Who we are
The South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN) is one of 15 AHSNs set up by NHS England across the country in 2013.
As the only bodies connecting NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, AHSNs 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.
Our work is funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Office for Life Sciences, and through contributions from our members, as well as income generated through other activities aligned to our core mission and purpose.
In 2018, NHS England and NHS Improvement relicensed AHSNs for a further five years, setting out a clear long-term vision to drive health innovation and stimulate economic growth, meeting the goals of the NHS Long Term Plan and NHS Patient Safety Strategy.
We are an independent company limited by guarantee, governed by a board of directors made up of senior NHS leaders from across our region as well as independent non-executive directors. Based in our award-winning office on the outskirts of Exeter, we work across the counties of Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
You can find out more about what we do here.
About the AHSN Network
The 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) were established by NHS England in 2013 to spread innovation at pace and scale – improving health and generating economic growth.
Each AHSN works across a distinct geography serving a different population in each region. 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.
• Improving patient safety – using our knowledge, expertise and networks to bring together patients, health and care staff and partners to determine priorities and develop and implement solutions.
• 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.
• Collaborating on national programmes – including our unified programmes focused on spreading proven innovations, our Patient Safety Collaboratives and the NHS Innovation Accelerator.
Visit the AHSN Network website to learn more.