New figures reveal that the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), along with its 14 Fellow AHSN’s, have generated nearly £500m in inward investment for our nation in the last two years (2018 – 2020). The AHSNs also created or protected close to 2000 jobs during this time. The figures are conservative estimates, based on the results of an annual economic growth survey of companies supported by the AHSNs, with a response rate of around 50 per cent.

The West of England AHSN’s business development team provides a range of support and engagement services to small, medium and large sized companies with innovations that have the potential to improve our health and care system, helping them to adapt quickly and respond to NHS needs effectively.

The latest round of company surveys conducted by the AHSN Network show remarkable progress in the health innovation sector. Commenting on the new figures, Nicola Hutchinson, Innovation Exchange and Economic Growth Director for the AHSN Network said:

“The value of health innovation has never been so evident than it is now. The dynamic way many companies we work with have been able to grow and work with health and care providers has been inspiring. I am extremely proud of our AHSN teams across the country who have played a vital role in delivering transformation of key NHS services and pathways. Every day our teams support health innovators from idea to implementation, so that they can in turn support our NHS staff and improve the lives of patients.

“In this difficult economic climate, it is more important than ever to provide the right kind of guidance to companies who can prosper and help our nation to recover from this crisis.” is one such company. Having turned the smartphone camera into a regulatory approved clinical device, they have attracted over £50 million in investment during 2019/20 alone, with ongoing support from nine AHSNs around the country.

Katherine Ward, Chief Commercial Officer, Managing Director UK and Europe, said:

“Primary and secondary care settings are under extreme pressure, and our technology can help significantly reduce pressure on limited NHS resources.  The support the AHSN Network gives to diffusing innovation at scale is helping us ensure more patients who require urgent attention can be managed and treated rapidly.”

The AHSN Network works closely with a huge range of companies, helping them to adapt quickly and respond to NHS needs in the most effective way – for example, in the early days of the pandemic the Network was able to quickly curate a database of over 350 proven technologies that could be interrogated against COVID-19 challenge areas.

Since 2018, the AHSNs have supported 5,145 companies, entering into 322 long term strategic partnerships.

Investment in this work is now showing impressive results. The AHSN Network’s positive contribution to ‘UK PLC’ far exceeds the £13 million annual funding received from the Office of Life Sciences for their economic growth commission, with impacts growing year on year.

The health and social care sector is at the forefront of the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare and technology businesses across the UK have been pivotal in supporting national efforts to tackle the virus and support NHS staff and patients. Investment and support for this growing sector has never been so crucial.

Nigel Harris, Director of Innovation and Growth at the West of England AHSN, said: “I am extremely proud of the work our AHSN team does here in the West of England to support healthcare innovators, from initial concept right through to the NHS front line. We are part of the national AHSN Network and collectively we make an impressive contribution to both improved health outcomes and economic success of the UK. Never before has healthcare innovation been as crucial as it is now, in our response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

If you are a healthcare innovator looking for business development support and tools, expert advice, information about funding opportunities, do visit the West of England’s Innovation Exchange to access support and make contact with our team. Our doors are always open and we are here to help.

Posted on November 27, 2020

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