Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin and Leeds City Councillor, Helen Hayden visited Leeds Teaching Hospitals’ Old Medical School this week to give their support to the flagship project of the £180million West Yorkshire Healthtech and Digital Technology zone.

The pair met with the Trust’s Chair Dame Linda Pollard and Chief Executive, Professor Phil Wood, to see first-hand the vision for transforming the approx. 7,000 sq. m, Old Medical School building with its long history of medical innovation, into a healthtech innovation hub as the first phase of the Innovation Village.

The new Healthtech Innovation Hub is the exciting first phase of the Trust’s 1 million sq. ft Leeds Innovation Village on the site of Leeds General Infirmary, the catalyst of which is the construction of Leeds Trust’s new state of the art digital hospital on the same site.

The Innovation Village is a transformational health and life science-led development in Leeds City Centre, delivering 4,000 new jobs and up to £13bn economic boost for the region. A pivotal part of the city’s Innovation Arc, it will enable innovation that creates a healthier, greener and inclusive future for Leeds, the region and across the globe.

The Trust is currently progressing a restricted marketing process to select a developer for the Old Medical School, who will be appointed in May 2024. Additional capital and resource funding to support the refurbishment of the Old Medical School and provide business support programmes is expected to be made in April 2024 by the West Yorkshire Healthtech and Digital Technology zone. This investment will leverage significant private match funding to deliver and activate a healthtech innovation hub for West Yorkshire.

Dame Linda Pollard, Chair of the Leeds Innovation Partnership said: “I am delighted that the Old Medical School has been chosen to be the flagship project for the West Yorkshire Healthtech and Digital Technology zone and it is great to see our vision for a leading Healthtech Innovation hub get this boost.

“The Healthtech Innovation Hub will uniquely co-locate clinicians, entrepreneurs, and academics for the first time and provide space for scale ups and start-ups. Running alongside the Trust’s new state of the art hospitals of the future, this infrastructure for the city really will be a hotbed of innovative thinking, collaboration and development bringing life-changing benefits for patients being treated in Leeds and impressive economic benefits for the city and wider region.”

Professor Phil Wood, Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust said: “The support for the future transformation of the Old Medical School represents a huge step forward for Leeds to develop a world class Healthtech and Digital Technology space that can both catalyse our fight to combat patient inequalities whilst helping us to build on the existing national and international health tech collaboration with our clinicians that we are already seeing at our Innovation Pop Up and across our Trust.”

Dame Linda explained that sitting alongside the brand-new state of the art hospitals future build, what is being developed is a genuinely exciting development that will have multiple benefits for the city and will ensure the Pop Up will eventually pop down and be replaced with a larger Innovation Village at the heart of the Arc.”

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said: “For the UK economy to prosper it needs West Yorkshire to succeed, and devolution is helping us to empower our healthtech and digital sectors, transforming the lives of patients world-wide.

This multi-million-pound investment at Leeds General Infirmary will help us build a nationally significant home of innovation, bringing together our universities, businesses and hospitals to drive the development of lifechanging technologies and deliver thousands of new, skilled jobs. Through our investment zone, we’re changing our region for the long-term, working with partners and the government to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that works for all”.

Commenting at the visit councillor Helen Hayden, Executive Member for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure said: “The Old Medical School reflects our city’s history of innovation, so we are delighted to see this project receive funding through the West Yorkshire Investment Zone so it can be re-purposed for this use.

“Not only does it deliver on our ambitions of the city’s Innovation Arc by supporting an important heritage site to come forward and helping deliver jobs and homes in the city centre, but it also underlines our innovation vision which is a key pillar of our inclusive growth strategy.

“In addition, it demonstrates our ability to delivery in partnership, working together alongside the city’s universities and teaching hospital.”

The commitment shown by regional and city leaders this week for West Yorkshire Investment Zone’s flagship project, follows the release on Wednesday 6th March of A vision for Leeds: a decade of city centre growth and wider prosperity.

Published jointly with Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the document outlines proposals for a decade of growth and prosperity in Leeds, including:

  • Plans for transformational regeneration across 6 key city centre neighbourhoods; Mabgate, Eastside & Hunslet Riverside, South Bank, Holbeck, West End Riverside and the Innovation Arc which is at the heart of the region's flagship new healthtech innovation hub
  • A new Leeds Transformational Regeneration Partnership, bringing together national, regional and local government to deliver the Leeds vision and unlock the delivery of up to 20,000 new homes.
  • How investment in transport infrastructure will revolutionise connectivity in Leeds and across West Yorkshire.
  • The importance of cultural anchor institutions for regeneration and growth in Leeds, including the British Library North and National Poetry Centre.