Last week the UK Focus for Biomedical Engineering held its biennial Young Researchers’ Futures meeting at the University of Reading. Sponsored by The Royal Academy of Engineering, the Wellcome Trust, Renishaw and the University of Reading, this year’s theme was Medical RoboticsRobotic Surgery and Robotic Rehabilitation.

The UK Focus for Biomedical Engineering (hosted by the Academy) provides a forum through which the principal organisations concerned with biomedical engineering can communicate, debate and work together to improve the diagnosis and treatment of major medical conditions. The Young Researchers’ meetings aim to bring together the UK’s top early-career researchers to showcase their work, network and receive guidance from leading experts.

Medical robotics for surgery and rehabilitation have been developed over the last 30 years, but are now in demand to meet the needs of our increasingly elderly population.

In robotic surgery, associated support activities are being developed in imaging, patient-specific modelling and planning, sensing and intra-operative imaging, together with an improved knowledge of clinical requirements. Clinical applications are particularly demanding, with the need for regulatory requirements and patient safety taking precedence. There is a similar emphasis on safety for rehabilitation, since robots are in close contact with patients and medical staff in both surgery and rehabilitation.

The Royal Academy of Engineering Young Researcher’s Forums present an excellent networking opportunity for those who will become leaders of research and development in the UK in coming years.

In addition to presenting their own work, all 30 participants took part in group discussions to help them widen their own experience. Contributions from experienced mentors, who have an established reputation in the field, provided an opportunity for participants to further their knowledge.

Mentors included Mr Colin Bicknell, St Mary’s Hospital London; Professor Peter Brett, Brunel University; Professor Brian Davies, Imperial College London; Dr Finlay Evans, Renishaw Ltd; Professor William Harwin, University of Reading; Professor Garth Johnson, University of Newcastle and Dr Slawomir Nasuto, University of Reading.

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

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