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£1 million project launch to monitor ex-footballers for early signs of dementia

Researchers at UEA are crowd-funding a new project to test former professional football players for early signs of dementia.

Recent research from the University of Glasgow has shown that retired male players are around five times more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease compared with the average person.

But little is known about exactly when players start to show signs of the disease and even less about the effects in women as the majority of research has focussed on men.

The UEA research team will use cutting-edge technology to test for early signs of dementia in men and women, that are identifiable long before any memory problems or other noticeable symptoms become apparent.

The University has launched a £1 million fundraising goal for this research, at least 10 per cent of which they hope will be crowd-funded.

Lead researcher Dr Michael Grey, from UEA’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences - School of Health Sciences, said: “We now know that there is much higher risk of dementia in former professional footballers, and we think this is related to repetitive heading of the ball. We do not know if this extends to the amateur level.

“So there will be many footballers out there who are understandably very worried about their futures.

“We will be working with former professional players to investigate and track their brain health over time.

“We hope to follow these footballers for the rest of their lives.

“This is the first time that this type of research has been done,” he added.

Former players in the Eastern region will be the first to take part in the SCORES project (Screening Cognitive Outcomes after Repetitive head impact Exposure in Sport) – before the study is rolled out nationally later this year.

The research team are looking for former professional players to take part.

Former Norwich City Football Club striker Iwan Roberts, who played more than 600 games for club and country, is already backing the project.

He said: “I played football for 20 years professionally, and headed many balls over that period. I want to see whether there is anything I should be concerned about in the foreseeable future.

“It’s always important to improve and make things better. The game has improved, balls are lighter, but the modern-day player will still be at risk of this type of illness.

“We don’t know how young children cope with heading the ball. I personally think that [heading the ball] should be banned from a certain age.

“The research they are doing here will help everybody,” he added.

The project is among a number of pieces of work in the Concussion Action Programme, a research group within UEA Health and Social Care Partners.

Want to take part?

The research team are looking for former professional football players, both men and women, who are aged over 50 to take part in the study. Active non-footballers aged over 50 can also take part.

The research will see a small group of participants coming into the lab, but the majority of the testing will be done online at home.

To take part, please visit To contact the team about the project, please email

Watch: Dementia - UEA Researchers to test former professional footballers for disease

Could you help by making a donation?

Those who would like to chip in, to help make this project possible, are invited to visit to make a donation to the research.  

Your donation will go towards funding the equipment, software development, and researcher time to carry out this vital research.

For further information please contact Dr Karen Smith at

UEA Innovation and Impact Award Winners 2020

Winners of the Innovation and Impact Awards 2020 were announced on Thursday 6 February during a gala ceremony at the Sainsbury Centre, hosted by Karen Jones, Chancellor.

Chancellor’s Award:

The Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Achievement was selected by the judging panel from all entries to every category.

The award went to Prof Max Bachmann - Improving the Quality of Primary Health Care for Communicable and Non-communicable Diseases in Low and Middle Income Countries

The Medical School also had two finalists in the Outstanding Impact in Health, Wellbeing and Welfare category:

This prize recognises impacts of research or innovations where the beneficiaries are individuals and groups whose quality of life has been enhanced (or potential harm mitigated). This could include a change in practice or guidance that can be traced to real-world improvements in outcomes, reduction in costs or a change in behaviour at a local, national or international scale. Where possible, impact should be quantified in financial, survival or similar terms.

Winner: Prof Helen Murphy – Continuous Glucose Monitoring in Women with Type 1 Diabetes in Pregnancy Trial (CONCEPTT).

Finalist: Dr Justin O’Grady – Revolutionising the Diagnosis of Infection with Clinical Metagenomics

Each finalist received a trophy and certificate and each winner also received funding towards their project to help further its impact potential.

