LJMU has been awarded approximately £490,000 from Research England’s first ever International Investment Initiative (I3).
The award has been jointly made to LJMU and The University of Western Australia (UWA) for the international collaboration project, i-CARDIO.
The project has a dual focus; the first component is the delivery of workshops to develop innovative ways to detect cardiovascular diseases for preventative intervention using imaging techniques. The second element is the evaluation of Australia’s model of accreditation of clinical exercise scientists and physiologists. The accreditation incorporates university and work place-based learning to enable graduates to secure roles in the healthcare system as recognised allied health professionals.
The partnership between LJMU and UWA has been ongoing since 2007 and the funding has been awarded by Research England - part of UK Research and Innovation - to scale up the existing international research collaboration.
Professor Helen Jones of the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences and the project’s Principal Investigator, explained: “As part of our collaboration with UWA we have previously delivered our imaging workshops in both countries. We have provided training for academics and clinicians from around the globe in the use of high resolution imaging of the heart and arteries. Part of the i-CARDIO project focuses on upscaling these workshops so that new and robust approaches can be developed for the early detection of cardiovascular diseases. The second component is to study how academics at UWA educate their students to integrate into the healthcare sector for the effective prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases. We will evaluate the process they have in place in Australia to progress their sport and exercise science students from undergraduate level into what is now recognised as a highly cost effective allied health professional in clinical exercise science. We do not have this pathway in the UK, primarily because exercise as preventative medicine is not recognised or utilised here. We are keen to explore if a system is possible in the UK.”
Professor Danny Green, who heads the UWA collaborative team and helped develop the application, added: “We are very excited about this collaborative opportunity with our friends and colleagues from LJMU. The development of clinical exercise science as an allied health profession has been transformative in the Australian higher education sector and has directly impacted patient health and well-being. This project will enable us to share our 20-year experience, and also learn from our UK colleagues, to ultimately enhance the well-being of people from both countries.”
In total eight universities received £3.6 million from the first investment to be made through I3. Launched in 2018, the scheme aims to strengthen universities’ contribution to society and the economy, enhance the UK’s position as a world leader in global science and innovation and contribute to the Government’s commitment to increase R&D spend to 2.4% by 2027.
The partnerships, involving collaborators in nations ranging from Canada and Australia to Singapore and Finland, will build capacity and capability across the sector and address major industrial and societal challenges in healthcare, sustainable technologies and Artificial Intelligence.
Research England worked with Universities UK International (UUKi) in the delivery of I3, which supports existing, strategically-significant and excellent partnerships. UUKi advised on the development of the fund and provided advice and support to the assessment and panel process.