Research for Health challenges 2015

Selected Challenges for 2015

We have already engaged with healthcare workers, managers and commissioners to collect information about problems they encounter in their practice. We have selected 8 of these challenges to form the basis of the stage 2 funding call for solutions. University of Bristol researchers can apply for up to £25k funding from the EBI to enable them to work with the person who put the challenge forward and start to develop innovative solutions.

The selected challenges are outlined below. You can view a short film for the first 6 challenges, describing the problem and outlining potential solutions. You will find some key words under each video and these should enable you to quickly decide whether a particular challenge is likely to be relevant to you and your area of research. The last 2 challenges have written descriptions. You will also find further information about each challenge in the attached documents.

The call for applications is now closed. For further information or to register your interest in this scheme please contact Sarah Blackmore

Charlotte Bradbury - 'Predicting patient responses to immunosuppressive treatment in autoimmune thrombocytopenia (ITP)'

R4H Challenge Form - Charlotte Bradbury (PDF, 76kB) ‌


  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Predicting Response to Steroids
  • Assay Development

Wesley Hayes (1) - 'Develop a method to measure kidney transplant perfusion in real time' 

R4H Challenge Form - Wesley Hayes (1) (PDF, 49kB)


  • Renal
  • Measuring Blood Flow 
  • Real-time, Continuous Measurement 
  • Near Infra Red Spectroscopy (NIRS) 
  • Oxygen Saturation 
  • Physicists 
  • Engineers

Wesley Hayes (2) - 'Develop an objective tool to determine fluid overload in children receiving dialysis'

R4H Challenge Form - Wesley Hayes (2) (PDF, 48kB)


  • Kidney Failure
  • Fluid Overload
  • Total Body Fluid Status
  • Bioimpedance Spectroscopy
  • Extra/intra Cellular Water Measurement
  • Novel Techniques
  • Engineering

Raimondo Ascione (1) - 'Developing a topical “heart jacket” for structural and functional sensing during cardiac surgery'

R4H Challenge Form - Raimondo Ascione (1) (PDF, 55kB)


  • Sensor Technologies
  • Temperature Sensing/Control
  • On-body Sensing
  • Mechanical Sensors
  • Electromechanical Coupling 
  • Scar Tissue Detection
  • Wireless Technology
  • Prototype Development

Raimondo Ascione (2) - 'Developing a miniaturised heart-lung machine with pulsatile blood flow as a novel “organ maintenance” device for surgical programmes of organ transplantation and for translational research labs'

R4H Challenge Form - Raimondo Ascione (2) (PDF, 52kB)


  • Organ Transplantation
  • Miniaturisation
  • Remote Control
  • Mobile Technologies
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physiology
  • Computer Science

Kate Rush - 'Why do a significant but small number of injecting drug users in Bristol develop MRSA sepsis and what can we do to reduce this?'

R4H Challenge Form - Kate Rush (PDF, 49kB)


  • Bacteria
  • MRSA
  • Intravenous drug use
  • Infection

Fiona Hayes - 'Is there any direct correlation between anxiety disorders in young people and time spent using screen technology?'

Further information about this challenge will follow shortly

Phillip Simons & Ann Sephton - 'Do Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) Toolkits performed in a community setting prevent hospital admissions and improve health outcomes?'

R4H Challenge Form - Phillip Simons & Ann Sephton (PDF, 42kB)

The CCG are proposing for local GPs to perform a CGA toolkit which could be used to identify and assess frail elderly individuals who can then be targeted for appropriate management with an aim to improved health outcomes. These CGA toolkits are proposed to be completed by a number of the primary health care team for example community pharmacists and HCAs.

There is a recognised lack of evidence for CGA toolkits in a primary care setting in preventing hospital admissions or for improving health outcomes. This is therefore an important area for primary care research and an area worthy of further scrutiny.

It would represent an opportunity for the University of Bristol researchers to be involved at an early stage in a new service, and help the CCG discovering whether there were outcome benefits obtained from using the CGA toolkit.

The CCG aim is to establish how best to provide effective, consistent high quality, affordable care in the community for patients with frailty. Assessment of the CGA toolkit would assist the CCGs with answering this question.
It is envisaged that a systematic review might be the first step and then applicants would need to design a study which would produce outcomes such as, but not limited to:

  • Does the toolkit Identify frailty effectively?
  • What effect does the toolkit have on outcomes for frail patients?
  • An analysis of patient and carer satisfaction.
  • Does use of the toolkit reduce unplanned hospital admissions?
  • Does the toolkit reduce the number of patients dying in hospital against their wishes?
  • Is there a cost saving associated with use of the toolkit and if so can this be quantified?

The applicant will be expected to discuss potential outcomes with the challenge proposer and agree with them what is appropriate/practical to include in the project.

The diagram below provides a high level outline of frailty services, including the proposed brief CGA toolkit which is the focus for this project: Simons & Sephton - diagram of high level outline of frailty services (Office document, 139kB)

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