For further information about medical innovation please contact Dr Karen Smith at

Cancer Research UK visit UEA

Dr James Ritchie, Regional Translation Lead (South) and Dr Steve Shaw, Associate Director Commercial Partnerships, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) visited UEA/the Norwich Research Park (NRP) on the 30th January 2020 and were hosted by Dr Karen Smith and Dr Joita Dey at the Queen’s Building.

CRUK is the largest independent funder of Cancer Research in Europe. It invests over £400M in cancer research annually through funding schemes and initiatives and a UK-wide network of research infrastructure across basic, clinical, translational and population research.

Highlights included presentations on funding opportunities from James and Steve in the morning and 16 one-to-one meetings between them and senior academics from across the NRP. Prof Colin Cooper, Prof Kristian Bowles, Dr Stuart Rushworth, Dr Dan Brewer, Dr Jeremy Clark, Dr Darrell Green and Dr Dmitry Pshezhetskiy from the Medical School were among those in attendance.


There was an excellent Networking Lunch In the Thomas Payne Study Centre that enabled over thirty academics from across the NRP to talk to our visitors.

For further information on how businesses can work with UEA/NRP, please contact Dr Karen Smith in the first instance at

Datathon Success

Sixty data experts and dementia researchers came together to be part of the DPUK Datathon, held at UEA on 6-8 November. The three-day event aimed to uncover fresh approaches to working towards a cure for dementia. The project was open to postgraduate students from across the country. By bringing together creative thinkers from a range of backgrounds in a highly-focused hackathon style event, the Datathon saw the fusion of traditional statistical techniques and machine learning for dementia. 

As the amount of data available is increasing rapidly, it is becoming vital to innovate in order to make sense of it and gain new insights. Data experts have the keys to some of the biggest health challenges of our time. For instance, the difficulty in understanding the invisible early stages of dementia is one of the biggest barriers to progress in treatment development today.

The Datathon began with a series of short talks, with Prof. Dylan Edwards (UEA) opening the event. Presentations were delivered from Dr. Sarah Bauermeister (University of Oxford), Dr. Rafael Jimenez (Alzheimer’s Research UK), Prof. Michael Hornberger (FMH, UEA), Dr. Vanessa Raymont (University of Oxford) and Prof. Chris Fox (FMH, UEA) amongst others. The speakers covered a range of areas with a focus on the role of data and technology in accelerating dementia research, understanding lived experiences and addressing the questions of early diagnosis and prevention.

The talks were followed by intensive, lively workshops led by Dr. Saber Sami (FMH, UEA), Dr. Sarah Bauermeister and Chris Orton (DPUK).

A launch dinner was held at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts including a drinks reception and a tour of the gallery. The Datathon concluded with an “open mic” summary, which gave delegates an opportunity to share their findings.

This event was a partnership initiative with UEA, the Alan Turing Institute, Alzheimer’s Research UK and DPUK. It was sponsored by the Research England Connecting Capability Fund EIRA project (Enabling Innovation, Research to Application).

For more information about UEA research in this area or EIRA please email Dr Karen Smith at


EIRA Healthy Ageing: Research to Application Event

The EIRA Healthy Ageing: Research to Application Event took place at the Wellcome Collection in London on the 9th July 2019. The event attracted over eighty delegates drawn from across the EasternARC and EIRA networks and industry and charities based in the eastern region.


Keynote speaker Anne-Marie Minihane, Professor of Nutrigenomics at ‪Norwich Medical School, UEA discussed several issues such as defining those at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease taking into context nutrition, cognition and brain vitality. She also presented research looking at how a slight increase in the recommended daily dose of Omega-3 can sustain good brain health for longer and posed the question, if we adopt a Mediterranean, plant-based diet in the UK, will this help our brain vitality?

Dr Karen Smith, UEA’s EIRA Team Manager, also invited Mr Alistair Moir of the History of Advertising Trust to speak at the event. Alistair presented on the archive collection of advertisements based in Norfolk and the exciting reminiscence iTeams project he’d been working on with UEA students this year.

For more information about UEA research in Healthy Ageing, the EasternARC, EIRA or iTEAMs, please email Karen at

Clinical Entrepreneurs Forum Event 28 June 2019

Clinical Entrepreneurs Forum Event

A Health Enterprise East (HEE), Eastern AHSN and UEA Health and Social Care Partners (UEAHP) organised event providing an exciting learning and networking opportunity for clinical entrepreneurs working in Norfolk & Suffolk to receive “one to one” mentoring and coaching sessions from a range of specialist experts took place at the John Innes Conference Centre on the 28th June 2019.

Dr Karen Smith, EIRA Team Manager and Relationship Manager for Medical & Life Sciences, UEA and UEAHP said:

“It is wonderful to see that, of the eight entrepreneurs presenting today, two are EIRA funding recipients - Dr Sheng Qi from the School of Pharmacy, UEA (Proof of Concept award) and Liane Elliott from ‘All Things Antenatal’ (Intern award). I would also like to thank Prof Ric Fordham and Dr Georgios Xydopoulos (Norwich Medical School) for being two of the commercialisation mentors providing expert advice today.”

For further information about EIRA funding or Health Economics expertise at UEA, please contact Karen at

Bridging the Gap Workshop for HSC

This workshop for academics based within the School of Health Sciences (HSC) was the idea of Prof Kristie Sanderson, Chair of Applied Health Research and was run at the Queens Building, UEA on the 27th July 2019.

Dr Karen Smith and Richard Clarke from Research and Innovation Services (RIN) both gave presentations about how academic staff could work more effectively with industry. They highlighted several case study examples, drawn from within the university, of where effective and high value research collaborations, consultancy and contract research relationships with industry have been established focusing on how this was done. Along with Kristie they participated in a Q&A session for the academics present. The workshop was well received and they were invited back to run another on the topic of funding opportunities.

For more information about HSC visit the school website

UEA present on i-TEAMS at Runway East London

Dr Karen Smith and Dr Faye Outram delivered lectures on how the i-TEAMS scheme can help tech transfer, as well as commercialising business ideas to other Enabling Innovation Research to Application (EIRA) higher education institutions at Runway East London on the 17th June 2019. (Runway East provides high-growth companies with the office space, support and connections they need to take off).

Training focused on how to launch and run an ‘iTEAMS’ effectively. Since i-TEAM started at UEA/NRP five years ago, over 120 students have participated on a total of 19 projects which have led to 3 institutional spin-outs (IsoChemix, Spectral Edge and Intelligent Fingerprinting) and nearly £1M of additional income through translational funding and revenue generation. One of the tech projects highlighted from this year was ‘MyEvolution’ - a health professional training and career tool being developed in the Norwich Medical School, UEA.

To find out more about research at Norwich Medical School, i-TEAMS or the EIRA programme please contact Karen at and see

Innovate UK Workshop

Innovate UK – UEA Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences (FMH) Innovation Workshop, 16th May 2019

The UEA Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences (FMH) Innovation Workshop with InnovateUK, was held on campus at the Constable Terrace Doctoral Training Centre Training Room on the 16th May 2019. The day was designed to inform UEA - FMH researchers about funding opportunities for academics to work with industry partners and facilitate future discussions around potential collaborations. Twenty-five academics from both the Norwich Medical School and the School of Health Sciences attended as did Mark Hitchcock the MD of UEA Health & Social Care Partners.

Prof Michael Hornberger (FMH) gave an illuminating introductory talk about FMH industry interactions to date and encouraged colleagues to avail themselves of the new opportunities ahead.  Jan Stringer, Knowledge Transfer Adviser for Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and London East presented several interesting case studies showcasing how academia and industry combining forces could result in significant wins for both. She also spoke about the Innovate UK programme and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. Dr Karen Smith, UEA Relationship Manager for Medical and Life Sciences and EIRA Team Manager also spoke about a range of funding opportunities including upcoming calls from Innovate UK and the full range of EIRA funding interventions available. You can contact Karen via email

Future Tech Roadshow

The Future Tech Roadshow was held at the Earlham Institute on the 26th April 2019. It was a joint event by the Norfolk & Waveney STP, EAHSN, UEA and Hethel Innovation and was supported by supported by the NHS Leadership Academy, NHS Health Education England and Skills for Care. It attracted well over 100 delegates from across the region who heard about the latest developments in MedTech.

