Why are you introducing a Health and Life Sciences Project Development Fund?
The North East has a strong, unique and growing health and life sciences sector, which is why it’s recognised within the North East Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) as one of four areas of strategic importance in the region.
The growth and continued success of the sector will play a significant role in helping the region recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and help achieve the SEP’s aim of creating 100,000 more and better jobs.
To help deliver this ambition, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership has launched a new Health & Life Sciences Project Development Fund with £300,000 from the Local Growth Fund. The fund will provide upfront support – up to a maximum of £50,000 – to accelerate the specification and business case for projects that will be key to the future growth of the health and life sciences sector in the region.
We plan to develop a pipeline of collaborative and ambitious projects for the North East that will enable us to:
- Secure future investment
- Encourage more businesses to base themselves in the region
- Grow and strengthen the health and life sciences ecosystem by developing and accelerating the innovation and commercialisation support activity for spin out / startup businesses
- Expand pharmaceutical manufacturing.
What type of projects are you looking to support?
We’re looking for ambitious projects that will go on to create more and better jobs in the North East, lead innovation in the sector, and attract investment. The fund is an opportunity for organisations to collaborate and submit proposals to develop business plans, feasibility studies and reports for strategically significant projects that will prepare them to secure additional funding, and help us develop a strong pipeline of capital, revenue and infrastructure projects.
We know, for example, there is a significant opportunity for growth within pharmaceutical manufacturing. COVID-19 has reinforced our reliance on international supply chains for essential medicines. The re-shoring of pharmaceutical manufacture to build resilience in the supply base of essential drugs and medicines for the NHS – and the opportunity to innovate within the manufacturing process to build this capability and retain it here in the North East – would also develop significant supply chain and inward investment opportunities, helping to create jobs both within the health and life sciences sector and across wider supply chain and service sectors.
What opportunities exist for health and life sciences sector in our region?
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant and detrimental impact on some industry sectors. The North East’s health and life sciences sector has not only responded quickly, but has made a significant contribution to supporting the response. The COVID-19 pandemic has also created further opportunities to grow the sector and drive the region’s economic recovery.
Here in the North East we have an unrivalled combination of academic expertise across our universities and a leading Academic Health Science Network, which is pivotal in delivering commercial ideas into the NHS.
We have exceptional NHS Trusts and NHS organisations that are not only providers of excellent health care, but leaders in the field of clinical research, evaluation and clinical trials.
Over the last few years there has been significant investment in state-of-the-art health and life sciences infrastructure and assets across the North East, including The Biosphere on Newcastle Helix and CPI’s National Formulation Centre and National Centre for Healthcare Photonics at NETPark in County Durham.
The combination of the business base; exceptional health, research and health innovation capabilities; and the partnership between the health system, science and business community, represents a significant opportunity to grow the health and life sciences sector in the region, improve services, and create jobs.
What are the aims of this fund?
It’s the North East LEP’s ambition to double the number of jobs and the number of businesses working in the North East’s health and life sciences sector by 2030. It’s really important for applicants to outline how their project will help us achieve this.
This Health & Life Sciences Project Development Fund will help create a pipeline of strategic projects that will bring investment to our region, grow the business base, and help deliver our aim of creating 100,000 more and better jobs for the North East.