Business 10.12.21

Work to start on National Centre for Child Health Technology in 2022

Work will start next year on a world-beating centre to improve child health at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park after partners in the city agreed to collaborate to secure the remaining capital funding needed.

Sheffield City Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust which will allow development to start on the ground-breaking National Centre for Child Health Technology (NCCHT).

The MOU commits the partners to work together on a strategy which aims to maximise grant and funding options whilst reducing capital costs and financial risk. The agreement comes on the back of £8.8m of Levelling Up funding for the NCCHT announced in the Autumn Budget.

Building work at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is expected to get underway next year and discussions are already progressing around several major private and public sector investment and research partnerships.

Ruth Brown, Chief Executive at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to receive this level of support, which will allow us to start work on the National Centre for Child Health Technology next year. We’re working with other partners to finalise the remaining funding, but the Budget announcement and MOU with Sheffield City Council is a huge step towards our target.

“We know this Centre will bring enormous benefit to healthcare of children across the UK but also internationally. By bringing together clinicians, academics and industry to work with children and their families, we have a fantastic opportunity to lead this exciting work from Sheffield and provide healthier futures for children and young people across the world.”

The NCCHT will be the first of its kind in the world, positioning the UK as a global leader in technology for paediatrics and child health.

It will develop technologies to address key national strategic priorities in child health including childhood obesity, child and adolescent mental health, cancer, disabilities, long term conditions and prevention.

Legacy Park Ltd Chair Richard Caborn said: “The MOU comes on top of the Levelling Up funding and provides the foundations for the financial structures being put in place to ensure that we can start building the largest, most advanced child health technology centre in the world on Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park in 2022.”

The £26m flagship development will bring together and accelerate the development and commercialisation of innovative child health technologies which will improve health outcomes for generations to come.

Prof. Paul Dimitri, Professor of Child Health and Director of Research and Innovation at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Investing in the health and healthcare of children and young people makes sense – our future in fact depends on it. Children and young people make up 25% of our population, and securing their future health and healthcare is a major priority.

“The NCCHT will create over 100 high value jobs, and its co-location with the Oasis Academy and University Technical College will provide research and employment opportunities in the future.

“The onsite ecosystem at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park will bring together industry, academia, clinicians, patients and their families to create high-value products at pace and create long-term sustainable change which will reduce the burden of ill health for decades to come.

“Overall, we predict that the NCCHT alone will generate £30m in research funding, attract £200m in private sector investment as well as generating annual savings of £120m for the NHS.”

Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park was set up after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to deliver whole population improvements in health and wellbeing. It is the only legacy park outside an Olympic host city anywhere in the world.

Bringing together expertise from academia, elite sport, the NHS, and public and private sector organisations, the Park is creating a cluster of life sciences assets including research centres, business incubators, educational facilities and laboratories for collaborative research and innovation in health and wellbeing.

Councillor Terry Fox, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “This is yet another exciting development for Sheffield and Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, which is clearly recognised as a world-leading centre for health and wellbeing. The strength of our partners and our commitment to work together is reflected in the MOU agreement and I’m thrilled to see the NCCHT progressing.

“Sheffield is renowned for innovation and technological advancement and being home to a world first in child health technology will see us improving lives on a global scale now and for future generations. We cannot underestimate the importance of looking after our children’s health – the impact this has throughout adult life and the long-term savings for our healthcare services. On top of that, this development also creates significant investment opportunities for the city.”