£80 million boost for West Yorkshire’s digital and health technology firms

West Yorkshire is a global leader in health and digital technology.

08 March 2024

Businesses, universities and hospitals will benefit from a multi-million pound investment zone to drive the development of lifechanging technologies.

The £80 million plan will be brought forward by West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin next week (March 14), when regional leaders meet for the final Combined Authority meeting of her mayoral term.

The first half of the 10-year, £160 million West Yorkshire Healthtech and Digital Tech Investment Zone – which received the green light from Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove last week – is expected to leverage over £220 million of public and private sector investment over the next 5 years, creating over 2,500 skilled jobs.

The unprecedented package of support will bring together universities, businesses and hospitals to deliver cutting-edge research and develop innovative new technologies for patients, to be used in the UK and world-wide.

As the home of NHS England, West Yorkshire is a global leader in health and digital technology, with universities in Bradford, Huddersfield and Leeds partnering with NHS Trusts and local firms to share their expertise, develop exciting new products, and transform patient care for millions of people.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

“For the UK economy to prosper it needs West Yorkshire to succeed, and devolution is helping us empower our healthtech and digital sectors, transforming the lives of patients world-wide.

“This multi-million pound investment will help us build world-leading centres of innovation in Bradford, Huddersfield and Leeds, bringing together our universities, businesses and hospitals to drive the development of lifechanging technologies and deliver thousands of skilled jobs.

“Through our investment zone, we’re changing our region for the long-term, working with partners and the government to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that works for all”.

The investment zone will centre around three, nationally significant clusters of economic activity, powered by investment in infrastructure, skills training and business support.

They are:

  • The Digital Health Enterprise Zone at the University of Bradford, which supports business growth, knowledge and skills development by connecting academics, researchers and health and social care partners. It also contributes to the training of future healthcare professionals, advancing research and commercial opportunities through its dedicated simulation space, The Technology House. Its aim is to work with other universities, local government and wider partners to make West Yorkshire the place for health tech innovation.

  • A National Health Innovation Campus at the University of Huddersfield, where the university is investing over £250 million to develop a state-of-the-art campus, focused on specialist clinical teaching and research to tackle health inequalities.

  • A HealthTech Innovation Hub in Leeds – a flagship project of the investment zone which will see the development of the first phase of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s 1 million square foot “Leeds Innovation Village”, on the site of Leeds General Infirmary. Alongside the transformation of the Old Medical School, will be the construction of the Trust’s new, world-leading, state of the art digital hospital.

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bradford, said:

"We welcome the opportunities for Bradford and West Yorkshire businesses afforded by the Investment Zone.

“Our University will offer businesses in the digital and health technology sectors access to many ways to make a difference, through innovation, workforce development and access to high end facilities, an example of which is our recent £4.8m award from Research England to develop and evaluate innovative health technology.”

Professor Tim Thornton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, said:

“The University of Huddersfield is proud to be at the heart of Huddersfield’s Station to Stadium Corridor.

“The University’s National Health Innovation Campus will be core to the success of the West Yorkshire Investment Zone, with seven state-of-the-art buildings designed to tackle health inequalities, provide specialist clinical teaching facilities and drive entrepreneurial academic activity, in addition to providing space to support business growth and innovation.

“This will be truly transformational for the town and the West Yorkshire region. This announcement demonstrates the crucial role universities play in driving regional economic growth.”

Dame Linda Pollard, Chair of the Leeds Innovation Partnership, said:

“I am delighted that the Old Medical School has been chosen to be the flagship project for the West Yorkshire Healthtech and Digital Technology zone and it is great to see our vision for a leading Healthtech Innovation hub get this boost.

“The Healthtech Innovation Hub will uniquely co-locate clinicians, entrepreneurs, and academics for the first time and provide space for scale ups and start-ups. Running alongside the Trust’s new state of the art hospitals of the future, this infrastructure for the city really will be a hotbed of innovative thinking, collaboration and development bringing life-changing benefits for patients being treated in Leeds and impressive economic benefits for the city and wider region.”

Through our investment zone, we’re changing our region for the long-term, working with partners and the government to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that works for all

Tracy Brabin Mayor of West Yorkshire

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