Engineering for life and health

Engineering research for the improvement and maintenance of health. This area will underpin much of the work supported under the Healthcare technologies theme but remain grounded in the training of fundamental engineering skills required to advance biomedical engineering and technology research.

With a healthcare agenda calling for prolonging independent living and the personalisation/stratification of care, there is opportunity for innovation from the engineering community, but successful translation requires early collaboration across industry, academia and the NHS.

With a third of the healthcare and life sciences graduate workforce being sourced from abroad and many UK employers are unable to find UK staff with the practical and numerical skills needed for success in a multidisciplinary and highly regulated arena. There is a requirement for multidisciplinary research and researcher training in more fundamental areas of engineering research such as materials, miniaturization, biotribology, electronics, robotics and design with an application to life and health.

In addition to an in-depth knowledge of their discipline there are demands for individuals to possess the range of practical and numerical skills required in moving beyond theory and lab based work to real world applications. This requires the knowledge and understanding of user requirements, regulatory standards, integrated design and development of products and processes. Training should also encompass ethical approval processes as well as other innovation tools such as risk management and life cycle analysis.

There is a key driver for the cohort-based approach to enable students with an in depth knowledge of their engineering discipline to provide the technology push, to collaborate and work towards a common goal of improving life and health, and to maximise their knowledge of the overarching skill set required (as described above) via the centre model.