The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) welcomes today’s announcement by the Prime Minister that science is at the heart of industrial strategy. Translating this inventiveness into economic growth needs more and better collaboration between businesses and universities, particularly if the UK is to step up to the four grand challenges of AI and Data, Healthy Ageing, Mobility and Clean Growth.

We concur with the Government’s view that these new approaches not only stand to revolutionise medical research and approaches to diagnosis, but also create high-value employment in science, building on existing centres of excellence and developing new ones across the country. However, it is vital that the Government does not lose sight of the ‘Human Factor’ in scaling up digital adoption in health and care.

NCUB CEO David Docherty said:

“The successful deployment of AI and data is vital to the UK’s future. But we urgently need to upskill the digital health and care workforce and population or it will fail. We call for a scaled up digital health and care skills campaign to support this welcome initiative.”

NCUB last week published a Task Force report, entitled ‘The Human Factor: Driving Digital Solutions for 21st Century Health and Care’ The task force was led by co-chairs Cancer Research UK chair and former University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, SystemC COO and formerly NHS England Beverley Bryant and Digital Health and Care Institute and adviser to the Prime Minster on medical technologies John Jeans. Amongst its recommendations are the establishment of a national campaign for digital health and care skills, the creation an environment where sharing data is as vital as protecting it, where agility is built in and where key stakeholders work together to both identify, and fund, game-changing approaches.

Great technology solutions need willing users and skilled workforces to scale and drive value.

The full report is available here.


About The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB)

Promoting business-university collaboration for a prosperous and inclusive economy and society

As a membership not-for-profit organisation, the National Centre brings together leaders from across higher education and business to tackle issues of shared interest.

The National Centre for Universities assembled a Task Force of more than 50 experts from business, universities, research councils, consultancies, public and commercial health and social care providers, policy makers and patient groups. This team explored ways in which universities, industry, public and private health and care providers, government, patients and users can successfully partner to deliver the changes necessary for 21st century healthcare. In this, our final report, we focus on the human factors in bringing about transformational change through digital technology.

The report was led by:


  • Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Chairman, Cancer Research UK; Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
  • Beverley Bryant, Chief Operating Officer at System C and Graphnet Care Alliance; Former Director of Digital Transformation, NHS Digital, NHS England
  • John Jeans CBE, Chairman, EM Imaging; Chairman, The Digital Health and Care Institute; Non-Executive Director, ProMetic Pharma SMT Ltd.; Adviser to the Prime Minister, Medical Technologies

Principal Author:

Dr David Docherty OBE, Chief Executive, National Centre for Universities and Business


Rachel Miller, Policy Coordinator and Project Manager, National Centre for Universities and Business

Dr Nashita Patel, Former Project and Research Manager, National Centre for Universities and Business

For further information please contact Will Parsons T: +44 (0)20 7383 8191