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Scottish government minister to outline innovation vision



NHS partner InnoScot Health will be kicking off its 2024 series of interactive webinars with guest speaker MSP Richard Lochhead outlining the vision for Scotland to place itself firmly on the global innovation map.

During InnoScot Health’s January session, the innovation minister will discuss the ambitions that underpin the Scottish Government’s National Innovation Strategy 2023 to 2033.

He will be joined by Carrie Thomson, the Chief Scientist Office’s programme lead for innovation and collaboration, as well as Digital Lifelines Scotland portfolio lead with the Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI).

Thomson will be discussing the innovation landscape at a macro level including initiatives such as Demand Signalling and Scotland’s Innovation Hubs, before focusing on a few specific projects such as the Reducing Drug Deaths Innovation Challenge and the AI Algorithm Dermatology SBRI.

She is interested in the role that digital solutions can play in improving health outcomes, and in better meeting people’s needs across health and care.

The accessible, bitesize ‘lunch & learn’ sessions are hosted on Microsoft Teams, regularly providing a platform for inspiring guest speakers whilst allowing InnoScot Health staff to share their deep knowledge and insights on innovation.

The free to join January webinar is entitled ‘Collectively realising the ambition to make Scotland one of the most innovative small nations in the world’ and will be led by the organisation’s head of innovation Robert Rea and innovation manager Leigh Mair.

The webinar takes place on Wednesday 31st January at 12-12.45pm and you can register here

Lochhead’s contribution will be pre-recorded, though questions are still welcome on the themes he raises.

Rea said: “This webinar will unite two fantastic guest speakers who are both passionately focused on realising better patient outcomes through collaborative innovation on a national scale.

“As innovation minister, Richard will talk about Scotland’s National Innovation Strategy including ambitious plans to accelerate the country’s performance to a world-class level by tapping into its modern expertise in health and life sciences, data and digital technologies, and more.

Carrie leads the Chief Scientist Office Reducing Drug Deaths Innovation programme as well as Digital Lifelines Scotland. Both programmes are focused on leveraging digital solutions to reduce the risk of death and harm for people who use drugs.

“She spoke well on that topic at Scotland’s Health Research and Innovation Conference, drawing on her experience from over 10 years at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the Office for Digital Health, and for us she will also touch further on initiatives such as Demand Signalling and Scotland’s Innovation Hubs. 

“We look forward to learning more at our webinar while identifying and discussing the synergies in Richard and Carrie’s presentations. We are delighted that they can both join us.”

Mair added: “As innovation manager for the north of Scotland, I’m very pleased to welcome Mr Lochhead, MSP for Moray since 2006.

“The National Innovation Strategy recognises Scotland’s universities as important pillars of the country’s economic infrastructure and sees the knowledge-based economy of the future developing as a partnership between academics, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs.

“Mr Lochhead rightly believes that Scotland has incredible strengths in innovation and a history of entrepreneurial, singular-thinking success. The strategy is about how the country now builds on that proud history we have inherited and navigates its way to fresh economic success.

“Two of the four innovation priority areas identified include health and life sciences; and data and digital technologies, which is where we see Carrie offering an expert perspective.

“Digital solutions are undoubtedly a vital area with endless innovation possibilities for improving the care and wellbeing of Scotland’s population by making best use of technologies that are designed around the end user, so we look forward to learning more.” 

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