Symposium 6: Engineers as Healthcare Practitioners 

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 31 October - 2 November

The sixth Royal Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering for Development symposium will take place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, from 31 October - 2 November 2018. This event is in partnership with the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) Vietnam.  

Symposium Goal

The goal of the two-and-a-half day symposia is to introduce outstanding researchers and innovators (aprox. 5-20 years post-doc, or equivalent experience in industry) to each other, and through this interaction facilitate collaboration in engineering for development, the transfer of new techniques and approaches across disciplinary boundaries and the establishment of contacts among the next generation of engineering leaders.


Symposium Format

The event will be made up of three multidisciplinary and interactive workshop-style sessions that explore the overall theme of Engineers as Healtchare Practitioners. Participants are obliged to attend every session to maximise the opportunity to make new contacts and build collaborative relationships. 

Each session will be focused on a sub-topic of the overarching theme, with relevant experts chairing the sessions to lead discussions. The themes are:

  • Early Disease Detection and AMR
  • Machine Learning for Low Resource Settings
  • Smart and Mobile Devices

To ensure there is a balance of formal and informal networking opportunities, social activities are organised. We will be visiting the Traditional Medicine Museum in Ho Chi Minh City and watching a water puppet show.


On the final day of the event, there will be a presentation on how to apply for seed funding. Further information on the application process can be found here

Event Chairs 

Professor Alison Noble OBE FRS FREng, University of Oxford 

Professor Alison Noble OBE FRS FREng, Technikos Professor of Biomedical Engineering, University of Oxford UK has academic research interests in machine learning applied to ultrasound imaging with application to fetal medicine in the developed world and LMICs, with complementary experiences of working on translational research and commercialisation of medtech. She co-founded Intelligent Ultrasound Ltd in 2012 which was bought by MedaPhor PLC in 2017.

Professor Noble is a member of MRC and Wellcome Trust scientific advisory groups which consider healthcare technologies, and Chair of the EPSRC Healthcare Technologies Strategic Advisory Team. She is interested in inter-disciplinary aspects of healthcare data science and is chairing a Royal Society Working Group on Privacy Enhancing Technologies. Alison is currently a member of the Academy’s Enterprise Committee and Capturing Value Steering Group and she co-chaired the Academy’s 2014 UK-Brazil Frontiers meeting run in collaboration with FAPESP.


Dr Louise Thwaites, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit

Louise Thwaites is a clinical researcher and member of the Emerging Infections group at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and a clinical lecturer at the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health at the University of Oxford. She is a member of the Sepsis in Resource-Limited Settings-Expert Consensus Recommendations Group of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine and an expert advisor to the World Health Organization.

Her research interests are centred on the care of critically ill patients in resource-restricted settings and she has spent much of her career engaged in research into tetanus. She leads innovative clinical trials in resource-limited settings including a trial of intrathecal antitoxin administration in tetanus and magnesium sulphate for severe tetanus. Current projects include developing machine-learning to predict the outcome of patients with tetanus and the use of bioimpedance for assessment of fluid balance in critically ill patients.  Her broader research interests include the management of sepsis and septic shock in resource-limited settings and understanding and preventing hospital-acquired infection in the intensive care unit.

Session Themes 

The core themed sessions will last 2 hours and will combine short 15 minute talks from experts with interactive discussion activities which actively engage all participants. At the sixth Frontiers of Engineering for Development Symposium, the themes and Session Co-Chairs are as follows:

Session 1: Early Disease Detection and AMR

  • Co-Chair: Dr Tu Van (OUCRU)
  • Co-Chair: Dr Mirfin Mpundu (ReAct Africa)
  • Speakers: Ben Miller (i-sense/UCL), Professor Denis Byarugaba (Makerere University)


Session 2: Machine Learning for Low Resource Settings

  • Co-Chair: Dr Lisa Stroux (Sentimoto)
  • Co-Chair: Dr Spiros Denaxas (UCL)
  • Speakers: Professor Marcos Ennes Barreto (Federal University of Bahia), Olivia Koburongo (MamaOpe Medicals), Peter Lubell-Doughtie (ONA)


Session 3: Smart and Mobile Devices

  • Co-Chair: Professor Jeroen Bergmann (University of Oxford)
  • Co-Chair: Dr Walter Karlen (ETH Zurich)
  • Speakers: Kitty Liao (Ideabatic), Dr Wendy Bradley (Cox Business School), Dr Azas Hussain (University of Birmingham/MD-TEC)

More Information

If you would like to attend this event, please visit the How to get involved page and complete the expression of interest form. This webpage will also be updated as session chairs and speakers are confirmed. 

Visit the Past Symposia page to find out more about the structure and format of previous Frontiers of Engineering for Development events.