The Department of Health has this week unveiled the first batch of 17 Health Innovation and Education Clusters created to promote innovation in the National Health Service.

The £11-million scheme will see cross-sector partnerships between NHS groups, higher education and blue chip companies such as BMW, GlaxoSmithKline and BT provide professional education and training to NHS staff and speed up the adoption of research.

The concept of Health Innovation and Education Clusters - first announced by Lord Ara Darzi last year in his report on the future of the NHS High Quality Care for All – was borne out of the growing need to address the slow uptake and long-term development of new, innovative ideas by the health service.

The idea behind the move is that partnerships between academia and industry will ultimately embed innovation into practice by improving the quality and timeliness of education and training offered to healthcare professionals, so that it becomes more responsive to new developments and thereby improves the quality of patient care.

“HIECs are special partnerships that draw on the wealth of skills and experience of their members to improve the development of high quality care and services by quickly bringing the benefits of research and innovation directly to patients,” said health minister Ann Keen, and she promised the projects “will attract and encourage the best talent who can recognise and rapidly adopt new and innovative healthcare and treatment”.

The list of successful applicants can be viewed on the Link to display