The University of Manchester

Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology and Innovation officially opens flagship building

Today (Thursday 16 November) saw the official opening the flagship building of the multimillion-pound research and innovation institute that builds on Manchester’s academic strengths in AI, digital health and advanced materials to support the research and development of innovative technology-based health and care solutions.

The Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology and Innovation was launched in 2021 and is part of an ambitious plan set out in the Greater Manchester (GM) Local Industrial Strategy to boost the city-region’s provision and capabilities.

Speaking at the event, President and Vice-Chancellor Nancy Rothwell said: “The establishment of this Institute’s flagship building is emblematic of our commitment to harness the power of technology and innovation to enhance the well-being of individuals and communities. It embodies our dedication to advancing healthcare solutions, fostering breakthroughs in technological research, and helping improve the overall quality of life for people across the spectrum of health and care needs.”

The building is at the centre of the University’s campus on the Oxford Road Corridor. This location and partnership will provide support for business growth by facilitating better collaboration between the NHS, researchers, and industry.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, was in attendance to celebrate the Institute’s opening. He said: “The Christabel Pankhurst Institute supports world-leading and truly unique research and innovation, and it deserves an equally remarkable home. This fantastic new building is a welcome addition to the Oxford Road Corridor and will support the growth of the Institute for years to come, further cementing Greater Manchester’s reputation as a hub for health innovation.”

This event also marked the launch of the Pankhurst Institute’s gallery, which is positioned on the ground floor of the building. The gallery provides a brief history of history of Dover Street and the surrounding area (with notable residents including the Pankhurst family, Friedrich Engels and writer Elizabeth Gaskell); as well as the journey of the building design and build including a design with sustainability and collaboration at its heart.

Also attending the event was Professor Helen Pankhurst CBE: Women’s rights activist, scholar, writer and CARE International’s senior advisor working in the UK and Ethiopia. Helen, the Great-granddaughter of Emmeline, granddaughter of Sylvia, and great-niece of Christabel Pankhurst, said: “I was honoured to officially unveil the plaque commemorating my great-aunt Christabel Pankhurst’s life and works, for whom the institute is named. The link between Manchester and the Pankhurst family is a strong one and it’s great to see it continue over time.”

Professor Alejandro Frangi FREng, Director of the Pankhurst Institute, said: “Our vision for the Christabel Pankhurst Institute is to make Greater Manchester one of the world’s most vibrant, well-connected, innovation-driven health tech ecosystems, ensuring that the many excellent capabilities in our university and other regional actors deliver in Greater Manchester’s citizens, their health, wellbeing, and economy, more they can achieve working in silos.”

“The University of Manchester is uniquely positioned to provide thought leadership given its strengths in healthcare technology research, an exceptional academic and students talent pool, and a thriving local ecosystem of partnerships. Our city and university have a rich history of pioneering breakthroughs in healthcare, and the Christabel Pankhurst Building will be a new beacon in this story of progress and innovation.”

The institute will play a critical role in pulling innovations through from basic research to market-ready products and services, which can then be accelerated into clinical use through Greater Manchester’s integrated health and care system and established innovation pathways. To achieve this it will build on, integrate and enhance the already extensive support provided by its partners.

Pankhurst Institute founding partners are The University of Manchester, Bruntwood SciTech, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), Health Innovation Manchester, and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

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