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Innovation in Health

In June 2012 Health And Wealth In Scotland: A Statement Of Intent For Innovation In Health was launched to set direction for the health innovation agenda in Scotland. The Statement is a bridge between the NHSScotland Quality Strategy and the Scottish Life Sciences Strategy:

It laid down two important markers: the growing importance of inventing and adopting innovative solutions for raising the quality of health and healthcare for the people of Scotland; and the priority for the NHS and life sciences companies to work together to produce 'economic gain' as well as 'health gain' for the country. The Statement acknowledged the potential of Scotland to become a world leading centre for innovation in health through partnership working between Government, NHSScotland, industry and the research community.

In March 2013, the Scottish Government launched its Route Map to the 2020 Vision for Health and Social Care which re-emphasised and expanded the vision in the Statement of Intent, stressing the importance of pursuing 'opportunities to work with other public sector and business partners to drive transformational innovation' and 'increase investment in new innovations which both increases quality of care and reduce costs, while simultaneously providing growth in the Scottish economy':

While the Statement of Intent is very firmly focused upon the relationship between the NHS and life sciences companies, the Route Map to the 2020 Vision set out an expanding agenda for Health and Innovation in Scotland. This reflects a greater emphasis being placed upon finding innovative solutions to the main areas of health, care and support where there is a recognised need to find new models and new ways of doing things in order to continue to deliver the highest quality services in the future.

Innovation Processes

Health Innovation Assessment Portal

The Health Innovation Assessment Portal (HIAP) managed by NHS National Procurement, is the first step in a national process that is being developed to provide health innovators with feedback, signposting and onward direction from NHSScotland, including the Scottish Health Technologies Group, and Scottish Government. Innovations submitted via the portal are assessed by a panel of relevant experts, including NHS clinicians where appropriate. Further information and online submission forms can be found on the Health Innovation Assessment Portal website:

Scottish Collaborative Innovation Partnership Process

The Scottish Government has supported the Scottish Collaborative Innovation Partnership Process (SCIPP) since September 2014. It has taken an explicit collaborative approach nationally to developing innovative ideas to reduce reliance on hospital care in line with the 2020 Vision. SCIPP focuses on the health and care system as a whole from the perspective of the individual receiving care and support in 'how it works for you'.

Building on the collaborative process and ideas generated nationally, local partnerships and organisations across Scotland are now being offered the opportunity to undertake a SCIPP local as part of a strategic approach to improving health, care and support locally.

Funding Opportunities

The Office for Life Sciences and UK Trade and Investment have brought together a UK Life Sciences website that links you to the UK Life Sciences landscape, allowing you to access information on nearly 5,000 companies and search for funding opportunities and initiatives:

Innovation Groups, Organisations and Partnerships

Health Innovation Partnerships and Strategic Engagement Group

The Statement of Intent established three bodies:

These have focused on helping companies to bring forward products and ideas that are well developed and to establish if these can deliver real benefits for patients and families through testing in an NHS setting. This direct engagement helps companies to get early answers and makes sure that NHSScotland is not losing out on access to innovative solutions, especially those on its own doorstep.

Innovation Partnership Board

The Innovation Partnership Board, formed in December 2012, represents a unique attempt to make progress on health and innovation on a joint basis, with board members from across the NHS, life sciences industries, Scottish Enterprise, the research community and the Scottish Government.The IPB meet quarterly and provide strategic leadership to health and innovation in Scotland. Please visit the latest Innovation Parttnership Board minutes for information on recent activity:

Innovation Champions

Since 2013, each NHS Board has an Innovation Champion. Innovation Champions serve as internal and external contact points on innovation and as drivers around the innovation agenda. Scottish Government works with the Innovation Champions through quarterly meetings and ongoing engagement.

Innovation Centres

In April 2013 the First Minister launched three innovation centres, including the Digital Health Institute and the Centre for Stratified Medicine – both of which are focused on improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivered in Scotland. In October 2014 the Cabinet Secretary for Finance launched the Data Lab.

The innovation centres stemmed from recognition that raising business innovation and exploiting opportunities to gain commercial value from research are critical for growing the economy and making Scotland more competitive within the UK and internationally. The Innovation Centre programmes are collaborations between universities, businesses and others who will deliver a demand-led, outcome focussed, joined-up approach to create sustained economic growth:

Innovation Fund

The National Health and Social Care Innovation Fund will be used both to support NHS staff to take forward new ideas and to make sure that nationally there is quick and widespread take up of innovations that make a big difference across Scotland. The Golden Jubilee National Hospital will work on behalf of the whole NHS in Scotland to raise funds from a variety of sources, including donations and European grants.

Farr Institute

The Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research comprises four nodes distributed across the UK. The Farr Institute @ Scotland, led from the University of Dundee, is a collaboration between six Scottish Universities and NHS National Services Scotland. The aim is to both improve the health of the Scottish population and place Scotland as a global leader in health informatics research. You can follow the Farr Institute on Twitter:


Scottish Health Innovations Ltd (SHIL) works in partnership with NHSScotland to protect and develop new innovations that come from healthcare staff. By developing these ideas, SHIL creates new products and technologies that will improve patient care and generate income for NHS Scotland:

SHIL services include: Project management; Market Research; Sourcing of funding; Intellectual property protection; Sourcing of development partners; Spinout set up; and Regulatory consultancy.

Chief Scientist Office

The Chief Scientist Office is part of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates. It supports research in the NHS and universities in Scotland and advises on how research contributes to improvements in health and healthcare:

NHS Research Scotland

NHS Research Scotland is a partnership involving Scottish NHS Boards and the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) of the Scottish Government. The overarching aim of NHS Research Scotland is to ensure that NHSScotland provides the best environment to support clinical research. This is achieved through the application of best practice and processes that can support efficient working, as well as providing the solid infrastructure that is need to support all research undertaken in the NHS for patient benefit. CSO provides NHS Research Scotland-funding to the NHS to support this aim:

Scottish Life Sciences Advisory Board (LiSAB)

The Scottish Life Sciences Advisory Board (LiSAB) was formed in 2009 to help drive, develop and deliver Scotland’s life sciences strategy:

LiSAB includes members from industry, universities, research institutions, NHSScotland, financial institutions, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Enterprise network.

Scottish Life Sciences Association

The Scottish Lifesciences Association (SLA), comprising 125 member companies and organisations, is the voice of Scotland’s life sciences industries to investors, NHSScotland, the Scottish and UK Governments, and the wider community. Driven by, and networking with, their members through 11 Special Interest Groups, the Scottish Lifesciences Association helps them grow their businesses, while engaging with the NHS and Government to grow the life sciences sector in Scotland. In addition, the Scottish Lifesciences Association delivers the Health Innovation Partnership on behalf of the Scottish Government: