Blog posts

Top tips for budding innovators

Having an idea that could make a difference is only the beginning of becoming the next big innovator.

As we gear up for the opening of our 2019/20 IGHI Student Challenges Competition on 7 January, we’ve gathered some top tips from IGHI and Imperial College London’s many experts in innovation to help you bring your ideas to life.

These innovative individuals draw upon a wealth of experience and knowledge that they’ve built up from establishing their own start-ups or working in innovation.

Read on for their words of wisdom, and if you’re inspired by these, why not submit your global health project for our Student Challenges Competition in January, for the chance to win £10,000?

What’s it like to…work in health policy?

By Gianluca Fontana, Senior Policy Fellow and Director of Operations, Centre for Health Policy, IGHI

In my first job out of university, I was a management consultant. That led me to work on glamorous and intellectually stimulating activities such as figuring out how to distribute fresh fish in a supermarket display to maximise sales. But I’ve always had a passion for healthcare. So through the years, I was able to get myself involved with much more interesting projects.

Sharing healthcare data for better and safer care

By Dr Ana Luisa Neves, General Practitioner and IGHI Research Fellow

The promise of healthcare data is staggering – and now, we have the information and tools to use it effectively that we’ve never had before.

Electronic health records can contribute to making life-altering changes in patient education and treatment. We’re increasingly realising their potential as a powerful resource for researchers and policymakers. Applying big data analytics in electronic health datasets can help us better understand patient needs. We can identify underserved or excluded groups and therefore contribute to delivering safer, better, and more patient-centred care.

However, much still needs to be done to increase the availability of healthcare data before these goals can be realised.

Black History Month – celebrating IGHI people

For Black History Month, we’re highlighting some of our talented and inspirational IGHI staff members. We’re proud of our staff who help our Institute thrive with its cutting-edge research.

Meet Ovuefe and Davina, who are passionate about working in health and their roles at our Institute. We caught up with them to learn a little bit more about what made them choose this sector, their careers, and what they hope to achieve here at IGHI.

Melting minds: how is the climate crisis affecting our mental health?

By Dr Emma Lawrance, IGHI Mental Health Innovations Fellow

It is the cliche refrain that every new generation hears: “You don’t know how lucky you are. Back in MY day…” [insert terrible circumstance here]. And young people today are indeed lucky in many ways, with new opportunities facilitated by new technologies always emerging. But they also face rising mental health challenges. Levels of emotional distress are increasing in UK youth to the extent it’s oft branded a “crisis”.

The finger of blame is pointed to numerous potential causes – increased pressure in the schooling system, social media and cyberbullying, unstable employment prospects.

Playing with nature and technology for innovative children’s hospice care

By Ivor Williams, Senior Design Associate

Every day, around 360,000 babies are born around the world. Most will lead long, healthy lives into adulthood. Sadly, a minority experience a very short life due to illness or live with a long-term or life-limiting disease. For these children, palliative care can transform their experience, helping them live with a greater quality of life, while also supporting their family and friends.

Palliative care is an active and total approach to care, from the point of diagnosis, throughout the child’s life, to death and beyond. As a holistic care it embraces physical, emotional, social and spiritual elements and focuses on improving the quality of life of everyone involved.

How robots in space could lead to better healthcare on Earth

By Justine Alford, IGHI Communications Manager

Working in space comes with its fair share of challenges, to put it lightly. There’s the lack of gravity, extreme temperatures, intense cosmic radiation, delays in communication, clunky space suits, to name just a few things that astronauts contend with.

This complex environment means that tasks we would consider straightforward back on planet Earth, such as gripping and manipulating objects, are surprisingly difficult and time-consuming to accomplish. As humans continue to ramp-up their space exploration endeavours, attempting more daring feats and travelling deeper than ever before, scientists need to address these obstacles for future missions to be successful.

Putting people at the heart of dementia research

By Justine Alford, IGHI Communications Manager

All around us, technology is making our lives easier. Google Maps has allowed us to ditch the A-Z; apps can bring you everything from takeaways to taxis; Alexa won’t let you forget your anniversary again; the World Wide Web is your never-ending guide to everything on this planet and beyond; the list is seemingly endless.

Yet while many of us may be most familiar with the convenience and shortcuts that everyday technology bestows us, its potential to positively impact our lives stretches far beyond this. Arguably one of technology’s greatest assets is that it is an enabler, allowing ordinary people to do more.

How wearables could help tackle sepsis

Our immune system serves to protect our bodies from threats, such as rogue cells that could turn cancerous, or infections that could harm our health. But the immune system can also go wrong, and do more harm than good.

This is what happens in sepsis, or “blood poisoning”, where the immune system goes into overdrive while attempting to clear an invader, such as harmful bacteria, and inadvertently attacks person’s tissues and organs. This life-threatening reaction is estimated to affect close to 150,000 people each year in the UK alone.

World Sepsis Day, on September 13th, seeks to raise awareness of this serious condition, which could take as many as 6 million lives across the globe each year.

What’s co-production in research?

Imagine this hypothetical scenario: a group of researchers are working on novel ways to detect early warning signs that a patient’s condition is getting worse. They think a wearable device that automatically alerts both patients and healthcare professionals to potential problems would be an innovative solution to enable earlier detection.

So the team members put their heads together and come up with a new wearable sensor that they think would greatly benefit patients and professionals alike. But when they test it with patients for the first time, they don’t get the feedback they’d hoped for. Users find it awkward, difficult to set up, clunky and uncomfortable.