UEA held a special session in the afternoon focusing on Dementia MedTech and Prof Michael Hornberger Norwich Medical School gave the keynote talk entitled “Dementia and technology – where are we now?”  There were then 3 sessions:

Session one focused on Pre-Diagnosis and Dr Alpar Lazar School of Health Sciences talked about ‘Sleep technology and dementia prevention’ he was followed by Dr Gillian Coughlan Norwich Medical School, who focused on ‘Big data and diagnostics of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease and then Dr Saber Sami, Norwich Medical School who talked about ‘New imaging stratification techniques for improved diagnostic and prognostic accuracy in dementia.’

Session Two was on Post-Diagnosis and Prof Chris Fox Norwich Medical School talked about ‘How do people with dementia and carers find Assistive Technology places, replaces or displaces care for independent living with cognitive impairment? From a quantitative perspective.’ and Prof Fiona Poland School of Health Sciences, then discussed the same from a qualitative perspective. Dr Vaisakh Puthusseryppady Norwich Medical School then spoke on ‘Spatial Disorientation in Alzheimer’s Disease: From Virtual Reality to the Real World’.

Session Three focused on ‘What Next’. Dr Karen Smith  Research & Innovation Services, UEA gave a talk about Funding Opportunities and there was a Panel- identifying both pre and post diagnosis priorities. You can contact Karen via email at

Fulfilling the promise of AI & disruptive technologies: UEA and EIRA event with IBM

This fascinating event at the UEA Enterprise Centre on the 28th March 2019 explored the opportunities presented by not only AI, but also the Internet of Things and technology more generally. Our panel, representing our region’s key sectors, discussed the practical applications at the front end of business.

The audience, drawn from businesses and academics from across the region, heard from Andy Stanford-Clark – CTO at IBM UK, ‘Master Inventor’, and UEA alumnus and was compered by Tim Robinson, COO at TechEast.

The panel included:

  • Healthcare – Ben Meen, Project Manager at Norse Care
  • Energy – Rob Bush, Operations Manager at EEEGR (East of England Energy Group)
  • Finance – Owen Morris, MD at Aviva Quantum (Aviva’s Global Data Science Practice)
  • Retail – Rohit Chaturvedi, Team Lead at Tech Mahindra (working with East of England Co-op)
  • Water – Dr Vittoria Danino, Head of the Anglian Centre for Water Studies, Anglian Water

Also joining the panel was Prof Emma Griffin, from UEA, providing perspective from her latest project ‘Living with Machines’, set to be one of the biggest humanities and science research initiatives ever in the UK.

The event was sponsored by EIRA, a project driving growth in the East of England by connecting businesses with academic expertise, facilities & funding across 3 themes: AI, Biotech & Digital Creative.

For further information, contact: Dr Karen Smith, Relationship Manager Medical & Life Sciences and EIRA Team Manager.


UEA Innovation & Impact Awards 2019 – Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences (FMH) Winners

Winners of the Innovation and Impact Awards 2019 were announced on Thursday 31 January at a glittering ceremony held at the Sainsbury Centre. The Awards were presented by guests from a range of businesses and organisations that regularly collaborate with UEA, and the ceremony featured a keynote address from Doug Field, Chair of New Anglia LEP.

The Awards celebrate staff and students who have shown a strong commitment to innovation and impact, and recognised vital collaborations between UEA and organisations outside of higher education.

Finalists, UEA staff, guests, and external organisations, attended for networking drinks, a three-course meal, and presentation of the awards. The evening was a great success and a true celebration of the world-changing research and innovation activities taking place at UEA. 

