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HSC Industry Engagement

Northern Ireland’s Health & Social Care System has a rich history working with industry to introduce the most innovative and effective treatments and care to our citizens.  In 2019 the Health and Social Care NI (HSCNI), Research and Development Division established an Industry Engagement to engage with incoming industry enquiries and work proactively with health care orientated local, national and international SME’s and large corporations to develop and grow clinical trials and collaborations across NI’s healthcare sector.

We are a small, dedicated team of professionals with extensive industry, clinical and academic expertise.  We are highly experienced in designing and developing health research, R&D, and connecting and supporting successful collaborative partnerships. 

We work closely with external stakeholders and industry representatives including Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries (ABPI), UK Commercial Clinical Operations Group (cCOG) and Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre (NA-ATTC), to ensure we are well aligned and responsive to the needs of the life and health science industry.


Our Network

We work in collaboration with a number of other health innovation organisations across Northern Ireland including:

As yet, a distinct industry forum has not been developed – this was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.  HSC Industry Engagement has, however, actively and tactically collaborated with the HSC, academia and the industry sector to enhance awareness of NI capability, resulting in heightened exposure and facilitating access to developments in the fields of health and life science as evidenced below. 

Regular update meetings are conducted by Industry Engagement with various stakeholders, including Invest Northern Ireland, Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast, Health Innovation Research Alliance NI, Innovate UK, and internal stakeholders such as HSC Trust R&D Directors/Managers. 

The Industry Engagement team are active participants in numerous key HSC working groups including the Clinical Translational Research Innovation Centre (C-TRIC) located at the Western Trust and the Medicines Optimisation Innovation Centre (MOIC) located at the Northern Trust, Digital Health and Care NI (DHCNI), the Northwest Cancer Centre Clinical Trials Group and HSC Quality Improvement (HSCQI).   

An example of the outputs from the work of these groups is the creation of a Demographics and Patient Cohort Health Data Scientist Business Case which HSC Industry Engagement has led.  The position holder will work be based in the NI Trusted Research Environment (NITRE)/DHCNI to respond to industry queries regarding NI's demographics and clinical trial suitability using anonymized data.  This data will also allow HSC Industry Engagement to proactively recruit companies to conduct research in NI to address unmet clinical, health, and workforce needs.

For open and consistent guidance, support, and referral of medtech business inquiries to the right colleague, Industry Engagement created the Innovation Evaluation Framework.   The team have developed the framework and built upon important relationships and sought feedback from Procurement, DHCNI, MOIC and industry in the development of the Framework. 

·       Links with key academic groups and projects included the Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) at Ulster University workshop series, the eCareWell project and a Cost Action proposal with Ulster University teams, and an AIMDay event at QUB  

·       HSC Industry Engagement has established collaborations directly with firms based in the United States, Canada, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. These collaborations have been crucial in facilitating the progress of clinical research initiatives throughout the HSC, both internally and externally.  All companies have been effectively and successfully connected, and regular updates from these organisations are sought while providing more assistance as needed.  Thus far, several of these instances have resulted in research collaborations within the Health and Social Care (HSC) sector and/or Queen's University Belfast (QUB) or Ulster University.    

·       The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) collaborated with the aim of organising their inaugural Clinical Research Conference in Belfast on May 18th, 2023. As part of this cooperation, the Industry Engagement team presented and chaired a session at the conference, and also had a role in identifying speakers and firms to exhibit at the event. 

The Industry Engagement team has developed expertise on regulatory approvals for medical devices focusing on NI’s unique position within the EU/ UK/ GB as a result of Brexit.

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Contact us

​Barry Henderson, Senior Industry Manager

Julie McCullough, Industry Engagement Manager

Twitter @HSC_Industry