A key part of our role is to convene people and organisations from across industries and communities involved in the delivery of health and care. We do this to strengthen cross sector ways of working and help ensure that opportunities for collaboration across the innovation ecosystem are maximised to the benefit of patients and the local economy.
Notably we work closely with a number of partners across the innovation ecosystem in our region on joint events and initiatives for innovators. These partners include Health Enterprise East, University of East Anglia Health and Social Care Partners, and a number of organisations in the Cambridge early-stage health and life sciences ecosystem such as Start Codon, the Bradfield Centre and One HealthTech. We play to each other’s skills and don’t hesitate to refer innovators to partner organisations that we feel they would benefit from a relationship with.
Below we have outlined some other examples of how we work in partnership. We are always interested to hear about new partners so please do get in touch if you think you could help us deliver our purpose to turn great ideas into positive health impact.
We are funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement to enable the adoption and spread of national innovations and patient safety programmes and we also work with affiliated NHS groups including NHSX and NHS Digital on shared initiatives such as enabling the digital transformation of our region and during the COVID-19 outbreak. Some of the other government funded groups we work with include:
We have close ties with the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), which is the partnership sponsored by government which aims to bring the NHS and the UK’s life sciences industry more closely together. Our role here is to support the roll-out of the Rapid Uptake Products across our region. Our CEO Piers Ricketts is also a member of the AAC board.
NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) fellows are exceptional individuals being supported to scale their high-impact, evidence-based innovations. Fellows share a passion for learning and scaling innovation for patient benefit. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, including clinical, industry and academia.
Eastern AHSN, as a member of the AHSN Network plays a full role in supporting the NIA fellows and their products across our region. A number of NIA fellows have also come from our region.
We worked closely with Health Education England and the NHS Leadership Academy to deliver a series of roadshows across the region in 2019 to showcase future tech and launched a tech buddies scheme to help break down silos between tech companies in the region and people working in the NHS and help inspire them about the future of tech. We also work in partnership with them to deliver a series of medical director masterclasses, which bring together the medical directors across the region to hear from distinguished guest speakers and share learnings on leadership, innovation and clinical governance.
We are lucky to have a close relationship with Cambridge University Health Partners (CUHP), which is one of the eight Academic Health Science Centres (AHSCs) in England and the only one in our region. The mission of the AHSCs is to ensure that patients in each of the eight designated centres reap the benefits of the world-class research, clinicians and industry based in their area, which in the case of CUHP is Cambridge and the surrounding area.
We work frequently with CUHP both to pilot innovations in the region, such as an exciting new cancer diagnostics product that came out of the University of Cambridge, and to market the story of the Cambridge health and life sciences cluster to attract industry investment.
Mark Avery, our Director of Health Informatics, is jointly funded by Eastern AHSN and CUHP and is the programme director for Gut Reaction, the Health Data Research Hub for inflammatory bowel disease funded by HDR UK. Additionally, some other members of the CUHP team are co-located at our offices.
The partners in CUHP are the University of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
The NIHR ARC East of England is one of 15 Applied Research Collaborations funded by NIHR, the largest funder of health and care research in the UK. The ARC is hosted by Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and four universities in our region and brings together many of our regional NHS organisations, patient charities and relevant industry partners. ARCs support applied health and care research that responds to and meets the needs of local populations and local health and care systems. We work closely with the ARC in a number of areas and our CEO Piers Ricketts and Sarah Robinson, Director of Delivery, are both members of the ARC board.
As a result of new ways of working to support health and social care colleagues respond to the Covid pandemic and new national funding there are now closer working relationships between Eastern AHSN and ARC East of England. The changes have offered an opportunity for the ARC East of England to refresh its implementation strategy and for Eastern AHSN to meet the growing need for evaluations partly due to the volume of unevaluated innovation that has taken place in response to Covid-19.
The shared projects resulting from the Beneficial Change Network and NHS Insights Prioritisation Programme have been a vehicle for expediating this vision and during 2021 we have strengthened the working relationships both at strategic and operational levels. These national programmes have provided funding opportunities that both organisations have benefited from in developing this greater collaboration. We have developed two resources to support ARC colleagues to hear more about the mutual areas of work between the two organisations, covering an introduction to our work and a snapshot of our current implementation projects.
Both organisations are committed to continued working together flexibly to meet the needs of our health and social care partners – which is also the direction being set out by our national commissioners: the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and NHS England. As of April 2022, Eastern AHSN Director of Delivery, Sarah Robinson is the ARC East of England Implementation Lead, supporting the new commitment for increased collaboration and support the ARC to consider its implementation strategy moving forwards. You can view this myth busting presentation on implementation developed by Sophie Knight, Principal Advisor at Eastern AHSN.
We work with the Department of International Trade on expositions to promote innovations from the region and further international trade opportunities in addition to attract inward investment and position our region as a location for innovative businesses to settle. Recently this included showcasing some of the innovations we have been working with on a visit to China with the purpose of business development, investment and collaboration.
We work with a number of industry groups nationally and regionally. For example we worked with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and Mid and South Essex STP and GSK to develop a framework for cross-sector collaboration and the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) to develop a landscape review for MedTech innovations.
We can introduce innovators to a network of investment organisations and angels in our community who specialise in supporting health and tech innovations.
If you want to find out more about how we partner to deliver positive health impact, we want to hear from you.Contact us