Health and social care hub secures City Region Deal investment

The City Region Deal’s joint committee has approved £49.2 million towards the new Usher Institute building, one of five Data-Driven Innovation hubs being established as part of the Deal.

Committee members were shown evidence that data has made improvements in heart disease treatments – with premature deaths halving in the last 20 years, largely through “data-driven policy initiatives”. Professor Nick Mills, Senior Responsible Officer for the Data-Driven Innovation Programme at the Usher Institute, told the Committee: “We don’t communicate as effectively across primary care, local authorities and hospital care and, therefore, delayed discharge in hospitals continue to be increasing. I think data may be a way to really tackle this.”

Over the lifetime of the DDI Programme, the Usher Institute will:

  • Engage and train over 20,000 students and health and social care professionals in the application of data.
  • Undertake health and social care research projects worth £138m.
  • Engage with 280 public, private and third sector organisations.
  • Develop a comprehensive health and social care data resource to curate and make accessible around 270 new health and social care data assets.
  • Establish 49 new DDI health and social care companies in the Edinburgh and south east Scotland region.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “This new centre, backed by £48.5 million funding from the UK Government, will harness the power of data in a secure and ethical way and deliver major benefits for patients and healthcare services in the UK and internationally. I want to see Edinburgh and South East Scotland become a global centre for data science and innovation.  The UK Government is investing £300 million in the city region deal to make this a reality.

Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Scottish Government has committed £300 million to the Edinburgh and South East City Region Deal and I am delighted to see another project striving forward and helping to cement Edinburgh and South East Scotland’s reputation as the data capital of Europe. The Usher Institute’s collaborative approach to working across the public, private and third sectors is particularly welcome. I look forward to seeing the Institute’s contribution to tackling the challenges facing our health and social care system in the years ahead.”

Professor Aziz Sheikh, Director of the Usher Institute, commented on the wider vision for the Data-Driven Innovation Programme within the Institute: “Our vision is to create a world-leading innovation hub where public, private and third sectors collaborate to enable data-driven advances in the delivery of health and social care. Through these collaborations, the Usher Institute will support a data-driven approach to the prevention, diagnosis and management of conditions, help improve health and social care provision in the city region and enable the development of a world-leading learning system for health and social care that can potentially be scaled across Scotland and the UK.”

The new Usher Institute building, to be based at Edinburgh BioQuarter, is being designed by architects Hassell Studio. It will provide a base for members of the Usher Institute including the Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit, as well as partners and start-up companies working in data-driven innovation in health and social care. It is due to open in 2023.


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