A manifesto for the Northern Health Science Alliance

A blog from the new CEO Dr Séamus O’Neill as he takes up the NHSA Chief Executive role

9th September 2019

As the new CEO of the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA), which represents the weight of health and life sciences across the North of England, I’m delighted to present my vision for the next few years of the organisation

This manifesto is an important document. It is a statement of intent, a commitment and a matter of public record. As policy and thinking develops manifestos are, in change management terms, boundary objects, which set parameters and expectations. The challenge, as always in life, is to live up the expectation and deliver on the promises.

For a body such as NHSA which has so much potential, and which has already realised a significant amount, it is doubly important to clarify our aims and priorities.

The next four years for the NHSA

Strategy discussions over the last year with our Board, member organisations and other stakeholders have clarified our key areas of focus:

  • Developing the NHSA as an exemplary cluster supporting public and private sector health and life science activity in the North of England across NHS trusts, world-class universities, Academic Health Science Networks, local and national Government, anchor institutions and with industry from SMEs to FTSE100 companies.
  • Delivering against the Life Sciences Industry Strategy on behalf of the sector in the North of England, supporting the development of partnerships and bids at supra-regional level.
  • Improving national and international awareness and visibility of the globally important assets and capabilities within the health and life science sector across the NHSA.
  • These areas of activity will be developed and undertaken within the context of delivering value for our member organisations.

We will be consulting further with stakeholders over the next couple of months on how and what we deliver within each of these areas.

Create and sustain an effective Life Science Cluster in the North of England

The NHSA is already a highly successful brand with excellent national and developing global recognition. We will work to ensure that this continues and improves by developing the underpinning networks of practitioners interacting across the NHSA on work that matters to them and their organisations. We will work with other clusters in the UK, in particular MedCity, to assist learning and promote activity across other geographic Life Science clusters in the UK and further afield.


“We will ensure that the public sector assets and the industry partnerships they underpin across the NHSA are appropriately visible to national decision makers.”


Deliver against the Industrial Strategy for Life Science

We will ensure that the NHSA, our member organisations and industry partners are engaged with the Government’s Industrial Strategy for Life Sciences. The value of the North’s NHS and University infrastructure and expertise to the UK Life Sciences Sector is often underestimated (and underfunded). We will strive to articulate the value of the assets we have with the NHSA to secure investment. We will do this by promoting existing and catalysing new partnerships with industry to deliver investable propositions.

Champion the Life Science activity and assets of the NHSA nationally and internationally

The NHSA exists because of the excellence and the potential of Life Sciences research and development across the North of England. Part of our role in the NHSA is to articulate that excellence and help achieve the potential of the North. We have the opportunity to make a step change in the health and wealth of the North of England by mobilising the public and private sector assets across the NHSA. There is value in individual organisations doing this, but there is greater potential value in amplifying birth influence and assets by acting in concert. This is particularly true in seeking to promote visibility of the offer internationally and we will work with member organisations to make sure that the individual excellence and collective opportunity is understood.

Delivering for member organisations

The NHSA exists because it has a remit and a mandate from the NHS Trusts, Universities and Academic Health Science Networks that are its member organisations. Without the support of these members we cannot function, so we must undertake activity that add value for them. So in all of our strategy development and activity planning, we will work with our members to ensure that our priorities are addressing their needs and adding value for them.

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