The trade body for Life Sciences Scotland has launched an online tool to help start-ups engage directly with NHS health boards.

The Scottish Health Research and Innovation Ecosystem is designed to help life science companies work with NHS Scotland to develop new approaches to patient care.

The digital directory tool aims to help start-ups quickly find contacts within NHS Scotland with a view to promoting collaboration and accelerating health-tech projects.

It has been developed by Life Sciences Scotland (LSS) in partnership with the NHS Research Scotland (NRS), Scottish Enterprise and other collaborators.

LSS said the tool was ‘an opportunity to showcase Scotland’s infrastructure and state of the art facilities as well as clinical and academic expertise and the efficient, supportive and attractive research environment’.

In doing so, the organisation hopes it will encourage life sciences businesses, researchers, healthcare professionals and investors to set up shop in Scotland.

Dr Charles Weller, general manager of NHS Research Scotland’s central management team, said: “NRS simplifies access to Scotland’s world-class research infrastructure, supporting the placement, setup and delivery of clinical research studies and innovative research collaborations from all sectors and therapy areas.

“Research and innovation are vital drivers of improved patient care and economic growth; and this tool complements our existing collaborative efforts with the life sciences community to develop new and improved treatments for patients.”

LSS said connecting Scotland’s clinical and academic expertise with healthcare industry product development was key to increasing the level of health research conducted in the country.

Those who connect through the portal will be able to collaborative from concept development stages, through to the testing and commercialisation of new products in diagnostics, therapeutics and devices that “enhance patient care across Scotland and beyond.”

Julia Brown, senior director of high value manufacturing and health at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Collaboration between industry and NHS Scotland is key to the life sciences sector and Scotland achieving its potential.

“Scottish Enterprise is proud to have supported the creation of this new resource to help companies identify and access NHS and health research organisations to develop collaborative working projects and processes, from concept development through to commercialisation.”