The winners from FMH were:

  • Award for Student or Graduate Innovation and Enterprise – Dr Oskar Wendowski (MED/PHA) and Dr Thuria Abduljhbar (MED) for e-Surgery
    Presented by Rebecca Lewis Smith, Fountain Partnership
  • Outstanding Impact in Health, Wellbeing and Welfare – Dr Karen Bunning (HSC) for ‘Childhood Disability in Rural Kenya
    Presented by Richard Snell, IBM

Prof Fiona Lettice, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, hosted the evening and said:

“UEA truly is a hub of pioneering, ground-breaking research excellence and innovation, and these awards celebrate the fantastic work being undertaken by our staff and students alike. They also highlight the support of our external collaborators, without whom such successes would not be possible.”

Each finalist received a trophy to commemorate their achievement and each category winner will also receive funding towards a marketing venture for their project, to further their impact and reach.

For more information about the Innovation & Impact Awards 2020, please email Dr Karen Smith at

Doctoral Antimicrobial Research Training MRC iCASE Programme

Members of the Norwich Research Park (NRP) have launched the DART iCASE programme, funded by the MRC for studentships in partnership with non-academic partners.

iCASE studentships:

  • Provide students with experience of collaborative research with a non‐academic partner.
  • Strengthen and develop collaboration and partnerships between research organisations and non‐academic partner organisations.
  • Offer outstanding students an experience of at least two distinct research cultures.
  • Provide access to a wider-than-usual range of technology, facilities and expertise.
  • Enable the student to spend a period of time with the non-academic partner.

DART MRC iCASE studentships are funded for 3.5 years: they provide a stipend to the student at the standard UKRI rate for each year, tuition fees, and an RTSG (Research Training Support Grant) allowance to cover both academic lab expenses and travel and accommodation costs for conference attendance.
All iCASE students will be required to spend a minimum of 3 months (maximum 18 months) working with the project’s non-academic partner. The timing of the placement may be in one single block or variable periods spread out over time as best suits the project.
Projects must contribute to the prevention or improved treatment of infectious diseases, and collaborations with a wide range of companies and organisations will be supported:

  • small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • companies within the local area or which have specialist technical expertise
  • national and multinational companies (with a UK base).

In exceptional cases, organisations based overseas may be eligible, but only where they can provide the student with an opportunity to gain skills not currently available in the UK.

Partner Contributions

The non-academic partner must make a specific, identifiable contribution to the research training of the student. In addition, non-academic partners must meet:

1. All costs associated with the placement and visits to the company/non-academic partner.
2. An annual cash contribution to the academic partner towards the cost of the project of at least £1400 per annum, for the period during which research data are being collected and analysed – a minimum of 80% of the approved length of the studentship (not required for SMEs; see below).
3. A mandatory cash payment of at least £2500 per annum as a supplement to the stipend for the entire length of the studentship award (not required for SMEs; see below).

SMEs are not required to the make contributions listed under points 2 and 3, as these will be met by the MRC programme (SMEs are companies that meet the definition included in Recommendation 1996/280/EC of an SME i.e.: The enterprise must have a staff headcount of less than 250; The enterprise must have a turnover not exceeding €50m and/or a balance sheet total not exceeding €43m).
For further information on developing a project proposal, please contact: Dr Karen Smith, Relationship Manager Medical & Life Sciences —

Norfolk businesses offered AI, biotech and digital creative funding through EIRA

The power of artificial intelligence, biotechnology and digital creative will be harnessed by business thanks to a new partnership between seven universities and colleges.

The EIRA project, meaning Enabling Innovation: Research to Application, was awarded £4.7m from Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund and is now open for applications from businesses looking to innovate by working with academics.

The aim of EIRA is to drive growth and increase productivity in the East of England by transforming the way businesses connect with universities including the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Norwich University of the Arts (NUA).

