New initiative to boost region’s thriving life sciences sector

  • 10th July 2024

Bristol Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre is part of a new initiative which launches today, to increase the visibility of the South West’s growing life sciences ecosystem.

South West Life Sciences brings together eight partner organisations with expertise across discovery, development, investment and innovation in the life sciences: Bristol Health Partners, Bristol Trials Centre, GW4, Health Innovation West of England, Invest Bristol & Bath (part of the West of England Combined Authority), Science Creates, South West and Wales Advanced Therapies Network and the University of Bristol.

It has been set up and is led by the University of Bristol’s Translational Research Hub, who will now work to broaden the geographical scope covered by engaging with organisations in the wider region.

The South West is a region with huge potential for growth and investment. It has the third fastest growing life sciences sector in UK, with a value of more than £8 billion, employing more than 20,000 people in the sector and is home to some of the UK’s most exciting advances in life sciences – from accelerating life-saving gene therapy research to launching the UK’s most powerful supercomputer. Unlike other regions of the UK, to date the South West has lacked a regional advocacy body and co-ordinated promotion of its life sciences sector. These stories of innovation and collaboration are brought to life on South West Life Sciences’ new website

The initiative aims to support life sciences in the South West by fostering a joined up local life sciences innovation ecosystem and acting as catalyst for its growth through making connections. It will advocate for its partners and the South West’s life sciences so that their voices are heard outside the region by government, industry, investors and international organisations. It is a first step towards establishing an advocacy organisation for the South West, which will increase the visibility of the region’s life sciences ecosystem.

South West Life Sciences has been funded by an existing Wellcome Translational Partnership Award to the University of Bristol.

Professor Jeremy Tavaré, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at the University of Bristol, says:

“Bristol is committed to building research partnerships that help make a positive impact by tackling global health challenges. It is exciting to see the launch of South West Life Sciences that will help drive new collaborations, increased investment and recognition of the excellent science taking place in our region, all with the shared aim of developing innovative treatments for diseases and advancing life sciences for a healthier future.”

Dr Sarah George, Head of the Translational Research Hub at the University of Bristol, says:

“We’re excited to have brought South West Life Sciences to life with our partners and we’re looking forward to working with more organisations in the future. We want to help them, and the region, benefit from the initiative, for example through new collaborations, increased investment and recognition of the excellent science taking place in our region.

“In the long term, we hope to develop South West Life Sciences into an independent organisation providing expanded services and support for its partners.”

Professor David Wynick, Director of Bristol Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre, adds:

“I’m delighted that Bristol Health Partners is part of this new initiative to showcase the strengths in our region. Our Academic Health Science Centre forms part of a rich ecosystem of research and innovation infrastructure. Our close relationship with the local health and care system, the centrality of the public in our work and our emphasis on equity will help place the South West competitively to attract investment and collaborations that serve the needs and ambitions of our urban, rural and coastal communities.”

To find out more about South West Life Sciences contact [email protected]