Application success for NHS entrepreneurs  

 The NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme has offered 170 places, to budding entrepreneurs, for this year’s training programme. 

Now in its 6th year and delivered by Anglia Ruskin University, the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme had over 300 applications from staff across the NHS. Through a rigorous and competitive application process, 170 individuals were shortlisted for the year long programme which starts in late February 2022. Applications were scored by 3 external assessors from across the NHS and industry, and a review panel. 

The NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme was founded in 2016 and has become the world’s largest entrepreneurial training programme in healthcare, helping to transform patient care across the NHS. Open to all NHS staff, the programme aims to nurture healthcare innovators from across the country and help them gain the commercial skills, knowledge, and experience to make their ideas become a reality. 

The programme is part of the NHS’s Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) which brings together industry, government, regulators, patients, and the NHS to remove barriers and accelerate the introduction of new ground-breaking treatments and diagnostics which have the potential to transform care. In 2021, Anglia Ruskin University won a competitive bid to deliver the programme for the next 3 years. 

In the first four years of the programme over 500 clinical entrepreneurs were recruited. Between them, 247 life science start-up companies have been created, over £270million of funding has been raised through investment largely from the private sector, and more than 30 million patients and users have benefited from the innovations. 

Examples of innovations through the programme include communications solutions to help reduce health inequalities, smartphone otoscopes to look inside the ear, a time bank to support the exchange of skills and ideas and drones designed to carry medical supplies between NHS sites. 

Professor Tony Young, Director of Medical Innovation at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and National Clinical Lead for Innovation at NHSE&I said:  

“We have been thrilled by the number, quality, and diversity of applications this year. From doctors, dentists and nurses to AHP’s, clinical scientists, pharmacists, support staff and managers, it is truly remarkable how the NHS frontline has stepped forward to improve patient care through innovation. They have done this at a time during which the NHS has faced its greatest challenge since it was founded over 70 years ago. There are some stunning ideas and remarkable individuals and I am looking forward to getting started with the new cohort. 

The Programme plays a pivotal role in embedding innovation, creative thinking and entrepreneurship into the NHS. Our aim is to nurture and grow our brightest talent, to support the delivery of high quality, sustainable healthcare for all.” 

This year the programme has expanded to include applicants from Northern Ireland and Scotland, and a pilot scheme with Venture Studios from Crisis

Erica White, National Programme Director said:  

“Now in its 6th year, the programme is seen as the ‘gold standard’ for entrepreneurial workforce development.  We are pleased to be able to expand the programme to our NHS colleagues in Northern Ireland and Scotland and have been collaborating with our partners at Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre and Health Innovation Research Northern Ireland to make this happen.  

This year we are also running a proof-of-concept exercise with the team at Venture Studios from Crisis.  We recognise the important role we have to play, together with our colleagues and partners, across the healthcare industry and within our local communities to positively influence and impact on the current health inequity experienced by our workforce, our patients and the wider resident population. We look forward to welcoming a number of ‘Venture Studios from Crisis Entrepreneurs’ to cohort 6 of the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme as part of our Entrepreneur Outreach initiative.” 

The yearlong programme launches on the 24th February with the Big Pitch event which includes:  

  • A keynote with Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director, NHS England and NHS Improvement. 
  • Panels with senior leaders including Matt Whitty, Director of Innovation, Research and Life Sciences and Chief Executive of the Accelerated Access Collaborative at NHS England and NHS Improvement. 
  • Live pitching with our Clinical Entrepreneurs. 
  • A look at the year ahead with our founder, Professor Tony Young, Director of Medical Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Anglia Ruskin University and National Clinical Lead for Innovation at NHSE&I.   

For more information about the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme contact the team at   #NHSCEP2022

Published by Lucy Dentice

Deputy Programme Manager for the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme.