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Uniting against Covid-19

The University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust have joined with NHS and industry partners to launch a new Wessex Academic Health Sciences Centre.

Under the direction of Professor Diana Eccles, the University’s Dean of Medicine and Professor of Cancer Genetics, the Centre aims to coordinate actions and channel resources to accelerate and deliver research-based innovations from all disciplines to improve health and social care. It will be the ‘switchgear’ for links with industry, SMEs and with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) across Hampshire, Dorset and South Wiltshire.

To achieve its aims, the Centre will focus on four key activities:

Communication: every member of the Centre’s clinical and research communities will have something to offer in tackling COVID-19 and its consequences so will keep them, and all AHSC partners, informed of existing activities, opportunities, progress, achievements and outcomes.

Collation: the Centre will build and maintain a picture of all COVID-19 research and related activity, to identify links and opportunities. Initially using the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton as the nucleus for this, and continuing to work, over time, work with the region to build the full-scale picture.

Co-ordination: responding to an urgent need to prioritise the use of staff expertise and skills, physical resources and Research & Development infrastructure. To achieve this, the AHSC will co-ordinate, triage and formally review research activities as on behalf of the University, NHS and NIHR infrastructure stakeholders.

Clearing: The Centre will also be the portal for volunteering of time to meet research needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The AHSC will also handle requests for support from the clinical front line, managing against capabilities.

The Wessex Academic Health Science Network is based at Southampton Science Park. The region’s life sciences industry comprises 250 companies and employs 9,000 people.

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