Queen’s P2D 2017: Building on Successful Foundations and Developing New Approaches

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast

Abstract

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Technical Summary

The MRC Proximity to Discovery scheme awards universities funds to help develop new collaborations, and ways of exchanging knowledge and skills.  The awards can be used to support activities that promote the value of academic-industry partnership, and enhance academic and industry researchers’ understanding of each other’s needs and capabilities.  This may be through people exchanges, creation of technology demonstrators, showcase events, commercialisation workshops and ‘entrepreneurs in residence’ schemes.  Such exchanges of knowledge and skills will boost the most fruitful collaborations between UK universities and life science companies.
 
Description A One Health Approach to Address Medical Device-Associated Infections (McCoy/Irwin) 
Organisation Fitzpatrick's Referral
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Prof McCoy leads the collaboration with Fitzpatrick Referrals. QUB carried out a mini research project to determine the most suitable components for a successful polymer coating.
Collaborator Contribution Fitzpatrick Referrals hosted two visits to their hospital facilities in Surrey, UK. These visits included tours of their facilities at two locations and discussions with several expert clinicians to improve QUB understanding of their area and the resources available at the partner site. Fitzpatrick Referrals also provided expertise and advice regarding product design and veterinary applicability throughout the project.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Adapting Digital Social Prescribing for Support After Suicide (Galway) 
Organisation Elemental Software
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Lead all communications, Engage with key stakeholders, Organise demonstrations for key stakeholders, Organise key stakeholder co-production workshop, Analyse and synthesise stakeholder views, Provide feedback to stakeholders indicating future directions, Disseminate project outcomes to wider UK stakeholder audience
Collaborator Contribution Engaged with key stakeholders through demonstrations of software across suicide prevention and support organisations in NI, Hosted Twitter chat based on the topic of the project, engaging an international audience, Attended and presented at co-production workshop with key stakeholders, Contributed knowledge based on their experience of developing social prescribing initiatives in the wider UK context, Promoted the project within social prescribing UK context
Impact Co-production workshop with key stakeholders in suicide bereavement support across NI Twitter chat engagement with wider international community estimated to reach almost 30,000 twitter accounts (analytics from Tweetreach) Publications under development: 1.Systematic review of social prescribing for mental health 2.The potential of digital social prescribing as a complex intervention for suicide bereavement support: pioneering a co-production process
Start Year 2018
 
Description Tailored healthcare solutions through academic-industry collaborations (Irwin) 
Organisation Venair Group
Country Spain 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Dr Irwin leads the collaboration with Venair and directs technical work for the development of prototype materials. The PDRA conducted all technical activities using established methodologies and equipment available at QUB. The QUB team hosted two members of the Venair team during a visit in May 2018.
Collaborator Contribution The Venair team hosted the QUB team on two site visits in February and August 2018, and additionally hosted the QUB PDRA during a one-week placement, providing training and access to their equipment for the preparation and mechanical testing of materials. Venair provided expertise in the marketing aspects of products to inform the development process, ensuring industrial relevance and alignment to facilitate commercialisation.
Impact Mutual understanding of both partners' capabilities, resources and research needs. Prototype anti-infective silicone developed. Preliminary data generated to support follow-on projects. Mutual desire to continue the collaboration.
Start Year 2018
 
Company Name SONRAI ANALYTICS LTD 
Description Sonrai Analytics Ltd was developed based on a commercial need highlighted by an industry partner. Sonrai Analytics's software platform is designed to meet the demands of both precision analytics and reproducible data findings of important legacy. It offers bespoke healthcare analytical frameworks supporting AI. 
Year Established 2018 
Impact None yet
Website https://sonraianalytics.com/
 
Description Adapting digital social prescribing - Co-design workshop in Northern Ireland 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Guest Lecturer from UCL, Dr Alexandra Pitman. Adience incorporated statutory, voluntary and academic sectors, largely from NI.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2018
 
Description BioTrinity/BioLaunchPad Attendance (Watson) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Attendance and active participation in the BioTrinity conference to support networking activities, market research and partnering objectives for a current MRC CiC project 'Validation of LRG-1 as a novel biomarker for the early prediction of new onset hypertension or preeclampsia in women during pregnancy, and the development of an associated detection assay'. Developed valuable network contacts, identified new potential markets, and received valuable feedback from potential industry partners and investors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Co-Production Workshop with Key Stakeholders, 20th June 2018 (Galway) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Co-production workshop, held at an independent venue, to gather key stakeholders in suicide bereavement support across NI. Intended purpose: to discuss the mechanics of engaging in a research trial of digital social prescribing to follow co-production principles of working together to identify challenges involved in testing the system, to establish appropriate methodological processes including recruitment, randomisation, and outcome measures.

