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White Rose partnership wins £4.7m for health innovation

19.05.2006
Patients will benefit from closer links between researchers, healthcare companies and doctors, thanks to £4.7m secured by a consortium of Yorkshire’s universities, health trusts and global companies. The money from the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) was confirmed today.

It’s the first time this wide range of organisations has been brought together – as the White Rose Health Innovation Partnership (WHIP) - to boost innovation within the NHS and to make sure the region’s world-class healthcare research and novel technologies get from the lab to patients as soon as possible.

The HEIF bid was co-ordinated by the White Rose University Consortium, comprising the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York, together with the University of Bradford. White Rose Chief Executive, Dr Julian White explains: “This innovative partnership will provide a dynamic framework for the delivery of new technologies, methodologies and practices into the medical and healthcare sector at a much faster rate than has previously been possible. It will also use new approaches, including the development of an ‘innovation supply chain’ to improve the introduction of innovation throughout the NHS.”

The WHIP will initially focus on supporting growth in Yorkshire’s healthcare sector and make sure this growth is in line with the needs of the region’s patients.

Three global healthcare companies – Smith & Nephew, Johnson & Johnson and B Braun – have confirmed their participation in the initiative, providing a further pool of expertise and experience on which the partnership can draw. The involvement of large numbers of smaller medical technology companies in the region will be assisted by Medilink Yorkshire & Humberside, the medical industry network organisation. Further partners, include Medipex, the regional NHS innovation hub, which will work closely with clinicians in the three regional hospital trusts in Leeds, Sheffield and Bradford, and the national Health Technologies Knowledge Transfer Network.

In addition, two US collaborators – the New Jersey Biotechnology Life Sciences Coalition and the International Accelerated Radical Innovation Institute in the University of Toledo, Ohio - will provide an even wider base of expertise to contribute to the project.

Professor Richard Williams Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, which is leading the delivery of the project, says: “With strong regional, national and international partners we are confident we can deliver real-world solutions to the long-established and widely-held desire to dramatically improve and accelerate health innovation in the UK."

Mark Richardson, the Vice-President Research and Development for Smith and Nephew Wound Management, is enthusiastic for the WHIP’s potential, saying: “This project has the full support of Smith & Nephew. It formalises a partnership between the academic, clinical and industrial base, and applies novel processes to enhance decision-making at key stages in the product development pipeline.”

Dr Sarah Clark | alfa
Further information:
http://www.whiterose.ac.uk

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