AHSN NENC congratulates Chief Executive on prestigious Alumni Achiever Award

We are celebrating our Chief Executive Officer, Dr Nicola Hutchinson, who has been recognised by the University of Sunderland for its prestigious Alumni Achiever of the Year 2022.

Nicola was presented with the award at a ceremony held at the Stadium of Light, by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Sir David Bell KCB DL, in recognition of her achievements in the sciences and business.

Alumni Achiever Award winner Dr Nicola Hutchinson attends the University of Sunderland’s summer graduation ceremony at the the Stadium of Light. Picture University of Sunderland

The award is given to a graduate or ‘Alumnus’ who has exhibited outstanding, noteworthy achievements in their field.

As CEO of the AHSN NENC, Nicola heads up a team of more than 80 people, working closely with the NHS and industry to drive innovation, improve patient outcomes and support economic growth in the region.

Nicola graduated from the University of Sunderland in 2001, with a degree in BSc Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and it was the springboard for her successful career.

Her passion for science is close to home for Nicola, who grew up in a small Durham mining village. Her brother Steven was born with severe cerebral palsy and sadly died while she was studying for her A-Levels. Losing her brother at an early age and experiencing his illness, gave Nicola the drive to pursue a career which would make a difference to others.

Nicola said: “It is an absolute honour to receive the University of Sunderland Alumni Achiever Award, 21 years since I graduated. I was truly humbled and I had the best day with my family who were also invited to attend the celebrations.

“My brother’s illness led me to a career in science, and while I was at Sunderland, I found my love of chemistry. It was at Sunderland that I started making the connections that ultimately would carve out my career. Sunderland is a place that never forgets people. I loved my time there and I have been fortunate enough to reconnect with many people from the University who supported me along the way. I’m so proud of my relationship with the University and how my time there helped to shape my career.”


Sir David Bell DL, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland, said: “Dr Nicola Hutchinson is an outstanding graduate of the University of Sunderland and so we were delighted to recognise her achievements as Alumni Achiever of the Year. We could not have had a better role model for our Class of 2022 who were there celebrating at the Stadium of Light with Nicola this week.

“Nicola’s work in health sciences innovation, and her passionate desire to improve outcomes for patients, is inspirational. It is also vitally important if we, as a nation, are to tackle the great health challenges we face in the period ahead.”

Dr Nicola Hutchinson attends the University of Sunderland’s summer graduation ceremony at the the Stadium of Light pictured with Vice Chancellor Sir David Bell and Pro-Chancellor The Hon James Ramsbotham. Picture credit: The University of Sunderland