“Rising to the Challenge”: The Christabel Pankhurst Building Launch Event

“Christabel Pankhurst was an alumna of the University of Manchester who was really influential in the suffragette movement. She had the vision of believing that she had skills that could be useful, at a time that the country didn’t allow her to use them. There is a vision required at this institute to try things that people haven’t tried.”

Professor Helen Pankhurst CBE

On the surprisingly pleasant dry evening of November 16th 2023, The Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology Research and Innovation (“the Pankhurst”) welcomed guests to celebrate the official launch of its flagship building on the Manchester Oxford Road Corridor.

This historic moment for the institute and its founding partners, the University of Manchester,  Bruntwood SciTech, Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, Health Innovation Manchester, and Greater Manchester Combined Authority, was a vibrant, exciting evening shared with stakeholders and friends from across  innovation, technology, health and government.

Helen Pankhurst unveils a commemorative plaque about her great aunt, and institute namesake, Christabel Pankhurst.

The audience heard from distinguished speakers sharing reflections on the institute and its vision: Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Manchester, Professor Helen Pankhurst CBE, great niece of Christabel Pankhurst, and Professor Ben Bridgewater, Chief Executive of Health Innovation Manchester. The institute’s recently appointed new director, Professor Alejandro Frangi, shared his vision and called for collaborative team-based approach to addressing health and care challenges through technology.

The event marks a new era of collaboration between NHS, researchers, industry, and citizens through access to this bespoke open-to-all hub which has been designed specifically to enable interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. The range of spaces were showcased to attendees during the event on a series of building tours: including open plan workspaces, meeting spaces, breakout zones and a workshopping suite.

Networking in the Emmeline suite collaboration corridor

In addition, the new Pankhurst Gallery was officially opened by Helen Pankhurst, depicting the buildings’ development journey, and the remarkable history of the surrounding area of Dover Street which was once at the heart of the industrial revolution and home to visionaries and disruptors including Engels and the Pankhurst family.

It was a pleasure to welcome Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to carry out a very special cake cutting, delivering inspirational words about how valued the work of the Institute for all of society.

A special cake cutting and informal address from Greater Manchester’s Mayor, Andy Burnham.

The positive energy, conversations, introduction and reconnections created were varied and engaged in lively conversations, and a valuable opportunity for individuals from diverse sectors to connect in celebration of a new collaborative hub, and inviting all the community to shape, challenge, strengthen and drive innovations with us on this journey.

Please find the University of Manchester’s official press release here.

Health innovation Manchester’s, Chief Executive Ben Bridgewater addresses the event