University of Leicester’s research lead to bring his expertise to NHS innovation body

The University of Leicester has strengthened its links with the National Health Service following the appointment of Professor Philip Baker as chair of Health Innovation East Midlands.

Professor Baker will see a modest reduction in his time spent at the University, where he is the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, as he embarks on the part-time role with the regional innovation arm of the NHS.

Health Innovation East Midlands is one of 15 innovation networks (HINs) across England that operate as the innovation arm of the NHS.

HINs work with partners, including universities, to identify and spread health and care innovation – such as technologies, devices apps, systems, pathways, medicines and so on – that have the potential to save money and transform services for patients.

The move will strengthen the opportunities for the University’s researchers and innovators to help the NHS tackle some of the challenges it faces.

“The NHS is a complex organisation and innovation is at the heart of its mission to improve,” said Professor Baker. “It needs the expertise of colleagues in universities and industry to help it on this journey of innovation.

“There are real synergies between my two roles, as my work at the University is dedicated to stimulating partnerships and ways of working between the University, industry and other communities to drive innovation.

“Many of the University’s research and innovation projects are linked to health and I am looking forward to helping to facilitate smooth pathways for our academics and investigators to enable them to get their innovative ideas into the NHS, for the benefit of patients.

“The two roles dovetail together nicely. In the past few weeks, I have attended three or four events that explore partnerships between universities, industry and health services.”

Nicole McGlennon, Managing Director, Health Innovation East Midlands, said: “We are delighted with the appointment of Professor Baker, who has fantastic local and national experience of the research sector, and the potential to dock together research and implementation partners to create more of a ‘bench to bedside’ pipeline of innovation, whereby the most promising research outputs are implemented quicker, so they benefit patients faster.”

Professor Baker will succeed Health Innovation East Midlands’ outgoing chair, Martin Hindle, who is deputy chair of the University’s audit committee and a member of its Court and Council, in April.