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UCLan’s Allied Health Research Unit exemplifies the University’s dedication to industry partnerships

UCLan is evolving into a world-class centre for original research. Working closely to deliver projects with real world impact, UCLan is setting the standard of what can be achieved through academic to industry partnerships.

Using the wealth of knowledge that is housed within UCLan’s academics, researchers, students and graduates UCLan can help drive companies forward by providing essential services such as product design, feasibility studies and biomedical product testing.

Both global and local partners such as Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and fashion retailer, Vanessa Merle, have benefited from working in partnership and tapping into the University’s expertise.

Various research and development projects conducted by UCLan have had substantial impact for the industry partner involved. Whether it is giving a business the confidence to move forward to the next level of product development, the confidence to move into new markets or generating research that could revolutionise the experience of end users, UCLan and industry partnerships have a direct and lasting impact.

Jim Richards

UCLan’s Allied Health Research Unit (AHPRu) was established in 2004 and strives to combine world-class research with inter-professional work. By forging strong links with allied health industry professionals they aim to not only bring understanding of the industry, but also to collaboratively develop innovative equipment that ultimately improves quality of life for patients.

Led by Professor Jim Richards and Professor James Selfe, the research team now has 20 research active staff and 30 PhD students. The teams’ work includes research and development into treatments to reduce joint pain and improve rehabilitation following sport injuries. One such project was the development and testing of the ‘Rehab Angel’, a piece of equipment that treats tendon overuse syndromes by facilitating limb decline squat exercises at varying gradients. The design directly mirrored the team’s research outcomes and the end product can be used effectively by clinicians to deliver a gradual rehabilitation programme to patients.

‘Rehab Angel’, and the AHPRu’s wider work on sports injury rehabilitation, was featured in a prestigious journal. Published to recognise the contribution universities have made to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the journal was compiled by Universities UK and the Research Council UK. The feature was the latest in a string of recognition both on a local and international level. The AHPRu team recently showcased their work to Her Majesty the Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh when they visited UCLan’s Burnley Campus as part of the Jubilee tour.

UCLan recognise that their rich academic community lies at the core of their research capabilities and invests considerably in the development of their people. The University has embraced Erasmus; a programme that enables higher education students and staff to study, train or work abroad in a choice of 33 European countries. Under this programme the AHPRu have forged close links with the University of Porto in Portugal and there are plans for UCLan PhD and MSc students to work from the new Porto Biomechanics Laboratory.

The University continues to set a world class standard of what can be achieved through partnerships with industry. Just over the past year UCLan has conducted pioneering research that has led to industry providing safer household materials, products that improve the end user’s life and better public services.