Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

We need talented people to want to stay and work here

Published 4th January 2018 at 12:29pm

In the latest of our series of articles from LEP Board members, we talked to Richard Stubbs.

Richard is the Chief Executive of the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), and decided to join the LEP Board for personal reasons:

“I’m a local. I was raised in a pit village near Rotherham with three generations of miners preceding me in my family. I grew up thinking about jobs and opportunities in the area, and even as a teenager I clearly remember how struck I was by the seemingly narrow set of options. I was the first person in my family to go straight into university after leaving school, and it was only there that I started to understand the importance of where and how you grew up in terms of the advantages to which you were exposed.

While we have people with enormous potential here, I have also seen a lack of ambition and confidence, with few of the advantages and opportunities that I have witnessed elsewhere.

“I want to do something about that – and joining the LEP Board is part of that. I think we don’t know enough about what we have to offer and feel proud about as a region. We need talented people to want to stay and work here.”

One of the key features Richard would like to see better known is advanced manufacturing, which he believes is the defining strength of the region, and he sees advanced manufacturing as integral to health and innovation in healthcare.

“The NHS needs innovation and needs to transform into a wellbeing system, not an illness service. I’m very excited about the prospect of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre which is being built on the region’s Olympic Legacy Park. This is fantastic for medical innovation – the NHS is due a revolution and digital, prevention and wellbeing technologies have to play a major role if we are to succeed.

“I work for the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN). There are 15 AHSNs across the UK, we work to deliver a step change in the way the NHS finds and uses new technologies. We are here to drive closer partnerships between the health service, universities, and innovative companies.

“On average it has taken 17 years for a new idea or process to be universally adopted across the whole health service and that just isn’t good enough in this day and age.

“There are huge areas of excellence and innovation in the NHS but spreading the messages takes ages. If we adopted best practice everywhere a lot of our funding problems would be solved.

“In my job I come across brilliant innovation every day, from a company using technology to alert families if an elderly person living on their own hasn’t performed a routine task, like switching on a kettle, in the last four hours, to a sleep mask that emits LED lights for the prevention and treatment of diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of preventable blindness.  These are low cost, simple, brilliant ideas that we need to get everywhere.

“Another area I am passionate about is persuading people to take more responsibility for their own wellbeing. We are all living longer and we need to live more healthily. We have a responsibility to keep the NHS sustainable by prioritising our own health. I’m so proud that this region leads the way with successful projects such as Sheffield’s Outdoors City in persuading people to get active – but, like so many brilliant things from our region, we need to shout more about it!”


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