During this hugely difficult and unpredictable time for everyone, we’re seeing large numbers of businesses, nationally and here in the North East, stepping forward to help front line services.
This ranges from manufacturing products like ventilators and hand sanitiser, to the creation of new consortia which are working together to develop and test medical equipment.
To help support the response to COVID-19 across the North East, there is now an online directory which you can find on the North East Growth Hub. This lists current calls for support – from requests to provide rapid sanitising technology for ambulances, to an open call for creatives to use their skills to help spread public health messages.
There are opportunities for organisations in a wide range of sectors to help.
We’ve seen manufacturing businesses move quickly to re-align their activity to manufacture PPE, sanitiser and ventilators. Here in the North East, firms have offered the use of their transport and logistics facilities, and laboratory spaces. Newcastle University has also worked with the Royal Navy to transport seven of its qPCR machines to the NHS in Milton Keynes, which will be used to help process thousands of samples from people suspected of having the virus.
All parts of the economy are affected by this crisis and businesses of all shapes and sizes are being forced to do things differently. Our usual ways of working are being challenged on a daily basis and as a result we are seeing new ways of collaborating and new solutions to the challenges that COVID-19 is bringing.
Innovation is about coping with change, and this situation is forcing us all to change and adapt. Innovation is more important than ever and it will continue to be important in the post-COVID environment – we won’t be doing things in the same way anymore and innovation will be at the centre of future-proofing our economy.
Right now, sitting back and waiting isn’t an option. We need to unleash the capabilities of people and businesses here in the North East who can help support the response to COVID-19. We need to pull together to find solutions as quickly as possible, and the best way to do this is through collaboration and innovation.
Alan Welby, Innovation Director.