Capital Award in Support of Early Career Researchers

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: Research and Enterprise Services


This capital investment project seeks to support Heriot-Watt University's Early Career Researchers (ECRs) with state-of-the art equipment, enabling them to do cutting-edge research. Heriot-Watt University has recruited many young academics over the past 5 years (36 in the academic School of Engineering and Physical Sciences alone), who are currently building their research groups and attracting significant funding from EPSRC and other funding bodies. A relatively high number of ECRs are active in Healthcare Technologies, a research area that is growing both within Heriot-Watt University and worldwide. We will be focussing our investment into this area to build a World Class Labs ecosystem to inspire ideas, develop novel technologies, generate excellence and foster collaboration. The equipment proposed for the investment all benefits multiple users, ECRs in particular, and include a 3D bioprinter, eye tracker glasses, a CPU cluster for improved computational power, a hexapod for manufacturing medical devices, a cryostat for cutting frozen tissue slices, and an OCT medical imaging device. We will have a transparent booking and equipment management system so that its usage and impact are maximised.

Planned Impact

The main impacts this project will bring are:
* academic development of Heriot-Watt University's Early Career Researchers through establishment of a World Class Labs ecosystem
* bringing together healthcare-related research activities undertaken at Heriot-Watt University, and facilitating new collaborations between ECRs and established researchers in this theme
* creating public awareness of the research ECRs at Heriot-Watt University are performing, emphasising the fostering of young talent and attractive academic career opportunities
* promoting industry participation in the development of healthcare technologies at Heriot-Watt University, and and uptake of newly developed technologies

We will manage all equipment as Small Research Facilities, ensuring sustainability of the investment and maximisation of usage by ECRs. We will run induction processes, academic workshops and communication forums for researchers within HWU and in the wider academic network to create awareness of the opportunities the new equipment brings, and to spark collaborative intentions. This will have immediate impact into the local research community, as well as through learning new skills by working with advanced equipment. We expect this to generate high quality publications and project proposals and further engagement into the growing research community at HWU in healthcare and wellbeing research. These impacts of the capital investment will be measured through usage statistics from booking systems, submitted grant proposals that cost in the use of this equipment, and research outputs linked to the equipment.

Further, we envisage to continue our good track record and therefore use our existing mechanisms for outreach to engage with the general public starting from school children up to policy makers and stakeholders.

Finally, we will use our already functioning mechanisms of commercialisation, engaging industry involvement, and substantial experience with commercialisation through spinout companies to ensure that the technology transfer into industry and society are perused.


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