AHSNs: Spreading innovation, improving health and generating economic growth
  • There are 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England, established by NHS England in 2013 to spread innovation at pace and scale - improving health and generating economic growth
  • As the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, we are catalysts that create the right conditions to facilitate change across whole health and social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients
  • This means we are uniquely placed to identify and spread health innovation at pace and scale; driving the adoption and spread of innovative ideas and technologies across large populations
  • Although small organisations – which ensures we remain flexible and responsive to emerging opportunities and challenges – we lead large regional networks
  • Hence our impact rests in our ability to bring people, resources and organisations together quickly, delivering benefits that could not be achieved alone

Ours is not a short-term challenge but as our pdfAHSN Network impact report demonstrates we are already making a difference for patients and the public, for innovators, for clinicians and for the healthcare system.

Please follow the links below to find out more about how ASHNs are supporting system-wide health transformation:
  • Click here to see our map of where the other AHSNs are located and what areas we cover
Each AHSN works within its own area to develop projects, programmes and initiatives that reflect the diversity of our local populations and healthcare challenges. However, we all share the following priorities:
  • Promoting economic growth: fostering opportunities for industry to work effectively with the NHS
  • Diffusing innovation: creating the right environment, and supporting collaboration across boundaries, in order to adopt and spread innovation at pace and scale. AHSNs have developed the national pdfInnovation Pathway framework. This pathway clarifies our offer to all potential industry and enterprise partners.
  • Improving patient safety: using our knowledge, expertise and networks to bring together patients, healthcare staff and partners to determine priorities and develop and implement solutions
  • Optimising medicine use: ensuring that medication is used to its maximum benefit – improving safety and making efficient use of NHS resources
  • Improving quality and reducing variation: by spreading best practice we increase productivity and reduce variation, thereby improving patient outcomes
  • Putting research into practice: our strong links with academia mean we are uniquely placed to support the translation of research into clinical practice
We have developed a pdfpriorities document which highlights where we work together and particular areas that a few AHSNs focus on.              

EMAHSN’s vision reflects the NHS constitution: “The transformation of patient access, experiences and outcomes at the earliest opportunity through innovation and enterprise working at the limits of science, bringing the highest level of human knowledge and skill to save lives and improve health.”


We have developed a simple statement of purpose: ‘Igniting innovation: bringing together the NHS, universities, industry and social care to transform the health of our 4.5m East Midlands residents and stimulate wealth creation’.

Our values underpin this commitment. We will:
  • Place the quality and safety of patient care above all other aims; engaging, empowering and hearing them, with particular emphasis on our diverse populations.
  • Work collaboratively to facilitate vibrant relationships across sectors, including long term effective relationships with industry.
  • Agree our key priority areas with stakeholders, and then channel resources in an inclusive, equitable and transparent way.
  • Develop a reputation for delivery, impact and responsiveness, locally, regionally and nationally, evidenced through new and flexible offers.
  • Model our core values through our leadership as a collaborative EMAHSN team, and as individuals within it.
We have four core objectives set by NHS England:
  1. Promote health equality and best practice.
  2. Speed up the adoption of innovation into practice to improve clinical outcomes.
  3. Build a culture of partnership and collaboration.
  4. Create wealth through co-development, testing, evaluation and early adoption and spread of new products and services.
We have agreed definitions for deliverables and impacts:

Deliverable - a quantitative measurement of a tangible activity or product directly attributable to an
EMAHSN activity.

Impact - changes in practice, service or policy that make a distinct and material contribution
that would not have occurred, or would have been significantly reduced without the
contribution of EMAHSN.

Impact dimensions - an impact might be an effect or change to the activity, attitude, awareness,
behaviour, capacity, opportunity, performance, policy, practice or understanding of an audience,
beneficiary, community, constituency, organisation or individual. We have defined impact dimensions
which we measure our projects and programmes against:
  • Benefited patient experience or outcome
  • Led to documented changes in organisational / management practice or service delivery structures
  • Influenced or changed commissioning
  • Led to a reduction in harm, risk, or other negative effect
  • Led to impacts on public / other audience awareness, attitudes, understanding or behaviour
  • Reduced costs and / or improved efficiency of providing a service or intervention
  • Change benefited the economy, society, culture, public policy or service, health, the environment or quality of life
  • Assisted the adoption and spread of innovation or research translation into practice
  • Increased the turnover, profitability or employment of a UK based commercial company or UK subsidiary of an international compan
All of our programmes and projects will have the opportunity of support of health economics and health analytics expertise to identify robust deliverables and impacts early in their planning phase to ensure they are measurable. All of our programmes are shaped in partnership with people who use services.