Next Generation Rehabilitation Technologies

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering

Abstract

This network will focus on developing the next generation of advanced technologies for rehabilitation, targeting musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory, neurological and mental health conditions. It will be connected to the new £70 million National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), a major national investment in patient care, innovation and technology, due to open to patients in 2024. The NRC is being co-located with the specialist £300m+ Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre on the Stamford Hall Rehabilitation Estate so that the two centres can benefit from the sharing of a wealth of knowledge, expertise and facilities. This EPSRC networkplus is therefore an exceptionally timely opportunity to capitalise on this significant investment, actively involving the UK Engineering & Physical Science community in this initiative and embedding technology innovation at the earliest stage.

Advances in medicine have resulted in a significant increase in survival rates from trauma and injury, disorders and disease (acute and chronic). However, survival is often just the start, and the higher rates have led to an increase in rehabilitation needs, involving many patients with complex conditions. Technology has an increasingly important part to play in rehabilitation, to support a limited number of skilled healthcare professionals, reduce hospital stays, improve engagement with rehabilitation programmes, increase independence and improve outcomes. Speeding up recovery and helping patients get back to work and life has considerable personal, social and economic impact.

This network will bring together researchers, healthcare providers, patient & user groups, industrial partners and supporting organisations (e.g. policy makers, charities) to develop a world-class research community and infrastructure for advanced rehabilitation technologies. By connecting new innovative technologies and advanced materials with our growing understanding of mental and physical health, this network will support the provision of novel, transformative, affordable solutions that will address current issues, allowing patients to lead more independent and fulfilling lives and reducing the burden on limited NHS resources.

Supported by a core membership of experts from the rehabilitation field, this network aims to introduce researchers who are not typically involved in rehabilitation technology research into a network of rehabilitation experts. Central to the grant will be a series of Grand Challenge Blended Workshops and supported conversations designed to identify critical areas for research, with funding for feasibility projects to build those collaborations and drive forward innovation. The network will explore multimodal approaches that target both physical and mental rehabilitation. Technology innovation will focus around three key areas: 1) advanced functional materials, 2) patient-specific devices & therapy, and 3) closed loop measurement and rehabilitation.

Publications

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