Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to host National HealthTech Research Centre Network

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been chosen to host a new Government-funded national HealthTech Research Centre Network.

The Network, known as the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) HealthTech Research Centre Network, will identify and influence national health technology priorities to advance technological healthcare innovation across the UK.

It will also give national leadership and coordination to 14 newly established NIHR  HealthTech Research Centres (HRCs) from 1 September 2024. The new NIHR HRCs, which are based in leading NHS organisations across the country, came into force on 1 April 2024 and were awarded almost £42m to drive life-changing research into health and care technologies for the next five years.

The new HealthTech Research Centre Network is being funded by an additional £5m Government investment from the NIHR, and will also convene an Industry Advisory Committee to maximise collaboration with industry to exploit the potential of new health technologies and their benefits to patients and the NHS.

The funding to host the new HealthTech Research Centre Network was awarded to Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation following a competitive bid which was developed in collaboration with other NHS Trusts across England which are hosting HRCs, including Trusts in Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford and Devon.

Professor Wendy Tindale OBE, Scientific and Innovation Director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Director of the NIHR HRC Network and of the NIHR HRC in Long Term Conditions (Devices for Dignity), said: “It’s a huge privilege to be the lead for the NIHR HealthTech Research Centre Network. Working in partnership with all 14 HRCs will be key to creating a thriving ecosystem of industry, academia, NHS and other stakeholders to bring innovative health technologies more rapidly to patients.

"The range and collective experience of the HRCs is vast and there is a real opportunity for this new Network to create a step change in impact. We have a proven track record of leading collaborative partnerships with a range of stakeholders, including patients and the public, so we are delighted to be bringing these skills to the benefit of the Network.”

Professor Gary Ford CBE, Chair of the Independent Advisory Committee of the NIHR HRC Network, said: “The HRC network provides national leadership and expertise to develop and evaluate technology that will transform NHS care and patient outcomes. The network will play a key role in supporting the growth of the HealthTech industry in the UK and contribute to economic growth.”

Professor Mike Lewis, NIHR Scientific Director for Innovation, said: “The HRC Network will play a crucial role in ensuring that the HRC scheme works cohesively and effectively, sharing learning internally and driving engagement with industry. As well as providing leadership and coordination across the range of HRC activities, it will champion the UK’s ability to develop, test and deliver exciting new technological solutions that benefit patients, the public and the health and care system, and attract support from the commercial sector.”

The Network will work closely with the 14 HRCs to provide:

  • strategic collaboration between the HRCs and the health and care research system to support the rapid development and adoption of innovations from industry
  • coordination and leadership of cross-HRC initiatives, ensuring the HRCs act cohesively as a national research infrastructure for health technology development
  • proactive support for industry to work with the HRCs to develop innovations which benefit patients, the public and the health and care system
  • a focal point to facilitate links with national partners including MHRA, NICE and NHS England.

The Network will also be responsible for driving a collective approach towards:

  • building capacity for the development and evaluation of health technologies
  • patient and public involvement, engagement and participation
  • research inclusion
  • identifying and addressing health inequalities
  • methodology to support pragmatic generation of evidence for medical devices, diagnostics and digital health and care technologies
  • promoting the HRCs to industry, including SMEs, and providing guidance on developing healthtech to benefit patients within the health and care system, particularly the NHS.

Find out more about the HealthTech Research Centres.

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