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AHSNs support initiative to create local NHS ‘innovation hubs’

Academic Health Science Networks are supporting a new national funding initiative led by the Health Foundation, to support healthcare provider organisations to adopt innovation faster.

Launched with support from England’s 15 AHSNs, the Adopting Innovation programme is now open for expressions of interest.

It will help establish four innovation hubs across the UK – to be set up by provider organisations in collaboration with local health systems and AHSNs – with up to £475,000 funding per hub.

The programme supports the aims of the national NHS Reset Campaign, a partnership between AHSNs, the NHS Confederation and the Health Foundation to bring together learning and feedback from around the country about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Covid-19 highlights the importance of creating the conditions for innovations and technologies to be more rapidly embedded – and for health systems to be able to respond to constant change.

With this in mind the hubs will act as centres of expertise and support within provider organisations to build knowledge, skills and confidence to successfully adopt and adapt innovations in local health economies.

Professor Gary Ford, Chief Executive of the Oxford AHSN, said: “Working across England with our many partners including the Health Foundation, the AHSNs act as an essential bridge to connect healthcare organisations with innovators, signposting proven solutions to local priorities.

“The impact of Covid-19 highlights the absolute imperative to use these new and innovative ways of working – both to support the restoration of health services and to plan for the future needs of patients.

“Innovation has the power to unlock huge benefits for our health systems so we are delighted to support this Health Foundation initiative.”

More information on the programme

  • Expressions of interest opened on 7 October 2020. Sign up for updates via the Health Foundation website – a recorded webinar will be available here from 16 October.
  • Partnerships will be between NHS providers and local health systems within the UK (based within a provider organisation) to help establish centres of expertise on innovation adoption.
  • Partnerships will be led by the provider organisations, which will be expected to demonstrate how they will work with their AHSN and other local system partners.
  • Hubs will receive up to £475,000 over two and a half years, to add to their own in-kind contributions and funding.
  • Hubs will be expected to build knowledge, skills and confidence in provider organisations and local systems, and to share wider learning of the organisational conditions that support the effective uptake of innovations. The programme will also offer opportunities for peer learning.

Application process and timescales

There are three stages to the application process:

  1. Expressions of interest – opened 7 October
  2. Full applications – opening January 2021
  3. Assessment days – for shortlisted partnerships in March 2021