Assistive technology research aims to restore human function and enable independence for older people, disabled people and those with long term conditions. Musculoskeletal biomechanics is the study of forces and their effects on the musculoskeletal system.
Research in this area enables the prediction, understanding and restoration of human function and enables independence for older people, disabled people, those with mental health conditions and those with other long term health conditions.
This area draws on a wide variety of research in engineering, information and communication technologies (ICT) and physical sciences, and incorporates it into replacement, restoration or enhancement of sensory, motor and cognitive functional capabilities. Musculoskeletal biomechanics is the use of methods that allow the study of forces and their effects on the musculoskeletal system under static and dynamic conditions.
Recognising the importance of this research area to a number of key societal challenges, we have four aims.
We support a diverse portfolio of interdisciplinary research which has strong engagement with both other research disciplines and stakeholders.
We fund collaborative research where clinicians, patients, industry and the wider stakeholder community are active members of the team from the earliest stages. This is to accelerate the impact of research on products and practice in healthcare settings.
We encourage and support research leaders in assistive technologies who can bring together multidisciplinary teams across domains to tackle complex healthcare challenges and bring about the innovative knowledge required in this area.
Bring researchers into this area
We encourage EPSRC researchers not active in this area to use the challenges faced in this domain as a stimulus to conduct innovative engineering and physical sciences research.
What we are looking for
Researchers are encouraged to co-create research plans with stakeholders to design projects that target unmet clinical or patient needs, or offer significant improvement over current solutions.
In this research area we wish to see greater consideration in proposals of topics in the Healthcare technologies theme impact and translation toolkit.
Assistive technology and rehabilitation technology is a multidisciplinary area. Researchers should seek opportunities to work across EPSRC disciplines, including emerging research areas in:
They should also seek opportunities to work with allied fields, including:
- allied health
- social sciences
- sports science
Researchers in musculoskeletal biomechanics are particularly encouraged to collaborate strongly with other disciplines engaged in modelling and simulation, including mathematics. This is to ensure that new breakthroughs in fundamental science can be applied in this domain.
Researchers in assistive technology are encouraged to consider how their eventual solution will be taken to product and practice, and to maximise user engagement.
The two fields within this area have differing research drivers and stakeholder demands. We are exploring new portfolio compositions to assess whether there is a better structural model for supporting them, along with allied research fields in the Clinical technologies research area.