Dr Karen Smith, EIRA team manager at UEA, said: “The EIRA scheme will leverage our expertise into strategic sectors for this region to help them and the local economy grow. Furthermore, the scheme will support interaction between UEA and local businesses that will result in knowledge exchange and innovations to support business growth in a skill poor region. Local companies will also benefit from the scheme helping to retain graduate talent within the region.”

With a range of majority-funded grants available, EIRA will help businesses of all sizes develop new products, services, and Support includes Innovation Vouchers to fund access to academic expertise and Research and Development Grants. More opportunities are in development, with Innovation Internships and start-up microfinance.

Partners from industry, regional membership organisations, and local enterprise partnerships strengthen EIRA’s offering. They include BT, TechEast, AgriTech East, Digital Catapult, South Essex Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP).

Businesses and academics interested in accessing EIRA funding for innovative projects can find out more at You can also hear Karen’s interview on Future Radio with presenter Richard Maun about how businesses can harness the research power of universities through projects like EIRA.

NPL visit UEA

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) visited the Norwich Research Park on the 13th December 2018 and were hosted by Dr Karen Smith at the Enterprise Centre.

About NPL: NPL is the UK's National Measurement Institute, and is a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate measurement standards, science and technology available. NPL share their expertise with government, business and society to help enhance economic performance and the quality of life. NPL's measurements help to save lives, protect the environment, enable citizens to feel safe and secure, as well as supporting international trade and companies to innovation. See for further information.

Highlights:  included presentations by Ms Lisa Leonard, Head of Regions, NPL Strategy, Regional Development and Skills; Dr John Molloy, Regional Development Manager,       Agritech and Future Communications; Mr Andre Burgess, Strategic Business Development Manager, CAV, Digital Economy, Energy Sustainability and Dr Emiliana di Santis, Higher Research Scientist, Biometrology, Life Sciences and Physical Metrology.

There was a Networking Lunch that enabled over a dozen academics from across the Norwich Research Park to talk to our visitors informally and this was followed by a series of individual meetings between PIs and the NPL.

For further information on how businesses can work with UEA/NRP, please contact Dr Karen Smith in the first instance at


On the 21st November 2018 Dr Karen Smith hosted a visit by GSK to UEA. 25 UEA academics drawn from across the Schools of Medicine, Biological Sciences, Computing and Pharmacy enjoyed a fascinating visit from the GSK Discovery Partnerships with Academia Unit (DPAc).

The DPAc unit have an innovative approach to drug discovery. Set within GSK’s research and development organization, it is dedicated to creating highly collaborative relationships with leading academic researchers and believes that working closely together and combining the different strengths of the company with academics is a great way to develop new medicines that truly benefit patients. The concept has proved simple but powerful: bring together the insight and creativity of the academic world with the drug discovery expertise, capabilities and resources needed to make a medicine. The visit was designed to inform UEA researchers about the DPAc model and facilitate networking and discussions of potential collaborations.

Dr John Liddle, Senior Director & Discovery Partnerships Leader, DPAc and Dr Andy Pearce, DPAc Partnership Leader Europe gave a highly informative talk about the programme and answered questions at the end. This was followed by a networking lunch to ensure everyone could speak to John and Andy informally. Prof Laura Bowater kindly introduced the poster session held in the Julian Study Centre.

After  lunch our visitors had a series of one-to-one meeting with Prof Michael Wormstone, Dr Sam Fountain, Dr Sean Bew, Dr Mark Williams and Dr Mohammad Hajihosseini.

If you would like to find out more about drug discovery activities at UEA please contact Dr Karen Smith at

UEA & Earlham Institute host Genome Technologies and Innovation Workshop

This exciting and inspiring event attracted over 80 delegates from across the East of England and was held at the Earlham Institute on the 31st October 2018. The agenda for the day is highlighted below:


09:50 - 10:10  Prof Colin Cooper, UEA
10:10 - 10:30  Rob Kingsley, QIB - ‘Phylogenomics of Salmonella pathovariants’
10:30 - 10:50  Justin O’Grady, QIB - 'Rapid metagenomic diagnosis of hospital acquired pneumonia'
10:50 - 11:00  David Thybert, EI – ‘A framework for the sequencing and assembly of rodent genome at the chromosome level’


