Government report recognises vital role of regional life sciences clusters

Northern Health Science Alliance named in UK Life Sciences Industrial Strategy

22nd September 2017

The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy recommended bringing together regional organisations to create single ‘front-door’ for investment

The launch of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy recognised the significant contribution that regional clusters make to the UK’s £64bn life science sector.

The Strategy called for existing regional clusters to work together to provide a ‘single front door’ to the UK for research collaboration and investment.

By bringing together cluster organisations, trade bodies and academic consortia, the Government can identify where the UK has globally competitive R&D excellence in life sciences to attract collaboration opportunities and inward investment to the right places.

The launch of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy follows a year of intense collaboration between a group of life sciences organisations including Northern Health Science Alliance, MedCity, Life Science Hub Wales and the GW4 Alliance.

The group has been working together to better understand how regional clusters can support the delivery of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, with support from the Academy of Medical Sciences and Wellcome.

While geographically diverse, this group shares common values and aims:

  • They are typically self-assembled to exploit regional expertise and excellence, and promote improved health and wealth both regionally and nationally.
  • Many act as multi-faceted ‘convening’ bodies which bring together the breadth of the value and supply chain including academia, NHS, Government, industry and membership organisations, to drive the economy.
  • They are supported by formal governance systems, strategies and infrastructure to deliver collaborative research and development at scale.
  • These groups are distinct from membership organisations which exist to represent member needs. Clusters have different finance and operational systems that enables independence, and aim to support regional organisations to drive economic value and health improvement.

This group has welcomed the recommendations of the Life Science Industrial Strategy and has called for the UK Government to continue to work closely with its members and the Academy of Medical Sciences to deliver a sector deal that will ensure that the sector remains at the leading edge of life science research and health innovation globally.

Commenting on the report:

Dr Hakim Yadi OBE, Chief Executive of Northern Health Science Alliance said: “The Strategy offers the opportunity for a renaissance in UK health and life science discovery and innovation. The NHSA were delighted to have been highlighted specifically by the Strategy as a successful exemplar of regional strength. Through our current projects, such as Connected Health Cities we are already delivering world-leading programmes across a number of the Strategy’s recommendations including data and NHS collaboration and are looking forward to using this network of UK wide clusters to support further delivery of the recommendations in the Life Science strategy.”

Sarah Haywood, CEO of MedCity noted: “The strategy recognises the strength of the Golden Triangle of Cambridge-London-Oxford within the life sciences sector.  Nevertheless, we cannot take for granted what we have.  There is a continuing need to support joining up across academia, industry large and small and the NHS.  The strategy identifies the role that cluster organisations can play in supporting the places that drive the UK’s life sciences sector.  Working together we can provide a front door to the UK’s capability and make it easier for different groups to find and work with each other.”

Dr Penny Owen, Interim Executive Chair, Life Science Hub Wales commented: “At Life Sciences Hub Wales we welcome Sir John Bell’s positive and progressive report and look forward to seeing it put into action in partnership with our colleagues across the UK.  We have understood the necessity of linking our flourishing Welsh life sciences sector with the health and wellbeing of the nation since we launched the Life Sciences Hub Wales in 2014. Recognition and support for the vital roles cluster organisations have in ensuring that innovation is translated to patient benefits is important to expanding this sector to create health and wealth benefits for Wales and wider markets.”

Dr Sarah Perkins, GW4 Director, said: “Continued collaboration between academia, the NHS and industry partners – both within and across regions – is integral to developing an accurate picture of life sciences excellence across the UK. GW4 brings together world-leading capabilities across life sciences and we look forward to bringing these strengths to bear as we deliver on the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy alongside other regional clusters.”

Professor Ian Young, Chief Scientific Advisor, Northern Ireland noted: “The strategy recognises the strength of Northern Ireland’s life and health sciences sector, and in particular that the NI Health system is the only fully integrated health and social care system in the UK. It recognises too, NI’s success in diagnostics, in oncology research and health analytics. Through NI’s Strategic Action Plan NI is committed to growing its L&HS sector joining with academia, health professionals and industry to focus on health challenges.  We look forward to playing a key role in delivering on the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy alongside other regional clusters.”



Notes for Editors

About GW4 Alliance

From the creative arts to the physical sciences, the GW4 Alliance has world-leading scholarship, infrastructure and faculty. The GW4 Alliance has a combined turnover of over £1.8bn, employs over 8,000 staff and trains over 23,000 postgraduate students. The GW4 Alliance aims to cultivate the regional economy, develop a highly skilled workforce and build a research and innovation ecosystem for the South West and Wales.

For more information about GW4 visit or follow @GW4Alliance.

About Life Sciences Hub Wales

The Life Sciences Hub Wales was launched in July 2014 to grow the life sciences sector in Wales and increase its contribution to the Welsh economy by more than £1 billion by 2022.

The Hub acts as the focal point of the sector, bringing together academics, businesses, clinical and professional services and funding organisations. It covers all sector activities ranging from funding to business support to international development and promotion. Its partnership model provides access to significant levels of funding and other support streams to help businesses grow and prosper.

For more information about Life Sciences Hub Wales visit or follow @lshubwales

About MedCity

MedCity exists to promote and grow life sciences investment, entrepreneurship and industry in The Golden Triangle of Cambridge, London, Oxford and the Greater South East.

A collaboration between the Mayor of London and the five Academic Health Science Centres in the region, MedCity acts as a front door for industry, researchers and investors looking for partners, infrastructure and expertise. From drug discovery to devices, diagnostics and digital health, MedCity supports life sciences and healthcare companies, large and small, to do business in the region.

Find out more at or on Twitter @MedCityHQ

About Northern Health Science Alliance Ltd (NHSA)

The NHSA is a partnership established by the leading Universities and NHS Hospital Trusts in the North of England to improve the health and wealth of the region by creating an internationally recognised life science and healthcare system. It links eight universities and eight NHS Teaching Trusts with four Academic Health Science Networks covering a population of over 15 million.

For more information on the NHSA visit or follow @the_NHSA

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