Boosting health technology innovation

Health news

More than three million citizens across the Leeds City Region are set to benefit as senior leaders from the healthtech industry - including the University of Leeds - announce a new partnership.

Partners including the regional enterprise partnership, the NHS, local authorities, and four other universities in the region today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to drive forward new approaches in improving patient and population health and care through better and faster healthtech innovation.

The move also aims to radically speed up the region’s productivity and economic growth in the sector, which is seeing an unprecedented rise across the UK and globally.

This MoU signals an important step towards embracing the opportunities and realising the ambitions set out in the Government’s Industrial Strategy

Professor John Fisher

John Fisher, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds, said: “This MoU signals an important step towards embracing the opportunities and realising the ambitions set out in the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

“It paves the way for us to reduce fragmentation, further harness expertise and capability and radically strengthen the Leeds City Region’s position as a leading global player in healthtech.

“Each partner will play their part in helping address and overcome the barriers to innovation. By working together in a new, focussed and coordinated way, we will accelerate radical improvements in patient care, health service efficiency and drive economic growth and productivity across the region and the UK.”

The MoU is the first of its kind in the region and was signed on behalf of the University by Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands.

Sir Alan Langlands said: “The University has an outstanding track record of innovation research in medical engineering, technology, manufacturing and regenerative therapies; and a strong commitment to industry engagement and the creation of new healthtech companies.

“Alongside our partners, we want to improve health and care across the Region and unlock the vast economic potential of this important sector.”

Excellence in healthtech 

As the UK’s largest economic region outside of London, the Leeds City Region already has a world-leading concentration of excellence in healthtech. It is home to:

  • more than 250 healthtech businesses
  • 200 digital and technology businesses operating in the health and care sector
  • leading centres of academic excellence in research and innovation, and
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, the third largest integrated health and care partnership in the country.

But, as set out in the Government’s Leeds City Region Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) – which was led by Professor Fisher - stronger, cross-sector collaboration is vital to overcoming the barriers to growth.

This new partnership agreement will put in place the strong, coordinated leadership and support required to fully capitalise on what is a globally burgeoning market. In 2015, that market was estimated to be worth $371 billion and was forecast to grow to $529 billion by 20221.

That growth is being driven by factors such as growing and ageing populations, the rise in levels of obesity and chronic illness, technological developments and an increasing demand for medical devices.

MoU signatories MoU signatories (full list of names below)

In signing the MoU, all partners have agreed to work together to drive economic growth and improve health outcomes and service efficiency by:

  • finding personalised and community-based healthtech solutions that help the people of the Leeds City Region to live healthier lives for longer, particularly those living in identified priority neighbourhoods
  • sharing insights into what citizens and patients in the Leeds City Region need, to determine what the priorities should be for health and care services and industry. Together, all partners will then work together on agreed priority themes that meet citizens’ needs
  • driving inward investment in healthtech in the region to support economic growth which is inclusive, benefiting all communities.


Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, said: “We are delighted to be part of this agreement.  Innovation in health technology has the potential to transform services, improve health outcomes and most importantly save people’s lives. 

“This Memorandum of Understanding is an important step in developing closer partnerships between health technology companies and health and care organisations across our area.” 

Other signatories to the MoU include:

  • The Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI)
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership
  • Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • University of Bradford
  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of York

Further information: 

Top image:

Middle image: Representing Leeds City Region healthtech MoU partners, from left: David McBeth (University of York), Rob Webster (West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership), Liam Sutton (University of Bradford), Liz Towns-Andrews (University of Huddersfield), Peter Slee (Leeds Beckett University), Sir Alan Langlands (University of Leeds), Roger Marsh (Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership) and Peter Ellingworth (ABHI)

For additional information on the Leeds Academic Health Partnership contact Ruth Coulthard Marketing and Communications Manager or 07850 974 297