After what it’s safe to say has been one of the most challenging years of a lifetime, it is with a great sense of pride that we publish the results of our company impact survey for 2020-21.
We’ve been absolutely blown away to see the economic impact AHSN Network-supported businesses have had over the course of this year, and when we look at the combined economic impact over the last three years, it equates to an astonishing £1 billion investment leveraged and 3,000 jobs created or safeguarded.
During 2020-21, AHSNs have supported 2,888 companies, which has resulted in £462 million investment leveraged – an increase of £140 million from last year. In addition, more than 1,400 jobs have been created or protected over this period, which is brilliant to see.
The health and life sciences sector has always been an integral part of the UK’s economy and the important role that our sector plays, has well and truly come to the fore during the pandemic.
In an uncertain environment where no one fully understood the public health crisis that was unfolding, individuals and businesses across the sector stepped up to bring innovative solutions forward to help in the fight against the virus.
From PPE to remote monitoring technology, or vaccine development to mass testing, the collective efforts across industry have helped to bring innovations to the frontline at a pace never seen before.
The 15 AHSNs across England are privileged to provide expert guidance and support to innovators. We help innovators navigate the Innovation Pathway from idea to implementation – this covers a vast suite of services such as: identifying unmet needs in the health and care system; business development and marketing advice; Intellectual Property (IP) support; evidence generation; market research; value proposition; evaluation; commercialisation and much more.
We nurture development every step of the way to help companies reach a stage where they can grow. By bridging the gap between industry and the NHS, we ensure that the best solutions reach patients faster, while in turn generating economic growth regionally and nationally.
Through the Office of Life Sciences-funded Innovation Exchange, we bring together the AHSNs collective activity supporting innovators within the sector. This central link allows us to see the bigger picture and connect innovators from across the country to help address unmet NHS needs identified at a regional and national level.
By way of example, in December last year our national Pulmonary Rehabilitation Innovation Exchange event brought together hundreds of respiratory experts to highlight the demand for innovation within this field and provided a platform for innovators to engage with them.
We also released a Pulmonary Rehab focused episode on our Innovation Exchange podcast. This explores in depth the challenges prevalent in this field, exacerbated by the pandemic, and presents a few examples of the innovations out there that could support those working in this area.
We have also just closed submissions to our Domiciliary Care Workforce Innovation Exchange. This is a focussed need identified in the West of England and South West with £100,000 funding available for pilots in these combined regions. Applications are currently being reviewed and we look forward to kicking off some new projects shortly.
This ability to have both regional insight into the needs within local systems and also a wider national support network is what makes the AHSNs truly unique.
We know there are scores of individuals and businesses out there with innovative ideas that could transform patient care and deliver economic growth, but the health and social care landscape can be difficult to infiltrate regardless of whether you are an SME or a global corporation. The AHSNs help open those doors. We offer insight into the areas that need solutions. We provide expert advice and support through our Innovation Pathway, involving partner organisations that are key players within regional systems.
We welcome innovators to come and talk to us at any stage – whether it’s a germ of an idea or a market-ready product. You only have to look at the results of this year’s company survey to see the huge economic potential that is possible through engaging with us.
I would like to say a big thank you to all of the 631 companies who completed the survey. We appreciate that it will have taken time and effort during a very difficult year, and we are grateful that you have shared your successes with us, helping us to quantify what has been achieved.
Finally, there is still a long road ahead as the system recovers from the pandemic but what is clear is the invaluable contribution that the health and life sciences sector continues to make to the economic prosperity of the UK.
If you are an innovator looking for support, visit our Innovation Exchange Gateway.