A celebration of Manchester’s past, present and future innovators: Reflections on the Northern Power Futures Festival

Manchester icon Greater Manchester

Posted on the 12th December 2018

By Katie McCall (Digital Communications & Events Coordinator, GM CHC)

Along with colleagues from Manchester’s digital health network (including the Health e-Research centre, Connected Health Cities, and NIHR BioMedical Research Centre) I went to the Northern Power Futures Festival at Manchester Central last month, organised by Northern Power Women whose aim is to accelerate gender diversity across the North of England.

The atmosphere throughout the festival was one of huge excitement and positivity, with lively discussions that brimmed with enthusiasm. Our diverse and inclusive delegation of 10 were delighted to attend.

Throughout the event, there was a strong focus on the unique personality of the North and of Greater Manchester and its citizens, and the role that they have to play in the future of our region. The agenda featured a diverse range of presentations and practical workshops, ranging from inspirational stories from northern leaders, to expert panel discussions with scientists and industry experts. Alongside all of this, there were plenty of opportunities to listen and learn from the experiences of business leaders and tech start-ups operating across the region.

A highlight was the panel discussion with Mayor Andy Burnham and students from local schools. The Mayor spoke of the region’s creativity and ambitious drive, while emphasising the importance of retaining young talent by connecting them with businesses and providing enough opportunities to continually develop their skills. Andy Burnham presented the council’s ambitious policies to improve opportunities for the younger generation, which included a fairer system for the arrangement of work shadowing, improvements to travel and apprenticeships. The Manchester Council Youth Combined Authority will be consulted throughout the planning and implementation for the new initiatives.

“The team from CHC and HeRC were delighted to attend the Northern Power Futures festival as it’s a fantastic opportunity for learning and networking, providing a platform for our region’s innovators and future leaders to meet, inspire and collaborate.”
Dr Claire Smith (Head of Operations, Connected Health Cities Hub)

Another highlight was the ’20 years on: where is science taking us?’ session where a panel of experts, discussed technology’s potential to transform almost every aspect of our lives; including Dr Hakim Yadi from the NHSA, who emphasised the importance of health tech’s interoperability and the potential for technologies to enhance the personalisation of healthcare delivery in the years to come. Throughout the discussion, it was great to see that there was an emphasis on the importance and impact of diversity in the future of science. Dr Maddison Coke (The University of Manchester) gave insight into the work being done to ensure that careers in STEM are inclusive and an accessible option for all aspiring future scientists.

Just days afterwards, we were excited to discover that three members of our team – Dr Amanda Lamb, Dr Claire Smith & Ruth Norris have been nominated in several categories of the prestigious Northern Power Women Awards, celebrating role models and innovators in our region, and hosted by the team behind the Northern Power Futures festival.

The bar was certainly set high for future Northern Power events and I look forward to seeing what next year’s festival will bring.



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