Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 14.48.32The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) has strengthened its offer to healthcare organisations in the region with the appointment of a Deputy Director of Innovation and Wealth Creation.

Carol Nicholson brings with her a wealth of experience having worked for 30 years within NHS settings across the UK. The last 12 of these were in commissioning roles in primary care trusts and clinical commissioning groups in the North East, largely focussing on planning, performance and provider management.

After rising through the ranks within the NHS, Carol was keen to apply her wide ranging skills and knowledge to a new challenge.

As Deputy Director of Innovation and Wealth Creation, Carol will be helping NHS organisations and SMEs to navigate this complex landscape through the implementation of the AHSN’s Innovation Pathway initiative.

The Innovation Pathway is delivered by the AHSN NENC and its partner organisations, which include NHS Innovations North, who are hosted by RTC North Limited; the NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria; The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust; and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 

She said: “I’m very much looking forward to supporting NHS organisations and SMEs in the region in identifying, developing and adopting innovations into practice. My background is very much around working with organisations to achieve results and demonstrate impact which will prove valuable within my new role with the AHSN.

“The North East and North Cumbria is a vibrant and exciting place with an NHS workforce that provides a rich source of knowledge and experience. It’s my role to build upon that by linking up with industry to develop innovations to help increase jobs and also attract businesses to the region.

“After 30 years working within the NHS, I was ready to tackle something different and there’s such an excitement and positivity about what can be achieved in the region. We’re a small team but one that has high ambitions for the NHS and SME community.”

Carol will initially focus on engaging with clinical commissioning groups to ensure they receive maximum benefit from the innovations support available from the AHSN, as well as supporting SMEs in navigating the complex NHS landscape.

Seamus O’Neill, AHSN NENC Chief Executive Officer, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Carol to the team. Her varied experience within the NHS for the last three decades will prove invaluable to the AHSN’s ambitions to identify and nurture healthcare innovations that will ultimately improve the health and wealth of the North East and North Cumbria region.”

To find out more about The Innovation Pathway, please visit