Outcomes/Impacts:
Engagement and collaboration have been established with four of five Health Trusts across NI, and with the Public Health Agency and Department of Health NI.
Established appropriate methodological processes for a feasibility trial and identified additional challenges to be addressed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Company Visit - Astex Pharmaceuticals 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Prof Waugh made an initial connection with regard to a clinical trial for an Astex product followed up by a second visit to map out the details of a clinical trial for their IAP.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Company Visit - Fitzpatrick Referrals 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Fitzpatrick Referrals (FR) hosted two visits to their hospital facilities in Surrey, UK. These visits included tours of their facilities at two locations and discussions with several expert clinicians to improve QUB understanding of their area and the resources available at the partner site. Dr Wylie (Research Fellow) gained an appreciation of FR's veterinary facilities for orthopaedic and chemotherapeutic medicine. He gained both technical and commercial knowledge.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description People Exchange (Advanced Plasma Solutions) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Industrial visit to Advanced Plasma Solutions (APS) to gain technical understanding of the plasma systems developed by the company; how they are manufactured and designed.

Dr Flynn gained experience of holding commercial conversations with an industry partner and will continue to collaborate with APS in developing a specification for a portable plasma jet.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description People Exchange - Venair 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Venair team provided technical training for Dr Riele in the use of manufacturing equipment and mechanical testing rigs. Dr Riele also gained knowledge and insight into industrial techniques, priorities and marketing aspects. The project increased her business skills and employment prospects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Postdoctoral Exploration with Industry (BioSciences) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Queen's are committed encouraging and supporting researchers to make connections with business at the outset of their academic career. To encourage postdoctoral researchers to connect with business, a one day event with invited industry speakers (delivered by Business Alliance together with the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences Postdoctoral Development Centre and Catalyst Inc.) was held on 30th May 2018.
The aims of the event were to:
- Enable networking between postdocs and companies to potentially start collaborations
- Enable networking between postdocs from different parts of the Faculty
- Give local employers access to talented biosciences postdocs
- Showcase career paths outside of academia.
Importantly, all who attended the event (industry representatives and postdocs) found it a high impact experience. In the six months following, there has been an observed increase in interest in industry partnerships and translational research from the MHLS postdoctoral community. This event, together with current P2D activities this year (2018/19), has raised awareness of collaborative R&D and innovation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Poster Presentation at Suicide Bereavement UK Conference, 26th September 2018, Manchester (Galway) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A scientific poster presentation on the processes undertaken as part of the Proximity to Discovery Funding award.
Intended Purpose: to share findings of the engagement and co-production activities
Outcomes/Impacts: Requests for more information about the project and future plans
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Supporting Events Where Academics, Industry and Funders Interact (Innovate UK Briefing) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Hosting Innovate UK and the KTN @ Queen's University Belfast
Innovate UK Life and Health Sciences Event, 23 March 2018: Platform to interact with potential industry partners, grow networks and enhance understanding of Industry-Academia funding landscape by engaging with Innovate UK and Invest NI. Total of 42 attendees including local industry and academic researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2018
 
Description Supporting Events Where Academics, Industry and Funders Interact (Innovate UK/KTN - June 2018) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Hosting UKRI
ISCF Data to early diagnosis challenge visit to Queen's University, 6 June 2018:
39 attendees including local industry, academic researchers and the Health & Social Care Trust.

Prof Manuel Salto-Tellez and Dr Jackie James (Queen's University's Precision Medicine Centre of Excellence (PMC)), who attended this event and met with the UKRI representatives, received £3.5m for the ISCF Digital Innovation Hub challenge as part of the sector deal with Philips. The PathLAKE (Pathology image data Lake for Analytics, Knowledge and Education) consortium together received £14 million and includes University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust; University of Warwick; Universities and University Hospitals in Oxford and Nottingham; and Philips Digital and Computational Pathology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Twitter Chat, 27th June 2018 (Galway & Elemental Software) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A Twitter Chat was hosted by Elemental Software under the umbrella of Social Prescribing Hour, a weekly twitter event, engaging a wide range of practitioners, public and interested parties.
Intended purpose: to stimulate debate
Four questions were posed over a 1-hour timeslot:
Q1 What is the name of your organisation and what does your role involve?
Q2 How could #socialprescribing help with #suicidebereavement?
Q3 What sort of services and opportunities might people need, after a suicide loss?
Q4 How can we test #socialprescribing for #suicidebereavement?

Outcomes/Impacts:
Altogether 15 contributors posted 100 tweets, over four hours. Over that period, analytics indicate that 29,632 accounts were reached leading to 152,407 impressions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Visit to Company (Venair) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Drs Irwin and Rial visited Venair laboratories for an overview of their R&D facilities. Dr Rial was trained on the use of manufacturing techniques for the production of sample materials.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Visit to MitraBiotech (McArt) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Visit to company to understand overall structure, vision and strategy. Discussion of potential collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018