sector.

As the current Chair of Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), the UK’s largest science and technology park operator, Rowena has an impressive track record in senior leadership, including previous roles as group director of the Manchester Airports Group and chief operating officer of Bruntwood, MSP’s majority shareholder.

Despite having one of the fastest growing economies in the country, people in Greater Manchester die younger than those in other parts of England. To help tackle this, Health Innovation Manchester facilitates world-leading research and cultivates innovations from industry that will improve the health and wellbeing of Greater Manchester’s 2.8 million citizens. This involves connecting partners from the health and social care, life sciences and academic sectors and promoting the city-region internationally.

Commenting on her appointment, Rowena said: “Greater Manchester is home to some of the world’s leading research and academic bodies and now thanks to our devolved health and social care system, we have a unique opportunity to combine our efforts and deliver real and lasting improvements for the benefit of our citizens. Crucially, we need to ensure that innovations properly address the health and care needs of our population and that we radically reduce the time it takes to embed them into practice. This will require collaboration and commitment across the system and Health Innovation Manchester has a significant role in making this happen. I am delighted to be leading the board through this important journey.”

Following an interim period, Rowena has now been appointed for a three-year term after a robust recruitment process.

Jon Rouse, Chief Officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “While there are many examples of innovation happening within localities, we now need to achieve adoption and spread of proven innovations across all 10 areas of Greater Manchester. This will be driven by Health Innovation Manchester, equipping the system in their pursuit of improved standards, modernised approaches and make best use of technologies. As Chair, Rowena will have a pivotal role in navigating this complex system.”

Current programmes of work include a GM-wide project to improve care for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a partnership with the Association of the British Healthcare Industry (ABPI) to improve medicines and the development of a digital innovation hub. The full range of Health Innovation Manchester programmes can be found at

Health Innovation Manchester is hosted by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

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