The Health Innovation Network

Spreading innovation, improving health, stimulating economic growth

Health Innovation Manchester is one of England’s 15 Health Innovation Networks. The Health Innovation Networks, formerly known as Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) were established by NHS England in 2013 to spread innovation at pace and scale – improving health and generating economic growth. Each Network works across a distinct geography serving a different population in each region. Together, the Health Innovation Networks form the Health Innovation Network.

What is the role of Health Innovation Networks?

As the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, we are catalysts that create the right conditions to facilitate change across whole health and social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients. This means we are uniquely placed to identify and spread health innovation at pace and scale; driving the adoption and spread of innovative ideas and technologies across large populations. Although small organisations – which ensures we remain flexible and responsive to emerging opportunities and challenges – we lead large regional networks. Our impact rests in our ability to bring people, resources and organisations together quickly, delivering benefits that could not be achieved alone.

How are Health Innovation Networks different and distinct?

Everything Health Innovation Networks do is driven by two imperatives: improving health and generating economic growth in our regions. We are the only partnership bodies that bring together all partners across a regional health economy to improve the health of local communities. We have a remit from NHS England to occupy a unique space outside of the usual NHS service contract and performance management structures. This enables us to foster collaborative solutions. We use our local knowledge and harness the influence of our partners to drive change on the ground and integrate research into health improvement. We are as interested in seeing healthcare businesses thrive and grow, creating jobs and bringing in investment to the UK, as we are seeing the healthcare system improve.

What difference are Health Innovation Networks making?

Each Network works within its own area to develop projects, programmes and initiatives that reflect the diversity of our local populations and healthcare challenges. However, we all share the following priorities:

  • Promoting economic growth: fostering opportunities for industry to work effectively with the NHS
  • Diffusing innovation: creating the right environment, and supporting collaboration across boundaries, in order to adopt and spread innovation at pace and scale
  • Improving patient safety: using our knowledge, expertise and networks to bring together patients, healthcare staff and partners to determine priorities and develop and implement solutions
  • Optimising medicine use: ensuring that medication is used to its maximum benefit – improving safety and making efficient use of NHS resources
  • Improving quality and reducing variation: by spreading best practice we increase productivity and reduce variation, thereby improving patient outcomes
  • Putting research into practice: our strong links with academia mean we are uniquely placed to support the translation of research into clinical practice
  • Collaborating on national programmes: our unified programmes focus on delivery of the SBRI Healthcare initiative (supporting SME interaction), the NHS Innovation Accelerator, Patient Safety Collaboratives and medicines optimisation.

Current national programmes and priorities selected national adoption and spread across the AHSN Network

Early Intervention Eating Disorders

Improving Diagnosis of ADHD

Medical professional reviewing cholesterol lipid panel results

Lipid management and Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH)

Doctor in gloves holding syringe and providing vaccine injection to senior patient in medical mask.

National Insights Prioritisation Programme (NIPP)


The Innovation Exchange

Accelerated Access Collaborative

Patient Safety

Patient Safety Collaboratives

Previous national programmes and priorities (2018-2020)

Ingrid Brindle -hands using AF Device

Atrial Fibrillation (AF)


Emergency Laparotomy Collaborative (ELC)

Escape Pain




Mental Health

Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM)


Transfers of Care Around Medicine (TCAM)

Health Innovation Manchester stakeholder research survey findings 2019/2020

A report about Health Innovation Manchester has been released following a survey of stakeholders. The research was commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement, and the Office for Life Sciences (OLS) to explore and evaluate the views of stakeholders of all Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), including Health Innovation Manchester. Topics covered included familiarity with and perceptions of AHSNs, evaluations of AHSNs’ communications, services, support, work programmes and cross-regional working, and perceived opportunities and challenges for AHSNs in the future.

NHS research and innovation needs survey 2019

The AHSN Network, NHS England and the NIHR commissioned ComRes to conduct a survey that would provide a detailed understanding of the innovation and research needs at local level across all AHSNs. The findings of this project were used to produce an initial statement of innovation and research needs in each AHSN area.

These statements, alongside the regional and national report findings, will be used to facilitate further discussions at regional level, involving patients and the public and the research community, to develop and refine the priorities highlighted. Each AHSN region will publish a statement of local innovation and research needs. The initial statement for Health Innovation Manchester (April 2019) is below along with the national report and more information about the survey.

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