Our aim is to help our region become the favoured location for inward life science investment, life science business creation and growth

AHSN Innovation Exchanges


Spreading innovation, improving health, stimulating economic growth

England’s 15 AHSNs were set up by NHS England in 2013 and were relicensed from April 2018 to operate as the key innovation arm of the NHS.

We understand the needs of our health systems and are well placed to broker innovative solutions, while collaborating across England to take what works best and quickly spread it nationally.

We are catalysts for innovation, helping facilitate change across whole health and social care economies – to improve health, drive down the cost of care, and stimulate economic growth.

We connect regional networks of NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector, industry and citizens – responding to the diverse needs of our patients and populations through partnership and collaboration.

We create the right environment for relevant industries and innovators to work more effectively with the health and social care ecosystem.

We are collaborators – we identify successful innovations in our local and regional communities and support the spread of these across our national Network at pace and scale.

AHSN priorities

AHSNs work locally and benefit from being part of a national network.

Each AHSN is embedded in its regional health and care community, understanding the system and patient needs on the ground. We develop projects, programmes and initiatives that reflect the diversity of our local populations and healthcare challenges.

Each AHSN is also part of the national AHSN Network, linked into a unique collaborative of expertise and experience, sharing learning, pooling intelligence, and benefitting from a pipeline of emerging and proven solutions from around the country.

Our shared priorities across the AHSN Network are:

  1. Adoption and spread: atrial fibrillation, emergency laparotomy, ESCAPE-pain, PINCER, PReCePT, Serenity Integrated Mentoring, and Transfer of Care around Medicines
  2. Delivery of the Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs)
  3. Delivery of the SBRI Healthcare programme
  4. Delivery of the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA)
  5. Supporting uptake of products on the Innovation Technology Payment (ITP)
  6. Stimulating economic growth through the Innovation Pathway and the Innovation Exchange
  7. Transforming digital health and maximising the potential of artificial intelligence (AI)
  8. Working with researchers and research funders
  9. Optimising the use of medicines.

In addition, we work collaboratively as an AHSN Network to:

  1. Support clinical and commercial innovators
  2. Support the NHS England Test Beds
  3. Develop and deliver a national wound care strategy.

The Innovation Exchange

AHSNs support the regional ‘import and export’ of healthcare innovation through our Innovation Exchange.

The Innovation Exchange is an AHSN coordinated approach to identify, select and support the adoption of innovations that improve our economy and patients’ lives.

The Innovation Exchange identifies innovations for the Accelerated Access Collaborative and for local adoption. The Accelerated Access Collaborative is a national partnership of organisations including NHS England, Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, NICE, NHS Improvement and the AHSNs.

The Innovation Exchange has four structured elements:

  1. needs definition
  2. innovator support and signposting
  3. real world validation
  4. spread and adoption of supported innovations.

Needs definition

We support our Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) to identify proven solutions to existing challenges.

Innovator support and signposting

Innovator support is provided by all AHSNs. The Innovation Pathway sets out the range of service offered.  There is a consistent and co-ordinated offer to innovators wherever they are identified in the system.

Real world validation

Real world validation is informed by regional and local need and seeks to provide the information and evidence needed to enable adoption of the innovation in a variety of settings.

Spread and adoption of supported innovations

The Innovation Exchange supports the adoption of innovations identified by the Accelerated Access Collaborative. It also identifies and supports the adoption of innovations on a regional and cross-regional basis.

Funded by the government’s Office for Life Sciences, the Innovative Exchange builds on AHSNs’ unique expertise and cross-sector connections, enabling us to identify common challenges and quickly bring people and organisations together to develop, test and spread proven innovation.

Contact: Julie Hart

Julie Hart
Director of Strategic and Industry Partnerships

Julie has been working in the diagnostics and life sciences industries for over 25 years. Julie joined the team initially as Associate Director of Networking, a joint post with OBN and the AHSN and now leads the Diagnostics Programme. Julie was previously with the NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Cooperative London.
Email Julie


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