New Academic Health Science Networks announced

NHS England has today (Thursday 23 May, 2013) confirmed the designation of 15 new Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs).

AHSNs have the potential to transform health and healthcare by putting innovation at the heart of the NHS. This will improve patient outcomes as well as contributing to economic growth.

AHSNs present a unique opportunity to pull together the adoption and spread of innovation with clinical research and trials, informatics, education, and healthcare delivery. They will develop solutions to healthcare problems and get existing solutions spread more quickly by building strong relationships with their regional scientific and academic communities and industry.

NHS England’s Chief Executive, Sir David Nicholson, said:  “The NHS is full of brilliant people with brilliant ideas. To spread ideas right across the NHS means working collaboratively with all those who have an interest.

“AHSNs offer a more systematic delivery mechanism so that innovation spreads quickly and successfully through the NHS, making the best possible use of precious NHS resources and in ensuring the most advanced treatments, technologies and medicines are available to patients.”

The development of AHSNs was recommended in Sir David’s December 2011 report Innovation, Health and Wealth. Sir Alan Langlands, CEO of the Higher Education Funding Council, chaired the panel to consider applications from prospective AHSNs.

The 15 AHSNs they recommended will now be given licence to operate and will cover the whole of England.

They will work with all parts of the NHS and healthcare delivery partners to accelerate the adoption and spread of innovation Sir David added: “I am grateful to the Designation Panel for their work and recommendations. AHSNs have the potential to deliver transformational improvements in the quality and value of care provided in the NHS.”

Dame Sally Davies Chief Medical Officer said: “I am delighted the 15 AHSNs are now designated and licensed.  They will have a major role in improving patient outcomes and population health right across the country through faster identification, adoption and spread of proven innovations and best practice. This will be achieved through collaboration within each AHSN and across AHSNs, and through working collaboratively with industry. This will also be achieved by the AHSNs promoting and supporting increased activity and performance of health research, which is delivered through the National Institute for Health Research.

“The AHSNs provide an important mechanism for achieving a step-change in the way the NHS translates research, innovation and best practice into effective and cost-effective treatments and services for patients.”

Earl Howe, Health Minister, said: “Britain is one of the best research centres in the world and it is important that we harness the skills and creativity in this sector to really improve the lives of those who use the NHS.

“The new AHSNs will help us develop better technology and make better use of the skills of NHS staff. They will also help us get in a better position to tackle the changing needs of our population and ensure patients get the care they deserve.”

The designated AHSNs are:

  • East Midlands
  • Eastern
  • Greater Manchester
  • North East and North Cumbria
  • North West Coast
  • Imperial College Health Partners
  • Oxford
  • South London
  • South West Peninsula
  • Kent, Surrey and Sussex
  • UCL Partners
  • Wessex
  • West Midlands
  • West of England
  • Yorkshire and Humber


  1. Sunil Narayan says:

    Let me make a comment on Prof. Gary ford, the network’s current CEO. I have known him as my commonwealth scholarship supervisor for some time now. I have absolutely no doubt that under the leadership of Prof Gary Ford, this network will see unprecedented growth and will achieve its full potential. I know Gray as a down to earth, very pleasant, very sincere and sharp teacher and guide and most of all, a most adorable and compassionate human being. Oxford has done the right thing to be able to get him into their leadership . Being a quiet and gentle person as he is, I can only hope, he may pardon me for speaking my heart out.

  2. George Fuller says:


    Please could you provide addresses for the following ‘Academic Science Networks’ as I cannot locate these on the websites;

    Greater Manchester
    North East and North Cumbria
    North West Coast
    West of England
    West Midlands

    Kind regards,

    George Fuller

  3. Prof Tamar Thompson, OBE says:

    I am interested to know if you can be a member of more than one AHSN?

  4. Sarah Rowley says:

    At a recent NHS England morning hosted by Tim Kelsey, much was made of the Academic Science Networks, and how these bodies will help provide the much-needed link between clinicians and entrepreneurs. As the b2b lead for the healthcare product at tech start-up SwiftKey I am keen to contact my local network as soon as they get underway. It would be great if you could keep me posted on key developments.

    Many thanks

    Best wishes


    • NHS England says:

      Hi Sarah
      NHS England will of course publish further information and developments as and when we have them.