December 8th, 2022
Two outstanding teams from the University of Nottingham and their collaborators have been announced as finalists in the inaugural Medical Research Council (MRC) Impact Prize.
The prize recognises individuals or teams who have made outstanding contributions in medical research.
Finalists in the Open Science Impact category for “Making COVID-19 response data FAIR” are Director of Health Informatics Dr Philip Quinlan and his partners Professor of Health Data Science Emily Jefferson of the University of Dundee, Professor Aziz Sheikh, Director of the Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh, and Dr Susan Hopkins, Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, UK Health Security Agency.
The University of Nottingham’s Digital Research Service, led by Dr Quinlan, played a leading role in CO-CONNECT, a £4m research project to help scientists across the UK access the data they need more easily to help develop potential therapies and treatment for Covid-19.
Experts from the universities of Nottingham, Dundee and Edinburgh, along with Public Health England and a national consortium of 20 research organisations, ensured data collected in response to the Covid-19 pandemic was findable, accessible, interoperable or reusable (FAIR).
For Outstanding Team Impact, Nottingham’s finalists are recognised for “Next generation imaging of human brain function”. Professor of Physics Matt Brookes and colleagues based in the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, together with partners at US atomic devices company QuSpin Inc and University of Nottingham spinout Cerca Magnetics Limited, have developed the world’s first “wearable” brain scanner.
The magnetoencephalography (MEG) system, which employs quantum technology to measure the minute magnetic fields generated by assemblies of neurons in the brain, promises unprecedented insights into conditions and diseases such epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and autism and has been commercialised through Cerca Magnetics.
With Professor Brookes, the team compromises, from Nottingham:
Professors of Physics Richard Bowtell and Mark Fromhold, Postdoctoral Fellows Dr Ryan Hill and Dr Niall Holmes, PhD students Molly Rea, Natalie Rhodes and Peter Hobson, Business Engagement Manager Dominic Sims.
QuSpin’s Chief Scientist Dr Vishal Shah and Chief Executive Officer Shweta Choudhury.
Cerca Magnetics Limited’s Chief Technology Officer Dr Elena Boto (also University of Nottingham), Chief Executive Officer David Woolger, Director of Operations Eliot Dawson, Head of Engineering Christopher Mariani.
Professor Brookes, of the School of Physics and Astronomy, and Dr Quinlan, of the School of Medicine, both said they were delighted and honoured to be shortlisted in their respective categories of Outstanding Team Impact and Open Science Impact in the inaugural Medical Research Council Impact Prize.
The MRC Impact Prize winners will be announced at an award ceremony in 2023.
Professor Neil Crout, Interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange, said: “I am thrilled that colleagues from the University of Nottingham and our partners have been short-listed in such prestigious awards, which recognise the power of innovation and collaboration in delivering impact that leads to healthier lives.
“As well as making outstanding contributions in the areas of brain imaging and Covid data, it is worth noting that Nottingham made a truly significant contribution to the University of Oxford-led RECOVERY Trial, another finalist in the Outstanding Team Impact category.
“This was the world’s largest study of Covid-19 therapies and involved more than 48,000 participants, including patients from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, supported by our researchers and clinicians.”
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