Manchester collaboration to focus on healthy ageing & mental health

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With respective research priorities, the network of university researchers will be able to address diverse health and care challenges.

By U2B Staff 

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Three years ago, health leaders of Greater Manchester broke the Whitehall model by gaining control of health spending.

The move was to bring national health services back to its founding ideals, which is to prioritise patient needs over doctor demands.

Localising this decision-making process motioned for a big shift in how the healthcare services run. A decentralised system moves the power to decide what requires more attention to the ground level, which helps industries and collaboration partners make more meaningful connections in research findings.

From an industry perspective, there is no better fertile ground to stimulate new research innovations than universities. This is why university-industry collaborations are gaining popularity as a vehicle to accelerate growth.


Last week, it was announced that researchers from Manchester University will be joining forces with health care providers, patients, and local communities to deliver improved patient care and treatment in Greater Manchester.

This is part of a £135 million national investment in 15 new Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

According to the release, a sum of £15 million of additional NIHR funding will also be available to facilitate cross-ARC collaborations to ensure consistency on a national level.

As respective ARCs will have their own set of research priorities, the network of university researchers will be able to address diverse health and care challenges.

UK’s Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said in the press release that “this funding has the potential to unlock solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing health care and revolutionise the way patients access treatments in the future.”

The programme will be become part of Health Innovation Manchester from October 1, conducting research to develop innovations that directly tackles the region’s biggest health challenges over the next five years.

The academic health science centre is responsible for driving the region’s innovation in health care and already has a string of live projects in its portfolio.


For Greater Manchester’s 2.8 million population, the collaboration will focus on healthy ageing and mental health, amongst other health care services.

The ARC will be zooming in on helping elderlies stay healthy for longer and giving support to mental health patients. This is so that they can continue contributing to the economy as well as the social ecosystem.

The scheme will also promote digital health and its implementation, allowing patients to receive health care at any time and from anywhere, enabling seamless mobility.

Health Innovation Manchester CEO Professor Ben Bridgewater aims to accelerate the implementation of the findings and proven innovations swiftly as “[it] has a direct impact on people’s health and wellbeing, transforms local services, and supports the creation of jobs, growth, and prosperity for all.”

On top of that, the research will be focussing on using technology to address local health needs and ensuring that those services are sustainable. After all, the real test of social care devolution is whether it makes a positive impact on the local population over time.

NIHR ARC Greater Manchester Professor Dame Nicky Cullum highlighted that the collective goal is to produce research findings that are “relevant, useful, and applicable to local service needs and [positively] affects policy and practice.”