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31 May 2006 PR 06/57

Virtual faculty will give boost to Leicester hospitals

A ‘virtual faculty’ of experts to boost healthcare innovation in Leicester will be set up next month, by Loughborough University and the city’s three teaching hospitals.

Top technologists from Loughborough University will join forces with leading Leicester clinicians from the University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust to tackle the treatment of illnesses.

By pooling their knowledge, medical staff and academics hope to have a more co-ordinated approach when devising new treatments, products and services.

David Williams, Professor of Healthcare Engineering at Loughborough University, said: “This is an extremely interesting and important project, both for Loughborough University and for hospital patients across Leicester.

“The virtual faculty will link Loughborough’s scientific, engineering and industrial expertise with the UHL NHS Trust. This will give the University a better understanding of healthcare needs, while showing clinicians the possibilities of current and emerging technologies.

“By working more closely with clinicians, we will be able to generate technologies that are more relevant to improving patient care.”

As part of the scheme, experts from Loughborough will spend time on secondment at the three UHL hospitals – Leicester Royal, Glenfield and Leicester General. Meanwhile, hospital staff will be at Loughborough, to find out more about the work of the University.

Professor Williams added: “University staff want to get as close to the front line as possible. We will be in operating theatres. We will be talking to clinical research groups. We want to make sure that what we are doing is of clinical importance and that it will help us to make a difference to patients in Leicestershire.”

Funding for the three-year, £427,000 project has come from the Medical Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Work begins on 1 June.

ENDS

For further information contact:

Notes to editors

  1. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

    In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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