New partnership to promote health and wellbeing collaboration

  • Date

    Tue 21 Jan 20

MOU signing

The University of Essex and East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) have officially joined forces in a new partnership to promote greater collaboration in the areas of health and wellbeing.

The partners signed a memorandum of understanding at a special ceremony at the University’s Colchester Campus on Monday. This key partnership for the region will enable and promote greater cooperation between the two partners on research and innovation, enable knowledge exchange and joint research and education initiatives, including staff exchanges and student placements.

The partnership will bring together the academic and clinical expertise of the two institutions to help tackle complex public service challenges, promote evidence-based service provision and preventative solutions to key challenges and the delivery of improved targeted services to the community.

University of Essex Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “At Essex we highly value working with local stakeholders and we believe this partnership with ESNEFT will be instrumental in delivering benefit to our local communities by addressing important challenges in the areas of health and wellbeing.

“A commitment to excellence in research and excellence in education is at the heart of everything we do at Essex and our strengths in social sciences, data analytics and science means we are uniquely placed to work with partners to develop new, innovative approaches and solutions to issues affecting local communities.”

ESNEFT Chair Helen Taylor added: “The memorandum of understanding is an exciting step forward to develop the relationship between the University and our NHS Trust. We strongly share the value that research can bring great benefits to the community, our NHS patients and the local economy.

“At ESNEFT we are privileged to provide 1.8million episodes of care for our patients every year. We want as many of our patients as possible to get the benefit of being involved in research. This collaboration with the University will significantly increase the range and types of research we can be involved in.”

ESNEFT is the organisation which runs Colchester Hospital, Ipswich Hospital and community healthcare services in north Essex and east Suffolk. It oversees the clinical health and wellbeing of more than 750,000 people living in Essex and Suffolk.

This key partnership for the region will enable and promote greater cooperation between the two partners in a range of areas including:

• developing collaborative opportunities in research and innovation, undertaking joint research projects in health and wellbeing, including the use and embedding of advanced technologies and techniques in artificial intelligence and data science in healthcare
• supporting the development of joint research capacity through a new interdisciplinary research group on health including academics from across departments, clinicians and practitioners from ESNEFT
• developing joint project proposals to bid competitively for grants and other funding from national and international funding bodies to undertake world-leading research, data collection and analysis to meet UK and global health challenges
• Supporting curriculum design and development through input from ESNEFT practitioners and professionals in programmes in health, life sciences and computer science and other relevant degrees
• Exploring placement opportunities for students in areas such as healthcare and nursing, but also business management and organisational behaviour and computer science and analytics.

Picture, from left: Professor Maria Fasli, University of Essex Executive Dean (Science and Health); Professor Anthony Forster, University of Essex Vice-Chancellor, Ms Helen Taylor, ESNEFT Chair; and Dr Shane Gordon, ESNEFT Director of Strategy, Research and Innovation.