11.10 – 11.30  Thorsten Langner, TSL - 'Genome Architecture of Fungal Plant Pathogens'
11:30 - 11:50  Jemima Brinton, JIC
11:50 - 12:10  Prof Anne-Marie Minihane, UEA - 'Human genotyping as a public health and clinical tool'
12:20 - 12:30  Darren Heavens, EI ‘Comparing library construction strategies to improve assembly of A. thaliana data when using nanopore technology’
12:30 - 13:40  Tour of EI Labs (30’)* / Innovation Station chats for PhD students (Wallace Room)*
*Optional session


13:40 - 14:00  Iain Macaulay, Earlham Institute - 'Single Cell Sequencing at the NRP: Decoding Living Systems One Cell at a Time'
14:00 - 14:20  Ofir Meir, Tropic Bioscience - ‘Harnessing Genome Editing Technology to Drive Innovation in Tropical Crops’
14:20 - 14:40  Alison Johnson/Megan Abigail, Food Forensics ‘Application of NGS in Food Authenticity’
14:40 - 14:50  Q&A
15:10 - 17:00  Planning and Next Actions (Darwin Room)* Case study, Announcement of ‘Pilot Grant Programme in Genomics Innovation’ winners, Introduction of ‘Industrial Challenge Seed Fund’, Group Discussion and Report
17:00 - 17:00  Close

A wide range of companies attended and these included: Astra Zeneca, Dovetail Genomics, Hethel Innovation, PacBio, Oxford Nanopore, Perkin Elmer, Qiagen, Tropic Bioscience, Thermo Fisher and TTP Labtech.

Thanks to:

Prof Laura Bowater

Academic Director of Innovation, UEA

For co-organising the event and approaching EI with the idea of a cross-NRP Genome Technologies & Innovation workshop

Dr Karen Smith

Relationship Manager Medical & Life Sciences & EIRA Team Manager, UEA

For co-organising the event and securing funding of the event through UEA Research England Industrial Strategy seedcorn funds

Dr Karim Gharbi

Head of Genomics Pipelines, Earlham Institute

For co-organising and hosting the event

Dr Emily Angiolini

Head of Training, Earlham Institute

For co-organising the event and logistics support from the training team

For further information about UEA genome technologies please contact Dr Karen Smith at

Chief Economist of Nuffield Trust visits UEA

Prof Ric Fordham and Dr Karen Smith were delighted to welcome Prof John Appleby to UEA as the latest speaker for the ‘Big Picture: Health Economics and UK Health Policy Seminar Series’. His talk was held in the Zuckerman Institute on the 11th September 2018.

John joined the Nuffield Trust as Director of Research and Chief Economist in September 2016, after 18 years at The King’s Fund. He is also a Visiting Professor at the City Health Economics Centre, City University London and Visiting Professor at the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College. He has previously worked in the NHS in Birmingham and London, and as senior lecturer at the universities of Birmingham and East Anglia. For five years he worked for the National Association of Health Authorities (now the NHS Confederation) as manager of the Association’s Central Policy Unit.

John has acted as an advisor to the UK government and Parliament in various capacities, for example, carrying out a review for Ministers of the future funding needs of Northern Ireland’s health service, and as a task force member for the Marmot Commission on health inequalities; a special adviser to the House of Commons Health Select Committee, member of the National Quality Board’s Priorities sub-committee and as a member of the Department of Health’s Stakeholder Reference Group on patient reported outcome measures.

So his talk entitled ‘NHS at 70: Time for retirement?’ was eagerly anticipated and garnered many insightful questions from the audience that included senior health economists, medical practitioners, policy makers and academics. There was a buffet and wine networking session at the end to enable further discussion.

If you are interested in Health Economic Consulting at UEA please see their website or contact Dr Karen Smith at

UEA host Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Thought Leadership Event

UEA held a very insightful and enjoyable AMR Thought Leadership event on campus at the Julian Study Centre on the 11 September 2018.

