Innovative UWTSD projects shortlisted for the Green Gown Awards

Two innovative projects from UWTSD’s Assistive Technologies Innovation Centre (ATiC) have been shortlisted for the UK and Ireland Green Gown Awards 2020. Both projects aim to improve patients’ lives with the use of technology.

Established in 2004, the Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges. ATiC’s two shortlisted projects, “Reducing the Impact of 3D Scanning Methods for Bespoke Helmets for Children” and “The Surgical Journey: Transforming patient outcomes” incorporate environmental considerations set out to address user needs by making research accessible to different user groups.

The projects are part of Accelerate, a pioneering collaboration between three of Wales’ universities, Cardiff University (CIA), Swansea University (HTC), University of Wales Trinity Saint David (ATiC), and the Life Sciences Hub Wales. Co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Welsh European Funding Office, Welsh Government’s Health and Social Services group, universities, Life Sciences Hub Wales, and the health boards, the programme offers access to the academic expertise, in depth understanding of the life sciences ecosystem, and cutting edge facilities. The aim of Accelerate is to create lasting economic value for Wales.

UWSTD says the projects are also part of research collaborations with external partners; Carmarthen based Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC), a bespoke product design service offered by national charity Cerebra to its members, and Concentric Health, a Cardiff based start-up that provides hospitals with digital consent and decision making platforms for surgery.

ATiC Director Professor Ian Walsh highlighted the importance of collaboration between the university and enterprise partners in accelerating innovation and developing more sustainable models of practice, adding “I’m delighted that UWTSD’s commitment to sustainable development has been recognised in these prestigious awards which stress the importance of partnership in research and innovation.”

ATiC offers expertise in user centred design, user experience evaluation and analysis, 3D data and motion capture, as well as prototyping in a range of materials. It takes a user centred approach to research and development, improving people’s relationship with the products and services they use on a daily basis, and ensuring that outcomes have a positive impact on health and wellbeing.

Yolanda Rendón-Guerrero, ATiC Innovation Fellow and project lead for “Reducing the Impact of 3D Scanning Methods for Bespoke Helmets for Children”, said “It has been a pleasure to collaborate with Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) supporting their very important cause in helping Cerebra’s members have access to research outcomes and improve their wellbeing. Identifying an optimised 3D scanning solution is hugely beneficial to the CIC’s service and its users living with brain conditions, allowing them to have access to perfect fit helmets while reducing the environmental impact of methods involved from concept to creation of their bespoke helmets.

“With the access that we have nowadays to cutting-edge technology, we need to ensure user participation during design thinking processes involved in innovative research and unbiased access to state-of-the-art user-centred services.”

On the collaboration with Concentric, Dr Caroline Hagerman, ATiC Innovation Fellow and project lead, said “In speaking with users we uncovered so many ways that Concentric could help surgical patients and clinicians. We’ve developed a concept that we feel will really transform patients’ stake and role in their surgical journey, as well as breaking down barriers between clinician and patient. This work is essential for improving healthcare equality, not to mention the overall health of the populations where it’s used. We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved and can’t wait to witness the impact first-hand.”

The Green Gown Awards are sponsored by the EAUC (The Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education). It is the sustainability champion for universities and colleges in the UK and has a membership of over two hundred university, college and learning and skills providers. This year’s UK and Ireland Green Gown Awards finalists, representing forty five institutions, are leading the way with their commitment to the global sustainability agenda.

Reflecting on this year’s submissions, Iain Patton, CEO of EAUC, said “It’s safe to say everything has turned upside down this year. But what is remarkable, is the pure determination and resilience shown by our sector. Receiving so many applications from our sustainability communities in this challenging year, and reading their inspiring projects is truly heart-warming in these uncertain times and builds hope for a green recovery and more sustainable future. Today we announce the Finalists, but we also applaud each and every applicant and encourage them to continue on the sustainability path which is now more critical than ever.”

The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony, which will take place in March or April 2021.

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