Labour MP for Newcastle Central and Shadow Minister for Science, Research and Innovation Chi Onwurah visited Bournemouth University’s (BU) Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (FHSS) at the Bournemouth Gateway Building on Thursday 7 December 2023.
The visit was an opportunity for the shadow minister to learn more about the work being undertaken by staff and students across the university’s four faculties.
The shadow minister was first greeted by Vice Chancellor, John Vinney who introduced her to Dr James Franklin, Head of the Institute for Medical Imaging & Visualisation (IMIV) who conducted a tour of the MRI scanner and spoke about some of their research projects. As a keen cold-water swimmer herself, the MP took an interest in the research the IMIV are doing into cold water immersion and the effects on the brain. Dr Franklin explained that by using the scanner, the research helped reveal how different parts of the brain reacts to the cold-water immersion.
The shadow minister was then introduced to Professor Jane Murphy, Co-Lead at the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC) based at the FHSS who talked to the MP about the ongoing research work they are conducting into dementia, technologies and nutrition for older people in communities both locally and across the UK. Professor Jane Murphy said: “It was a pleasure to host Chi Onwurah MP, meet BU colleagues and show her some of our excellent facilities and the impact our research is having, working together with partners across health and social care. Investment in innovation and research is vital for universities to continue advancing knowledge and impacting society and we were pleased to have had these insightful discussions.”
The MP was then shown a video from a research project led by Dr Sophia Amenyah, highlighting the need for improved nutritional services for older people living in deprived parts of the UK. She was also introduced to two members of the public who took part in a research project into diabetes at the centre and were able to talk about their personal experiences of contributing to the work.
Also attending the visit was Professor Tom Wainwright, Deputy Head of BU’s Orthopaedic Research Institute (ORI) who spoke about the work of ORI to improve the healthcare system including the recovery of patients after surgery.
Small businesses also attended the visit, including Lara Mott, CEO from ImproveWell Ltd who talked about their collaborative work with Finn Morgan, Business Engagement and Knowledge Exchange Manager and Professor Marcin Budka from the university’s Faculty of Science & Technology to use an Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance their platform, which engages NHS frontline workers to gather and analyse real-time feedback to help improve health and care across the NHS. Lara said: “Our new Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Bournemouth University will harness AI to speed up improvements in the NHS to benefit patients and staff. The shadow minister was also interested to hear about our success stories from her constituency and beyond, where ImproveWell’s technology has led to long-term improvements in retention, reduced symptoms of burnout and huge increases in NHS staff saying they enjoy being at work. I look forward to continuing to share examples of ImproveWell's impact on the NHS and details of our impact as a thriving British technology company.”