A groundbreaking ceremony has taken place to mark the start of building work on the £41m Health Innovation Campus at Lancaster University.
The first phase of the new building, adjacent to the main campus, is due to open in autumn 2019.
Health experts will work collaboratively with businesses and the health sector to tackle the biggest challenge in healthcare today – helping people to live as long and as healthily as possible.
Vice-Chancellor Prof Mark E. Smith said: “The HIC will drive business innovation, creating new jobs by supporting 300 Lancashire-based small and medium enterprises to develop new and innovative digital and technological solutions and will have wider impact by engaging regionally, nationally and internationally with hundreds of companies. It will allow Lancaster’s world-class research to have even greater impact.”
The work of the HIC will focus on enabling people to achieve and sustain optimal health and well-being, to enable early detection and intervention of disease and access to care.
The new director of the Health Innovation Campus, Dr Sherry Kothari, said: “This is an exciting initiative focused on providing innovative solutions to addressing the enormous challenges faced by our healthcare system.
“The HIC will provide a focal point for health care providers to work collaboratively with researchers and companies to bring about meaningful impact to how we manage the future health of our region.”
As well as digital innovation, this will include the design, development and evaluation of healthy places to live and work, improving health systems, and the development of new materials to improve health.
HIC is funded by the university and through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal Fund and the ERDF’s Structural and Investment Fund.
Local Growth Minister and Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Jake Berry, said: “With Growth Deal funding, this new Health Innovation Campus will establish Lancaster University as a global player in the prevention and diagnosis of illnesses. It also boosts Lancashire’s reputation within the Northern Powerhouse as a centre for cutting-edge scientific research and digital innovation.”
Graham Cowley, chairman of the LEP’s Growth Deal Management Board, said: “Healthcare is an emerging economic sector in Lancashire and the Health Innovation Campus is set to act as a dynamic catalyst for the whole region within both health R&D and innovative healthcare practice.
“Further this facility will be accessible to local SMEs who are active within health, wellbeing and related sectors. This means smaller firms will be able to tap into the University’s wealth of knowledge and experience to help them accelerate commercial opportunities, become more competitive and add significant value to the wider Lancashire economy.”