The AHSN Network announces new Chair and Vice Chair

Dr Séamus O’Neill is to take up the position of Chair of the national AHSN Network, a collaborative of England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), while Piers Ricketts has been announced Vice Chair.

As Chair and Vice Chair from 20 November 2018, Séamus and Piers will play central roles in extending collaboration between England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and our national partners across health and social care, research and industry to spread cutting-edge innovation at pace and scale to improve health outcomes, drive down the cost of care and stimulate economic growth.

Séamus’ new role will operate alongside his current position as Chief Executive Officer of the AHSN for the North East and North Cumbria, a post he has held since it was first established in 2013.

Over the last five years, Séamus has made a significant contribution to the development of the AHSN Network nationally, leading on the Economic Growth Innovation National Network and playing prominent roles in the Metrics, Communications and Medicines Optimisation workstreams.

Having completed his degree and PhD at Queen’s University Belfast, Séamus trained in the NHS as a clinical scientist in the Northern Region Genetics Service. Following six years in service delivery and some postdoctoral work (NEJM, 1999 and J Clin Onc, 2001), Séamus has worked in a variety of managerial and leadership roles at the interface between the health and academic sectors. He has an Executive MBA from Newcastle University.

Piers Ricketts joined Eastern AHSN as Chief Executive Officer in April 2018, and is the national AHSN Network lead for the MedTech sub-sector, identifying and promoting areas of particular growth.

Piers was previously a partner at KPMG, where his leadership roles included running the healthcare management consulting practice and leading major transformation projects in higher education, social housing and the wider public sector. Piers is a chartered accountant and previously spent ten years in KPMG’s Transaction Services practice, supporting private and public sector clients in major commercial deals.

Séamus and Piers take on the roles from Professor Mike Hannay and Professor Gary Ford. Mike Hannay is Managing Director of the East Midlands AHSN, a post he took up in July 2016. He has served as Network Chair from September 2017. Gary Ford has been Chief Executive Officer of Oxford AHSN since 2013, serving as Vice Chair since September 2017.

Séamus O’Neill said: “I am delighted to be taking on this role as Chair of the AHSN Network. I am immensely grateful to my colleagues for entrusting me with the job and I will do my best to help the AHSN Network build on our very solid foundations.”

Piers Ricketts added: “I want to thank the outgoing Chair, Mike Hannay, and Vice Chair, Gary Ford, for their tireless work. Their vision and leadership have been such an important element of the AHSNs being relicensed and ensuring that we are prominently positioned within the health and care innovation landscape.”

For more information, read the AHSN Network’s latest impact report.