NortHFutures is a EPSRC-funded hub that aims to create a pioneering healthcare technology (health-tech) research and innovation ecosystem. 

The Hub combines the complementary strengths and resources of over 50 partners: six universities – Northumbria, Newcastle, Cumbria, Durham, Sunderland, and Teesside; seven NHS Trusts; regional, national and global industry partners; health and care providers; local authorities; innovation accelerators; plus voluntary, community, and social enterprise sector (VCSE) organisations, advocacy groups and citizens.  

Through an integrated, regional approach uniting this consortium for the first time, the aspiration is for NortHFutures to establish research leadership in Digital Health. 

This three-year programme aims to address unmet health needs in the NENC region.

Research Themes 

We aim to address unmet regional health and care needs and inequalities. In the pilot phase, scoping research collaborations involving partners working across sectors will be mobilised around the following themes: 

• Promoting Health and Nutrition for Children and Young People; 

• Developing Digital Surgical Pathways; 

• Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing; 

• Living and Ageing Well with Multiple Long-term Conditions. 

“Our region has a strong history and legacy of innovation, transformation and collaboration. Many of our future aims and aspirations will be enabled with digital data and technology, allowing our region not just to do the same things better, but to do better things." 

— Professor Graham Evans, Executive Chief Digital and Information Officer/SIRO, at NHS NENC ICB

Across the North East and North Cumbria

The NortHFutures consortium has a shared agenda to address unmet health needs, inequalities, and digital exclusion in the North East and North Cumbria (NENC) region where there is proportionately high deprivation, child poverty, mental health challenges and a high percentage of people in the population living with multiple long-term conditions.


NortHFutures Co-Directors are Prof. Abigail Durrant at Open Lab, Newcastle University, and Prof. Naeem Soomro, Consultant Urologist at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The directors are supported by a wider leadership team with representation from across the partnership and hub consortium.

For more information on NortHFutures you can download our two page PDF here.

Overview of NortHFutures


Cross-Sector Research Opportunities →

We fund research opportunities in Digital Health, facilitating collaborations across sectors, including health care providers, universities (higher education), the voluntary sector, and industry.

Digital & Data Skills →

We work to facilitate inclusive digital skills training across the region, and utilise innovative data-rich research in healthcare.

Digital Brokerage →

We will be exploring the design and development of a number of digital tools and platforms to support the connection of key stakeholders within, across and beyond the NENC region.

Inclusion, Involvement & Responsible Practices →

The Hub Governance team is led by Hub directors Abigail Durrant and Naeem Soomro, and includes representatives from our partnership, across sectors, that offer strategic expertise and insight to ensure we strive for best practice in all of our hub work.

Research With Data →

We contribute to the design and testing of new data tools that will enable the safe, secure and ethical sharing of health records and associated data.



Cumbria University Durham University Newcastle University Northumbria University Sunderland University Teesside University

NHS Partners

Seven regional National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trusts:

  • County Durham and Darlington
  • Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear
  • The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals
  • Northumbria Healthcare
  • North Tees and Hartlepool
  • South Tyneside and Sunderland
  • South Tees Hospitals


adass apoQlar AWS Cambridge Future Tech collaborative Newcastle conception x Cpi CYZ Department of Health and social care Digital catapult fuse HDRUK Health innovation NECN Healthworks IBM Innovation supernetwork invest newcastle jumping rivers Life science Microsoft motivait NENC Health and Care Partnership Newcastle City council Newcastle health innovation partners NHS business service authority NHS health education nhsa NICA NICR NIDA North of Tyne Northern Accelerator Northstar ventures Open Data inst ReCoCo Red hat Siemens Stratasys Tees valley TSA TVRA VONNE Ways to wellness Youth focus