The event was hosted by Prof Laura Bowater, Academic Director of Innovation and convened by Dr Karen Smith, Relationship Manager for Medical & Life Sciences. Laura got proceedings underway by highlighting the range of AMR work being undertaken at UEA and on the wider Norwich Research Park. She then introduced Prof Alan Johnson of Public Health England who addressed the question ‘Antimicrobial resistance: is there still a problem in the UK?’ Following his illuminating talk, Daniel Berman of NESTA talked about the Longitude Prize a challenge with a £10 million prize fund to help solve the global problem of antibiotic resistance. Rachael Hore from Results UK then talked about drug-resistant TB and the role of policy. At this point the speakers and 50 delegates present enjoyed a short coffee break and were able to look at posters displayed by post-graduate students and post-doctoral researchers in the break-out area. On returning to the lecture theatre Dr Davide Manissero of Shionogi talked about when a new antibiotic makes it to  the market and how to ensure a healthy and long life for drug and patients. The final talk about FMT and Phage therapy as alternative strategies to combat superbugs was given by Prof Arjan Narbad of the Quadram Institute. There was then a panel Q&A, drinks reception and networking. Throughout the day artist and illustrator Rebecca Osborne captured the key messages and this was displayed along with the posters.

The event was part of arrange of activities that have revolved around ‘Superbugs: the fight for our lives’, a one year exhibition that UEA is sponsoring at the national Science Museum in London. Other activities have included UEA participating in a Museum ‘Lates’ event based around AMR which attracted approx. 4,000 visitors on the night and also an AMR video competition for local schools which resulted in children from the two winning classes enjoying prizes that included a coach trip to the Museum to see the exhibition, tickets to Wonderlab and the 4D Legend of Apollo movie.

To coincide with this event, Karen hosted a visit to UEA in the morning by Dr Kai Stoeber, the VP of Global innovation, Shionogi (a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan He met with several PIs including Prof Michael McArthur, Prof Matt Hutchings, Dr Justin O’Grady and Dr Barbara Jennings.

For further information about AMR research at UEA please contact Dr Karen Smith at

Announcing the winners of our AMR Video Schools Competition

In honour of the UEA’s ‘Superbugs: The Fight for Our Lives’ antibiotic resistance exhibition on show at the London Science Museum, the SAW Trust and the UEA gave local schools the chance to take part in a film making competition.

The Superbugs exhibition explores how society is responding to the enormous challenge of antibiotic resistance, whilst giving audiences a chance to see real bacteria and discover the innovative technologies being used to make superbugs a thing of the past.

We asked schools to come up with a short film that conveyed a public health message associated with antibiotic resistance. The more creative, innovative and exciting ideas, the better! We received a number of excellent entries that included the promotion of good hand washing techniques to limit the spread of infections, the importance of finishing your course of antibiotics, and explaining how antibiotics aren’t always needed to get better.

The Judging Panel was composed of: Prof Laura Bowater, UEA; Prof Matt Hutchings, UEA; Dr Karen Smith, UEA; Dr Jenni Rant, SAW Trust and Dr Seema Patel, Pfizer.


We are pleased to announce the winners:

1st Prize:

Hevingham and Marsham Primary School (Teacher – Sam Gibbons)

See their winning video

2nd Prize:

Mile Cross Primary School (Teacher - Mark Pinner)


Congratulations to both classes won a complimentary trip to the London Science Museum to see the Superbugs exhibition, inclusive of travel costs, simulator tickets and goodie bags.

Dr Karen Smith joined the winning class from Hevingham and Marsham Primary School at the Science Museum on the 17th of July to congratulate them and joined them in touring the highly informative Superbugs Exhibition, exploring the inspiring ‘Wonderlab’ and watching the exciting 3D motion theatre film ‘Legend of Apollo’.



If you would like to find out more about AMR research at UEA, please contact Karen at

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