Our 15 regional AHSNs work closely with businesses and individual innovators to help realise the potential of their ideas.

We advise on whether there is an identified need within the NHS for this solution, help assess the commercial viability and economic potential, and support innovators to quantify and gather evidence of the impact that the innovation could have on the health and care system.

The unique role of the AHSNs means we bridge the gap between the NHS and industry, bringing the very best innovative solutions to the NHS and helping to create economic growth by harnessing the NHS investment. Our commission from the Government’s Office for Life Sciences (OLS) enables us to do this in a structured and methodical way, answering the needs of the health and care system and of innovators with ideas that match system challenges.

The AHSN Network helps mobilise the value that the NHS can add as an economic asset within the UK economy. We can provide access and signpost to a range of expert support and services across the health and care sectors that support NHS innovators and companies to realise the commercial and economic potential of their ideas.

Supporting innovators provides positive outcomes for the care system in terms of early access to transformative technology and services. In 2021-22:

  • 1,273 innovations were in our national pipeline of innovation
  • £455 million investment was leveraged by companies supported by AHSNs
  • 565 jobs were created
  • 1,296 jobs were safeguarded
  • £455 million of investment has been leveraged.


Download our booklet on how AHSNs support innovators.


Innovation Exchange

The Innovation Exchange is a co-ordinated approach to identify, select and support the adoption of innovations which have the potential to transform the lives of patients, and support growth of the businesses we work with.

The NHS and social care are complex landscapes and can be daunting markets, but through the Innovation Exchange funded by the Office of Life Sciences, the AHSNs broker the relationships and introductions necessary to support innovators and companies.

Visit the Innovation Exchange Digital Gateway to find out about current challenge areas and access expertise from our teams across the country.

Innovation Pathway

The AHSN Network helps mobilise the value that the NHS can add as an economic asset within the UK economy. Through our Innovation Pathway we broker access to a range of expert support and services across the health and care sectors that support NHS innovators and companies to realise the commercial and economic potential of their ideas.

Real-World Evaluation

The AHSN Network’s real-world evaluation programme aims to help innovators work with adopting organisations to secure the rapid rollout of new products. Our experts can help you demonstrate the value of a new product in real-world settings (outside of a controlled research environment) and help you provide evidence that supports organisations to implement new technology as easily as possible.

Read more about our Real-World Evaluation service.

NHS Innovation Service

The NHS Innovation Service has been developed to accelerate the uptake of promising and impactful innovations into the NHS.

It is led by the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) and provides an online service for health innovators, to support them to get their innovations, at any stage, adopted in the NHS and provide innovative solutions to NHS challenges.

It provides access to guidance and coordinated support from organisations who have experience, knowledge, and expertise in developing and supporting the wide-spread adoption of healthcare innovations. The service will help healthcare innovators work with the NHS and get the support they need to get their innovation to clinicians and patients faster.

Innovators create an account and complete an innovation record, which contains detailed information about their innovation. This enables an expert team to determine the requirements for the innovation to be adopted and put the innovator in touch with the right organisation at the right time. At each stage, organisations offering support have access to the innovation record, which will accelerate the process and avoid duplication – saving innovators having to reintroduce their concept and progress to each organisation.

Digital and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AHSNs enable the most effective digital and AI solutions to reach more patients more quickly. There are many regional Accelerator programmes and digital schemes to support innovators with digital and AI solutions. Find out more.

SBRI Healthcare

The SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) Healthcare programme supports the development, evaluation and implementation of products and solutions through regular funding competitions for health and care innovators and SMEs. Find out more.

Bridging the Gap

Our Bridging the Gap events are aimed at health technology innovators and companies who are interested in accessing the NHS marketplace to improve health and care for patients and citizens, and who have a product or service that is ready for scaling up.

Free to attend, the events include a range of talks, workshops, 1 to 1 advice sessions and unique networking opportunities.
Find out more.

NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA)

The NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) accelerates uptake of high-impact innovations for patient, population and NHS staff benefit. It also provides real-time practical insights on spread to inform national strategy.

The NIA is an NHS England initiative delivered in partnership with all 15 AHSNs across England, hosted at UCLPartners. Find out more.


To strengthen our offer to industry, AHSNs work with many national bodies including the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI)Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA) and the BioIndustry Association (BIA). Locally each AHSN works with many commercial and development organisations such as MediLinks and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Access support in your region

Find contact details for your local AHSN and access support.