Former MP and health sector expert appointed to lead new Health Tech Cluster by GBSLEP

David Kidney. Picture by Simon Hadley.

Health sector expert and former MP, David Kidney has been appointed by Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) to head up the development of a new West Midlands Health Tech Cluster.

Currently the Chief Executive of the UK Public Health Register, David has been appointed to lead the development of a Health Technologies Cluster Organisation (HTCO), which will support the creation of the brand new cluster.

His responsibilities will include establishing the requirements of the nascent West Midlands Health Technologies Cluster, engaging with life science and associated business bases to raise awareness of the plans for the Cluster and securing commitment from prospective members and stakeholders.

David will also be leading the creation of a detailed business plan and will be responsible for securing key stakeholders’ agreement and financial commitment to the project.

GBSLEP agreed to support a Life Sciences Cluster in the West Midlands in December 2019, and the initial set up phase of the HTCO is being funded by GBSLEP, the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) and a private sector partner.

Alongside UK Public Health Register, David was also Head of Policy at the Chartered Institution of Environmental Health (CIEH) and prior to that was MP for Stafford for 13 years, during which time he acted as a Minister within the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

David said: “This is an exciting opportunity to enhance and bring together, with purpose, all of the strengths of the West Midlands health and technology sectors to create a Cluster which can have a significant positive impact on the regional economy, inward investment and our skills base.

“To maximise the potential of this Cluster, we will need to enable and encourage collaboration across business, public and academic organisations, and we’re lucky that we have leading organisations of each type on our doorstep.

“Despite the difficulties the Covid-19 pandemic is throwing at us, I’m looking forward to working with stakeholders to make this Cluster a reality, harnessing our resources and strengthening the West Midlands offer to the benefit of the region.”

The new cluster will further strengthen Greater Birmingham and Solihull’s Life Sciences and Healthcare sector, which already boasts a number of leading businesses and facilities of national and international significance.

The region is already home to the largest national Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit, one of six national Health Data Research UK sites, one of four Midlands & Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres, the West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre and Aston Brain Centre.

Tim Pile, Chair of GBSLEP, said: “The life sciences and healthcare sector is hugely important to the GBSLEP region, and makes a significant contribution to our local economy. We are thrilled to have David on board to bring his expertise and leadership to a project which will bring huge benefits to the region.

“The new cluster will encourage further collaboration between private and public sector businesses and our academic organisations. This will aid further research and help to cement the region as a global centre of excellence in medical technologies and healthcare innovation.

“Current circumstances are having a huge impact on us all, and collaboration across sectors is more essential than ever. We’re looking forward to seeing plans for the cluster continue to evolve in this set-up phase and look forward to working closely with David to bring this cluster to fruition.”