07:29am Saturday 29 February 2020

Why universities are good for your health

Leading academics from the University of Bristol will demonstrate how their research has led to innovative and life-changing developments in health, the environment, communications, transport and for society, nationally and across the globe.

Hosted by the SETsquared Partnership, which also involves the Universities of Bath, Southampton and Surrey, the Changing Worlds event on 13 October will show how universities have made a difference with attendees including policy makers, major figures from industry, journalists and a key note speech by Minister for Universities & Science, David Willetts MP.

One of the success stories involves Bristol’s Professor Peter Fleming, hailed as a UK science pioneer thanks to the Government-backed Back to Sleep campaign, which advised parents on how to avoid the risk of cot death. Up until two decades ago, cot death claimed the lives of 2,000 babies in the UK every year; that number has since been reduced by 80 per cent.

Prof Fleming said: “Thanks to continued research at the University of Bristol and collaborations with different research groups, the work we do has enabled us to have had a considerable impact in over 30 different countries.”

Medical advances pioneered by collaborative efforts between University researchers and local hospitals include work led by by the University of Bristol and the Bristol Heart Institute to develop an innovative technique in heart coronary bypass surgery, known as beating heart surgery.  Discovered in 1995, the technique greatly reduces the risk of postoperative morbidity and has been adapted worldwide.

Other projects that form part of 20 case studies demonstrating how research has changed lives around the world include The Innocence Network, a global network that began in Bristol’s School of Law, dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions, improving the criminal justice system and preventing future miscarriages of justice.  INUK now acts as an umbrella organisation for Innocence Projects in 26 UK universities, with around 500 staff and students working collectively on approximately 80 cases.

Also featured is the MoSSaiC project, established by Professor Malcolm Anderson and Dr Liz Holcombe from the School of Geographical Sciences, who working in partnership with communities in the developing world susceptible to landslides, developed a risk reduction programme that has helped thousands of the poorest people living in unplanned settlements.

And research directed by Professor Joe McGeehan at Bristol’s Centre for Communications Research will be highlighted to show how his invention of the speech scrambler started a new era of higher police security, and how the encryption techniques involved allowed for the massive expansion of commercial and personal mobile phone usage we see today.


Please contact Aliya Mughal for further information.

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