Scientific approach to the North-South divide

By Ged Henderson

02 Apr 2019

A new report into science and innovation has revealed the potential to close the North-South productivity gap.

The Northern Powerhouse in Health Research’s (NPiHR) Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) highlights the region’s ability to drive clinical research across its 16 million population by drawing on its expertise in health and life sciences.

It follows on from the Industrial Strategy Life Sciences Sector Deal published in December which revealed £1.6bn of planned industry investment in the North’s life sciences over the next five years.

The Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) aims to use the report to help the North become a healthier and more economically productive place.

Nicola Wilson, interim chief executive of the NHSA, said: “The North of England is a powerhouse in health research.

“The North’s world-leading strengths in using data for better health and wealth, in precision medicine, and in nurturing health innovation talent, are among many other attributes in health science recognised in this document.

“Through using the considerable assets and collateral mapped out in the SIA, Government has the potential to drive the North’s economy forward and to rebalance the whole country as an economic powerhouse for the 21st century.”

In November 2018 the NHSA’s “Health for Wealth” report demonstrated £1.20 of the £4 per person productivity gap between the North and South of England was directly attributable to poorer health in the North.

The footprint of the (NPiHR) area is formed by eight cities and their hinterlands, including Lancaster.

The research-intensive universities in each of these cities form the N8 Research Partnership.

Lancaster University’s new Health Innovation Campus is on track to meet its ambitious target of engaging with 300 Lancashire SMEs by 2020.

The university says the £44m initiative provides “a tremendous opportunity” to address healthcare challenges with regional relevance and national impact.

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