Farewell from Claire Bloomfield

September 9, 2021


Final words from our departing CEO, Claire Bloomfield

As I leave NCIMI today, I am reflecting on all the hard work, dedication and collaboration that has happened over the last 3 years. Back in 2018, the idea for NCIMI was first developed, when Fergus rolled up his sleeves and decided we should come together to pitch to Innovate UK.

Expertise and enthusiasm were rapidly mobilized across what are now many strong NCIMI partners- from Banjo and Mike Brady helping craft the messaging for the pitch for funding, through the many hours NHS partners spent navigating the challenges of the Innovate UK portal to submit their contributions, and the rapid commitment all our industry partners made to contribute both financially and with time to make NCIMI possible.

Supporting the development of our proposal was a whirlwind, but I believe our success in being made a Centre of Excellence represents both the individual breadth and depth of expertise of our partners and also the real sense that NCIMI was going to be greater than the sum of its parts.

The route from paper vision to delivery has not been without its challenges, and I will be forever grateful that you all put faith in me to lead NCIMI through those early days of storming and norming. We have had many successes and not a few setbacks, but I hope all partners are proud of what has been achieved in the last 2 and a half years.

As NCIMI and its partners have grown and evolved since the original vision, so has the national and international landscape in which it operates. As my favourite character from my favourite show, President Bartlet in the West Wing, would say- “What’s Next?”, always his cue that he was ready to move on to the next challenge.

For NCIMI I ask you all to reflect on that question of “what’s next”, and how through continued collaboration NCIMI can further support emerging industry and academic needs for infrastructure to enable new AI development and deployment. National changes in Trusted Research Environment policy and the Goldacre Review; the shifting public and patient perspectives on the uses of health data; consequences of moving away from GDPR; expanded supercomputer resources nationally; all these will create new opportunities- I believe NCIMI can grasp these and continue to drive benefits for its partners and the broader ecosystem. I look forward to watching all your future successes.

And for me? I’ll be facing new challenges within NHSX, bringing together a new team to support national investments in NHS infrastructure to enable more collaborative, trustworthy research to improve care and the experience for NHS staff. I will keep the many pearls of wisdom shared with me from NCIMI partners and hope to support the impact that benefits from the experiences and learning I have gained working with you all. 

“I think it is fair to say that everyone who has been involved with NCIMI is immensely grateful to Claire for her boundless enthusiasm and energy in leading NCIMI for the last two and a half years. I joined Claire’s team a year ago in the middle of lockdown and was impressed by her ability to move the Consortium together notwithstanding the many challenges we were facing across the Consortium due to the pandemic. Claire has taken NCIMI from concept to full operation with a wide portfolio of projects running or being set up. Running multi-way consortia is never an easy task and we are really grateful to Claire for her dynamism and leadership through NCIMI’s early years.  

She leaves us a significantly more mature Consortium than when we started, which I am excited to lead as COO. The emerging changes around national policy and use of healthcare data will provide some exciting new challenges for NCIMI and its partners in both Industry and the NHS. NCIMI will embrace these opportunities and move forward into a new exciting phase which the management team at NCIMI will be leading. My belief is that dialogues with NHSX will increase so I am looking forward to continued work with Claire.”

Mark Beggs Programme Manager/Chief Operating Officer for NCIMI