Northern Health Futures Hub

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Computing


The Northern Health Futures (NortHFutures) hub aims to create a world-leading healthcare technology (health-tech) development ecosystem. This will address unmet health needs and inequalities by supporting: inclusive digital skills training and sharing; research, innovation and entrepreneurship, enabled by digital design. Based in the North East and North Cumbria (NENC), with national and global reach, NortHFutures will support underserved communities, as it is known that national disparity of investment in NENC negatively impacts population health and wellbeing, and that a 'levelling up' of investment is needed to stimulate socio-economic and cultural growth for all, to encourage living and ageing well.

NortHFutures builds upon the joined-up NENC approach to people-powered digital health innovation, as our regional Integrated Care Board (ICB) uniquely involves local authorities, communities, and citizens. Academic team members have a research track record that is stakeholder-involved and civic- and community-engaged. They are world-leading on understanding (i) health inequalities from medical, social, and design perspectives, and (ii) the opportunities for enrichment and enablement related to ageing well, connecting rural and urban populations, and pioneering applications of data science. In the pilot phase, we draw on this specialist expertise to address evidenced unmet health needs in NENC, (which have national and global importance): children and young people's health and nutrition; mental health and wellbeing; development of digital surgical pathways (for monitoring patient journeys beyond the hospital); living well with multiple long-term conditions.

We combine the strengths and resources of 6 universities (Newcastle, Cumbria, Durham, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside), bringing regional investment in NIHR services, facilities and Applied Research Collaborations, plus National Innovation Centres for Ageing (NICA), Data (NICD) and Rural Enterprise (NICRE), National Horizons Centre (NHC), EPSRC Digital Economy programmes in data and digital citizens, and Health Data Research UK, the UK's national institute for health data science. NortHFutures supports new planned Centres, including Northumbria's Centre for Health & Social Equity and Cumbria's new campus and medical school. These University offers combine with an extensive partner network, including: ICB-NENC, 7 NHS Trusts, NHS Business Services Authority, Department of Health and Social Care, Health Education England; VCSE organisations delivering community-based services; industry partners - from SMEs to global tech giants; civic bodies such as Local and Combined Authorities; existing health research networks (e.g. AHSN-NENC, Newcastle Health Innovation Partnership); and innovation accelerators (e.g. Innovation SuperNetwork). Through an integrated, regional approach uniting this consortium for the first time, NortHFutures ambitiously aims to establish global leadership in Digital Health.

To deliver this we will develop a supportive community infrastructure. We will co-design a digital brokerage service to connect and amplify partners' work, to offer and consume expertise, services and facilities (supporting acceleration of health-tech companies at differing tech-readiness levels). We will pioneer a Live Digital Health Databank, to explore, and train for, advanced healthcare data analytics, combining live data flows with care records (e.g. Great North Care Record). This will support personalised health diagnostics and interventions, giving our hub a unique value proposition to companies wishing to explore advanced data technologies. We will invest in Extended Reality pilots, to open up possibilities for clinical practice and service delivery. Our approaches will embed Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), and Patient and Public Engagement (PPIE) throughout, to deliver health-tech that supports care beyond the hospital and is co-designed with end-users.




Abigail Durrant (Principal Investigator)
Josephine Go Jefferies (Co-Investigator)
Boguslaw Obara (Co-Investigator)
Sarah Cadman (Co-Investigator)
Jeremy Phillipson (Co-Investigator)
Bernard Corfe (Co-Investigator)
Peter McMeekin (Co-Investigator) orcid
Dawn Craig (Co-Investigator) orcid
Naeem Soomro (Co-Investigator)
Robert Wilson (Co-Investigator) orcid
Tim Donovan (Co-Investigator)
James Paul Hodge (Co-Investigator)
John Murray (Co-Investigator)
Katie Rhian Brittain (Co-Investigator)
Elizabeth Sillence (Co-Investigator)
Tim Pain (Co-Investigator)
Tracy Finch (Co-Investigator)
Lynne Corner (Co-Investigator)
Hubert P. H. Shum (Co-Investigator)
Amanda Taylor-Beswick (Co-Investigator)
Kenneth McGarry (Co-Investigator) orcid
Jaume Bacardit (Co-Investigator)
Brian Castellani (Co-Investigator)
Alan Godfrey (Co-Investigator)
Heather Yemm (Co-Investigator) orcid
Matthew Lievesley (Co-Investigator) orcid
David Kirk (Co-Investigator)
John Isaacs (Co-Investigator)
Christopher Price (Co-Investigator)
Matthew Forshaw (Co-Investigator) orcid
Paul Watson (Co-Investigator) orcid
Annette Hand (Co-Investigator)
Beverley Lendrem (Co-Investigator) orcid
Niina Kolehmainen (Co-Investigator) orcid
Charlotte Clarke (Co-Investigator)
Yitka Graham (Co-Investigator) orcid
Clare Bambra (Co-Investigator)
Christopher Bull (Co-Investigator) orcid
Andrew Sims (Co-Investigator)
Vikki Rand (Co-Investigator)
Silvia Del Din (Co-Investigator) orcid
Paolo Missier (Co-Investigator)


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