Hannah Randles, Health & Life Sciences Sector Champion, Growth Platform
After a week of rest and recovery from an intense lead up to the European Health Tech Innovation Week I’m excited to share my thoughts on how the Liverpool event went on 17 May 2021.
Once again, Liverpool City Region businesses and organisations stepped up to support this in person event to go ahead in an incredibly tight timeframe, showing just how collaborative and enthusiastic we all are to show the UK and European audiences our health and life sciences sector. And boy, did we show it off!
I have to start by giving ACC Liverpool a massive thank you for hosting the event and working tirelessly to ensure covid safe protocols were in place.
I also want to thank the co-sponsors of the event, Sci-Tech Daresbury and Knowledge Quarter Liverpool, who worked alongside the team at Growth Platform and Invest Liverpool to engage key speakers and businesses to ensure we painted the best picture of the local sector as possible.
The day started with a welcome from newly re-elected Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram who shared enthusiasm and gratitude to the organisers for selecting us to host the first day of European Health Tech Innovation Week. This was followed by Dr Phil Jennings, Chief Executive of the Innovation Agency highlighting the strengths in terms of assets, capabilities and expertise that we have in the health and life sciences sector locally, along with some of the amazing work that the Innovation Agency have done over the past 12 months. It really is incredible what has been achieved locally and nationally by the health and care sector.
Professor Janet Hemmingway from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, then took centre stage to talk about iiCon (Infection Innovation Consortium) that brings together the North West’s largest concentration of infectious diseases research in the UK in a new £150m programme. This capitalises on the region’s track record in working on active translational programmes in vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics and antiviral formulations. Janet talked through some of the great work that is already going on within this programme and the different ways that industry can engage with the platforms.
The following sessions then covered the NHS workforce and how technology enhanced learning can support this, Artificial Intelligence connected to the NHS with Moorfields Eye Hospital sharing their experiences, and then on to how to access the UK Health and Life Sciences market, and more specifically the Liverpool City Region offer.
On the theme of Artificial Intelligence, Michael Gleaves, Deputy Director of The Hartree Centre based here in the City Region at Sci-Tech Daresbury talked us through digital transformation through AI and the industry engagement and projects that are being run locally.
We had Iain Hennessey, Clinical Director of Innovation at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital deliver a talk on unleashing innovation in the NHS and share his experiences of how they have worked to support their staff to innovate. With a dedicated innovation hub embedded in the hospital, Iain shared some great insight into the facilities that are available and ways for businesses to co-create.
As we moved into the afternoon, the event shifted towards the Pitching to Investors session where five of our local businesses took the stage; Blum Health, Needlesmart, LYFE, Choice Telemed and Drill Surgeries. The majority of these businesses also went on to pitch across the other four days of the event, reaching investors in Barcelona, Stockholm, Paris and Berlin. Our local businesses are now connected up to these investors and have showcased their innovative products/services to a European audience which will hopefully help them raise their profile and extend their international reach.
Helping to round off the action-packed agenda, we had a talk from Rob Halhead, Chief Operating Officer of local business Docobo. He talked around the work that Docobo have been doing to transform out of hospital care, which has been incredibly important through the pandemic.
Whilst all of this was taking place, there was the opportunity to network in person within the exhibition space where again there was a whole host of local businesses and organisations showcasing their products and innovations. It was such a great feeling to be back in the company of like-minded, innovative and passionate people.
Mirroring the whole day, was an online virtual platform which hosted both a national and international audience.
It was great to be able to showcase the sector to an international audience and for them to be able to engage with our local organisations and businesses. We’ve since had several enquiries and further engagement with some of these international companies wanting to find out more about the offer and see how they can get involved.
All in all, it was a success! We’ll be following up with everyone involved to get their thoughts and perspectives and hopefully working towards bringing the event back to Liverpool in the future.
Thanks once again to those who took part in the event.