As 2023 comes to a close, our Chief Executive, Dr Nicola Hutchinson looks back at some of the highlights, the changes and our continued vision for the future.

Reflecting on the year, there has been a number of highlights, and as always I am proud to see what continues to be achieved as a health and life sciences sector. The launch of the North East and North Cumbria Health and Life Sciences Pledge in March marked an incredibly exciting step forward for our region. Now just nine months later, over 110 organisations have pledged to come together to reduce health inequalities, increase investment and promote economic growth.

Another highlight, was the return of our Bright Ideas in Health Awards for the 18th year and our first in person awards ceremony in over four years. The awards recognised those who are finding new ways to improve the health and social care system and it was a pleasure to celebrate the people that are making a real difference in our region.

It has been an exciting year for our organisation as we embarked on another five year license. The new license marked the start of our third commission and reflects the crucial role of innovation within the NHS. Many of you will be aware that the new license included a name change from Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria to HI NENC.

We are also bidding farewell to our Board Chair, Dr Arnab Basu, who is standing down after 10 years in the role. I would like to extend a sincere thank you to Arnab, who has guided HI NENC from its inception in 2013 to where it is today. Arnab is handing over to the newly appointed Professor Dean Fathers. I have no doubt that with Dean’s expert guidance we will continue to strengthen our position within the region’s health ecosystem and play a leading role in ensuring evidence-based innovations are adopted with the ultimate goal of improving the health and wealth of our region.

While there has been some changes, our vision remains the same and it is a privilege to work collaboratively with our partners across the system to accelerate health innovation, as we have done for the last decade.

I’d like to thank our members and stakeholders for their support over the last 10 years, we look forward to working with you all in 2024! From everyone at the HI NENC team, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.