Multi-million pound funding award to accelerate health sector innovation

A health and wellbeing ecosystem to accelerate health innovation in West Yorkshire, including a new health and wellbeing innovation centre at the University of Huddersfield’s National Health Innovation Campus, has been given the go ahead after securing funding.

The Huddersfield Health Innovation Partnership is a collaboration between the University of Huddersfield, Kirklees Council’s Business Kirklees, the NHS and other local and regional health and wellbeing partners, including Health Innovation Yorkshire & Humber and Third Sector Leaders.

The project has received £3.8m from the Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to reinforce the university’s plans for a second building on the campus and help launch the health and wellbeing innovation ecosystem.

The Huddersfield Health Innovation Partnership will deliver:

  • A Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre for local entrepreneurs and growing companies in establishing health and wellbeing. It will be on the top floor of the second building on the National Health Innovation Campus (NHIC) due for completion in 2025.
  • A Health Innovation Maker Space and Visualisation Suite offering access to specialist equipment and facilities, which will be based in the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre.
  • An innovation space at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
  • A Health Innovation Network which will give access to the NHS, the University of Huddersfield’s capabilities, other health innovation partners, peer-to-peer networks, including discounted membership.
  • Mentoring for businesses wanting to grow and innovate.
  • Proof of concept grants for health innovation and grants for access to technology and employee wellbeing plans.
  • A soft-landing package at the 3M BIC in Huddersfield for interested health and wellbeing enterprises wanting a base near the NHIC until the second building’s anticipated completion in summer 2025.

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, said: “The multi-million pound investment into vital projects will support our local businesses to drive innovation and create good, well-paid jobs.

“And it will help grow our economy as we work to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.”

Professor Tim Thornton, pro-vice chancellor at the University of Huddersfield, said: “The UK SPF funding will help us build an ecosystem of health and wellbeing partners, stakeholders and businesses locally, nationally and globally, as we all strive to improve regeneration, investment, employment and growth opportunities.

“We want to drive product and service development in the health and wellbeing arenas and put Huddersfield firmly on the map as a major force in world-leading research and innovation.”

Prof Liz Towns-Andrews, regional and business lead at the University of Huddersfield for the National Health Innovation Campus, said: “Our aim is to build communities and a talent pipeline, amplify research & development and develop strong industry and public sector collaborations, through the adoption of novel innovation and business support initiatives.

“This investment will support wider, longer-term plans to regenerate Huddersfield, increase business productivity and inclusive growth, whilst simultaneously reducing health inequalities.”

Sue Cooke, CEO of the 3M BIC, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Kirklees as it will attract innovative health companies to the area over the next few years.

“Businesses keen to connect with the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre ahead of the building’s completion, will be able to join our new Health Innovation Network with membership that will give them access to events, workshops and health sector networking in the coming months.”

As part of the Huddersfield Health Innovation Partnership, Kirklees Council’s Business Kirklees will launch a Health and Wellbeing Incubator for new and early-stage start-ups early next year.

Based in The Glass Box, opposite the National Health Innovation Campus, it will provide flexible, low-cost workspace, business support, as well as workshops, seminars, peer-to-peer learning, networking, mentoring and start-up grant support.