COLLABORATION

University-led consortium brings healthtech innovation to Manchester

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The Christabel Pankhurst Institute of Health Technology is set to boost Greater Manchester's economic and societal growth.

Manchester will soon be home to the Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology, a multi-million-pound health technology research institute that local authorities hope will help accelerate the city-region’s advancements in digital health.

To be based at the University of Manchester’s campus at the Oxford Road Corridor, the institute will leverage the university’s digital health and advanced materials expertise to develop innovative healthcare products and services, drive business growth in the sector and boost the long-term health benefits of the city region.

“Greater Manchester is world-class when it comes to health innovation and advanced materials, underpinned by assets in digital technology and data science,” Health Innovation Manchester Chief Executive Professor Ben Bridgewater said in a media release.

“The Christabel Pankhurst Institute will play a pivotal role in discovering and developing market-ready innovations that we can deploy across the city-region, to ultimately improve the health and wellbeing of our citizens.”

The university leads the consortium of partners to launch the facility, which includes Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), Manchester University National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust, and Health Innovation Manchester (HInM). 

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The facility was named as such in honour of Manchester-born British suffragette Dame Christabel Pankhurst, a driving force of 20th-century social reforms and a distinguished alumna.

It also reflects the university’s commitment to rectifying the under-representation of women and other social groups in the field of science and academic leadership. 

Research institute
The research institute will not only accelerate the advancement of medical breakthroughs but also provide future employment opportunities in the healthcare sector. Source: Unsplash

An initial £5 million has been pumped into the project by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA)’s Local Growth Fund. This forms a major part of the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy to boost the city-region’s capability for economic gain and employability in targeted industries. 

“Thanks to £5 million of government investment from the Local Growth Fund, a world-class facility for health technology and research is being built in the heart of Manchester,” Minister of the State for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Jake Berry said.

“As a key part of the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy, the Christabel Pankhurst Institute is testament to the strengths of partnership working while cementing the Northern Powerhouse’s reputation for being at the global forefront of health, science and innovation.”

Additional funds from the MSP, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Alan Turing Institute, as well as the university, bring the institute’s total budget to £25 million. 

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In addition to its strategic location at the Oxford Road Corridor, the institute will also have bespoke, state-of-the-art research and business development spaces at MSP’s Citylabs campus.

These facilities, combined with location and collaboration of consortium partners all play a critical role in helping the institute fulfill its objective to guide new innovations from basic research to new, market-ready products.

“The University of Manchester is at the leading edge of research which will transform our ability to predict and prevent disease. The Pankhurst Institute will provide a dedicated facility for bringing this research together and play a key role in shortening the journey from academic discovery to world-leading industry innovation,” MSP Chair Rowena Burns said.

The Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology will serve as a strategic addition to the University of Manchester’s existing array of health research institutes such as the Health e-Research Centre (HeRC), Manchester Centre for Imaging Sciences, and Manchester Clinical Trials Unit (CTU).