Innovative child health research collaboration marks anniversary

A special event to mark the first anniversary of an innovative child health research collaboration between the University and Alder Hey Children’s hospital Trust was held last month.

In June 2018 the ‘Children’s Health and Wellbeing’ strategic collaboration between all three faculties of the University and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Trust was launched with the aim of improving the health and life outcomes for children locally, nationally and internationally.

The event, which took place at the Institute in the Park based at Alder Hey, provided a platform for researchers and clinicians to come together to present projects, discuss ideas, funding opportunities and informally network. The event included informative presentations from all three University faculties; a key thread across presentations was the importance of cross-organisational, cross-faculty and interdisciplinary research.

Liverpool Health Partners (LHP) also provided an overview of their ‘Starting Well’ programme and how it will inform future work around maternal and child health research across all thirteen partners.

As part of the event the second funding call for the Hugh Greenwood Legacy Children’s Health Research fund was also launched. The fund, which was launched last year following an £800,000 donation to the University’s Development and Alumni Relations team by The Children’s Research Fund, was established to promote and develop collaborative child health research projects between the University and the Trust.

In addition to the presentations, a number of delegates took part in a live hackathon, which provided them an opportunity to ‘pitch’ a research idea or clinical challenge to their peers that could benefit children’s health. The aim of the exercise being to help create new collaborations and encourage further applications to the funding scheme.

The pitches covered a whole range of subjects from monitoring, reducing and eliminating infections in CNS fluid after head injuries, through to the effective design of next generation wheelchairs and personal mobility devices whose enhanced functionality gives freedom and independence to their users.

Professor Michael Beresford, Brough Chair and Professor of Child Health at the University of Liverpool, said: “The challenge we are facing today is, ‘how do we make a meaningful impact on the wellbeing of children?’ The University of Liverpool and Alder Hey are committed to creating new collaborations that are locally relevant, and have a worldwide impact.”

Professor Fiona Beveridge, Executive Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Liverpool, who spoke at the event about the University’s priorities, themes, and commitment to the partnership with Alder Hey, said: “The city of Liverpool has made a commitment to address inequality facing children, and the University of Liverpool and Alder Hey are playing major parts in tackling this issue.”

Councillor Barry Kushner, from Liverpool City Council, provided an important anchor to the day, focusing on the importance of children’s health across the City and the important work of UNICEF Child-Friendly City. He said: “The University of Liverpool and Alder Hey are key to the energy and drive in the city of Liverpool. Collaborations like this are helping improve lives of children in this city. The whole city has to work together collaboratively to improve children’s lives, just as UoL and AH work together.”

Dr Farnaz Nickpour, Engineering and Industrial Design, University Liverpool, said: “I received funding in the first round for two very different projects. I particularly liked the innovative element of the call; asking for new partnerships between senior academics and clinicians, in new areas of investigation. The hackathon, proved a real catalyst of innovation, a great success for all involved.”

More information about the University’s unique child-centred approach to research with children and young people here.

The Hugh Greenwood Legacy Children’s Health Research fund, named after its patron and Honorary Graduate, Sir Hugh Greenwood OBE (Hon LLD 2012), supports co-supervised (non-clinical) PhD studentships, clinical and non- clinical fellowships and collaborative pump priming awards. The deadline for the current round of funding is 16:00 Monday 22 July 2019.

Further information and guidance about this fund can be found here.