Work starts on £41m health innovation campus

Building work has started on a landmark £41m university health project in Lancaster.

The world-leading Health Innovation Campus (HIC) will support 300 county-based SMEs in developing new and innovative digital and technological health solutions.

And Northern Powerhouse minister and Lancashire MP Jake Berry has predicted it will establish the university as a “global player” in the health sector.

The first phase of the new building, which is next to the main campus, is due to open in autumn next year. A ground-breaking ceremony was held to mark the start of the construction phase.

Once open experts at the HIC will work collaboratively with businesses and the sector to tackle the biggest challenge in healthcare today - helping people to live as long and as healthily as possible.

Lancaster vice-chancellor Professor Mark E Smith said the HIC would play a regional role in health by “engaging regionally, nationally and internationally with hundreds of companies”.

And he added: “It will allow Lancaster’s world-class research to have even greater impact.”

HIC’s new director Dr Sherry Kothari said: “This is an exciting initiative focused on providing innovative solutions to addressing the enormous challenges faced by our healthcare system.

“The HIC will provide a focal point for health care providers to work collaboratively with researchers and companies to bring about meaningful impact to how we manage the future health of our region.”

Lancaster University Health Innovation CampusAs well as digital innovation, this will include the design, development and evaluation of healthy places to live and work, improving health systems, and the development of new materials to improve health.

HIC is funded by the university and through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Growth Deal Fund and the ERDF’s Structural and Investment Fund.

Local growth minister and minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Jake Berry, said:  “This new Health Innovation Campus will establish Lancaster University as a global player in the prevention and diagnosis of illnesses.

“It also boosts Lancashire’s reputation within the Northern Powerhouse as a centre for cutting-edge scientific research and digital innovation.”

Graham Cowley, chairman of the LEP’s Growth Deal Management Board, said of the university health project: “Healthcare is an emerging economic sector in Lancashire and the Health Innovation Campus is set to act as a dynamic catalyst for the whole region within both health R&D and innovative healthcare practice.

“Further this facility will be accessible to local SMEs who are active within health, wellbeing and related sectors. “This means smaller firms will be able to tap into the university’s wealth of knowledge and experience to help them accelerate commercial opportunities, become more competitive and add significant value to the wider Lancashire economy.”