Healthcare innovators to be celebrated at northern awards

Health innovations that have transformed patient care over the last few years are to be recognised as the Bright Ideas in Health Awards return.

The immense pressure on services during the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the need for transformative solutions to meet the demand.

Innovations have been developed, evaluated and adopted at speed and scale as innovators stepped up to the challenges posed by the virus.

After a year’s break, the Bright Ideas in Health Awards are returning for 2021 and will be celebrating the achievements of innovators from across the region and beyond.

Organised by the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), the Awards are open to individuals and teams from across the NHS, including those in Primary and Secondary Care, universities, and regional businesses and organisations working within the health sector.

This year sees the introduction of new categories, one of which focusses on Covid-19 innovations, meaning there are now nine opportunities to win at the ceremony which will take place virtually in November.

The winners will receive a cash prize and support from innovation experts at the AHSN NENC to progress their ideas.

The categories for this year’s Bright Ideas in Health Awards are:

  1. Development of an Innovative Device or Technology, sponsored by The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI)
  2. Digital Innovation in Health and Social Care, sponsored by sponsored by NENC ICS Digital Care Programme
  3. Celebrating Innovation Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic
  4. Outstanding Industry Collaboration, sponsored by RTC North and Innovate UK EDGE
  5. Demonstrating an Impact upon Patient Safety and/or Quality Improvement
  6. Innovation in Hospital or Community Education, sponsored by Health Education England North East (HEENE)
  7. Innovation Champion Award
  8. Making Healthier, Happier Places and Spaces – Innovations in the Built Environment
  9. Research Impact Award – sponsored by NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria
  10. Helping our Workforce to Recover from the Pandemic* (A collaboration between AHSN NENC and Yorkshire & Humber AHSN), sponsored by NHS England and NHS Improvement North East and Yorkshire*This category is open to entries from Yorkshire and Humber as well as North East and North Cumbria


Dr Nicola Hutchinson, Chief Executive at the AHSN NENC, said: “The power of innovation to truly transform patient care has never been felt more so than over the last year. Facing one of the worst public health crises in a century, we have seen people and teams go above and beyond to maintain and improve health and social care services in incredibly challenging circumstances.

“The AHSN NENC’s position at the heart of the region’s health innovation ecosystem enables us to witness some of these innovations and the benefits they are bringing to patients and the health care system. We know there is so much more fantastic work that has taken place across the North and we want to hear about it and celebrate it at the Bright Ideas in Health Awards.”

The Awards, now in its 17th year, celebrate the achievements of individuals and teams working within the NHS, industry and academia, who have risen to the challenge of telling us how, and where, they believe that the services provided to patients can be improved, either through a technical innovation or through better service delivery.

The competition, depending upon the category, is open to businesses, NHS organisations and academic institutions in the North East of England and North Cumbria, with the exception of the ‘Helping our Workforce to Recover from the Pandemic’ category which has an extended reach to include Yorkshire and Humber.

Alan Foster, Executive Lead of the ICS in the North East and North Cumbria, which is lead sponsor of the Awards, said: “Recognising the expertise, passion and collaborative approaches being taken across our region to improve patient care has never been more important, especially after the toughest of years when our northern strength and resilience has shone brightest.

“We’re honoured to support these awards showcasing the continuous innovation being made by truly dedicated individuals and teams who are developing solutions for our healthcare challenges both now and in the future, with everyone playing a part in driving forward healthcare improvements for our communities.”

The deadline for entering is Monday, September 13, 2021.

To submit a bright idea, visit: