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Clinical Research Networks combine to host Great North Research Conference

Over 450 delegates attended the first ever Great North Research Conference for the Life Sciences and Med Tech industries. 

The two-day conference took place on 21 and 22 November 2023 and was hosted by the four northern NIHR Local Clinical Research Networks (LCRNs), covering the North East and North Cumbria, Greater Manchester, North West Coast and Yorkshire and Humber regions.

It was held inside the Concorde Conference Centre, near Manchester Airport, beneath the iconic Concorde G-BOAC aircraft which attendees had the opportunity to sit inside. 

The major event was designed to highlight the high-quality life sciences and medical technology research already happening in the north and to demonstrate why external partners should consider collaborating with the NIHR's northern infrastructure to deliver their future pipeline research. 

In a unique feature, all delegates were invited to take part in studies in the conference's Be Part of Research Zone, which formed part of a large exhibition space comprising NIHR organisations, partners and sponsors. Over 70 people took part in studies, while more took the opportunity to sign-up to NIHR registries to hear about upcoming participation opportunities. 

On day-one, the conference was addressed by keynote speaker Lord James O'Shaughnessy, Senior Partner at Newmarket Strategy, who led the government-commissioned UK review of commercial clinical trials last year. His speech was made in the week the government issued a full response to his review and the NIHR committed to drive forward new plans to accelerate transformation across clinical research delivery

Above, a video interview with Lord O'Shaughnessy produced by the conference headline sponsor, EMS Healthcare. 

Lord O'Shaughnessy said: "It was such a pleasure to travel to Manchester for the NIHR conference. There is so much great practice in the north - the outstanding growth in commercial trials in Greater Manchester, the focus on digital innovation in Yorkshire, the primary care research strengths in the North West Coast, and the excellence in Med Tech in the North East, to name a few. There was lots of inspiration for the whole country."

In addition to other main stage presentations by representatives of AstraZeneca, Validae Health, the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, and the Northern Health Science Alliance, both afternoons were filled with more intimate sessions spread across four separate breakout zones. Each morning and afternoon ended with panel discussions featuring speakers from the main stage and breakout sessions.

NIHR would like to thank everyone who supported the Great North Research Conference, in particular the event sponsors EMS Healthcare, AscensionQ, Pfizer, uMed, the International Accredditing Organization for Clinical Research (IAOCR), the Global Quality Standard for Clinical Research Sites (GCSA), Panthera and Synexus. 

Slideshows and photos

The presentation slides and photographs from both days of the conference, as well as some additional information from EMS Healthcare, are now available on the event website.