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Future advances in healthcare will be aided by a new £10 million facility – the National Institute for Health Research Innovation Observatory based at Newcastle University

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Funded by the National Institute for Health Research, the unique facility will shape the future of health advances to provide better and more efficient healthcare for patients and the wider public.

The NIHR Innovation Observatory which launches today, will apply state-of-the-art data analytics to explore trends in health innovation across drugs, medical technologies, diagnostic tools and healthcare services.

It will offer academia and industry unique insights to identify areas to develop that can provide better healthcare and allow an opportunity for new innovations to be used in practice more rapidly.

The £10 million centre will be based on Science Central, Newcastle, and create 30 jobs –spanning information specialists, evidence synthesis experts, leaders in text mining tools and software programmers.

The Director of NIHR Innovation Observatory, Professor Michael Trenell said: “There is a pressing need to provide better and more efficient care, today more than ever before.

“In order to do this, we need to accelerate access to new medicines, devices, diagnostics, and services for the benefit of patients.”

Thanks to major stakeholders such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), NHS England, healthcare providers, research funders and industrial partners, findings from NIHR Innovation Observatory will drive commissioning, policy, and strategy for research nationally and internationally.

Professor Trenell added: “The NIHR Innovation Observatory will apply Big Data analytics tools, from text mining, machine learning and cognitive analytics to reveal global trends – and global needs – in health innovation.”

Dr Hakim Yadi OBE, Chief Executive of the Northern Health Science Alliance said: “The North of England has some of the most advanced practitioners in health data, and its application in patient care, in the world.

“The NIHR Innovation Observatory will further highlight its excellence in this area and cement Newcastle’s reputation in the field. Importantly it will ultimately mean that patients get the right care and faster leading to a healthier population across the UK and beyond.”

The NIHR Innovation Observatory is hosted by the National Innovation Centre for Ageing, National Institute for Smart Data Innovation, and Newcastle Academic Health Partners – a collaboration involving Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

Science Central, a partnership between Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council and L&G Capital, is a £350m urban regeneration project, the largest of its kind in the UK and a test bed for innovation and sustainability.  The site will also house the University’s £60m Urban Sciences Building, the £40m National Innovation Centre for Ageing, the £30m National Innovation Centre for Data and the £20m National Centre for Energy Systems Integration.

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