Explore our research

Rehabilitation Sciences

Working in collaboration with healthcare professionals, research groups and industry partners to facilitate knowledge transfer to the clinical setting.

Biomechanics and Rehabilitation


The Allied Health Research Unit, led by Professor Jim Richards, has active collaborations with many hospitals and clinics in the North West as well as research groups in countries throughout the world. The AHPRu focuses on inter-professional work. By having an applied interprofessional approach there are direct parallels with the ‘real world’ of allied health work, as it takes place in practice; this facilitates knowledge transfer to the clinical setting. We have a large cohort of senior practising clinicians undertaking postgraduate research degrees. The professions currently engaged in our research projects include: occupational therapists, orthotists, osteopaths, physiotherapists, podiatrists, prosthetists, speech and language therapists, sports therapists and surgeons. This mix provides an environment that allows for open discussion of research ideas across the clinical disciplines.

Our research themes are:

  • Management of musculoskeletal conditions
  • Development of products that interact with the body
  • Management of neuromuscular conditions
  • The implementation of the research evidence base in clinical practice


The Allied Health Professions Research Network (AHPRN) was established in 2009. The Cumbria and Lancashire Hub of the AHPRN is co-hosted by UCLan (Dr Hazel Roddam, Dr Jessie Janssen and Dr Anne Milston) and the University of Cumbria (Dr Mark Stigant, Kath Ward and Dr Karen Morris), working in collaboration with clinical colleagues and was one of two national pilot sites developed from the National Physiotherapy Research Network (2005). The Hub aims to:

  • Develop a supportive, vibrant local network for AHPs involved or interested in research
  • Help AHPs to develop their research skills
  • Raise the profile of AHP research within Cumbria and Lancashire

We hold masterclass events in research skills twice a year and have a Research Mentorship Bursary open to individuals and clinical teams. These activities are subsidised by national funding secured by the Steering Group and places are open to all AHPs who work or live in the region.

The Allied Health Professions Research unit at UCLan has worked directly with over 40 small, medium and large companies since 2006 to develop and test new rehabilitation devices and equipment, designed to improve function. The key driver for this research is to provide clinicians with robust tools that they can use to evaluate, treat and therefore improve the clinical outcome in their patients. Our research has led to the design and development of new rehabilitation products and medical devices. The core impact of this work has been improvements in patient care and quality of life by improving the efficacy and effectiveness in these areas with a particular focus on the advancement of conservative management and lower limb rehabilitation. The underpinning aspect of this work is the use of biomechanical and clinical evidence derived from early “proof of principle” studies and its successful application in the clinical management of musculoskeletal and neurological problems and the support of the development of new devices to reduce pain and improve function.

Related Research Projects

Related Case Studies