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Ulster University recognised in UK’s Best Breakthroughs List

Work of NeuroCONCISE celebrated for transformational impact of movement free communication technology and its contribution to health and gaming industries

An Ulster University invention using wearable technology has today been named as one of the UK’s 100 best breakthroughs for its potential to significantly impact on people’s lives.

The NeuroCONCISE project led by Professor Damien Coyle, is honoured in the UK’s Best Breakthroughs list of the last century for pioneering work in wearable movement-free communication technology which translates brainwaves into control signals and may be used to help people with brain injuries interact with technology and, communicate with their families.

In November 2018 at the Institute of Engineering and Technology Innovation Awards, NeuroCONCISE won the best start up category and, competing against 350 other impressive innovations, won the overall Innovation of the Year Award. The judges stated that they felt that this project was something genuinely important, pulling on many interesting disciplines such as Artificial Intelligence, electronics, software and big data, and interweaves them in a solution that promises real developments in the field.

The list of breakthroughs in the UK’s 100 best demonstrates how UK universities are at the forefront of some of the world’s most important discoveries, innovations and social initiatives, including the discovery of penicillin, work tackling plastic pollution, ultrasound scans to check the health of unborn babies and the establishment of the Living Wage.

The list also highlights the less celebrated but vital breakthroughs that transform lives, including a specially-designed bra to help women undergoing radiotherapy; a toilet that flushes human waste without the need for water; the development of a new scrum technique to make rugby safer; a sports initiative that aims to use football to resolve conflict in divided communities; - and even work to protect the quality of the chocolate we eat.

The list was compiled by Universities UK, the umbrella group for UK universities, as part of the MadeAtUni campaign to change public perceptions of universities and bring to life the difference they make to people, lives and communities across the UK.

James Nesbitt, Chancellor of Ulster University commented:

“The life changing impact of the work of Ulster University’s students and staff is felt locally and globally across a range of sectors and I’m proud that the world leading expertise of NeuroCONCISE has been recognised by Universities UK on the UK’s best breakthrough list.

Our research and expertise coupled with industry leading collaborations in data science, stratified medicine, mental health sciences and the create industries continue to support the development of a better society for all. The real life impact of our work is evidenced in projects such as SafeWater, providing pioneering solutions to tackle global clean water challenges, to ActionSense, an organisation creating wearable technologies that aid remote rehabilitation and analysis, to SonoTarg, a new microbubble technology found to kill pancreatic cancer cells and SolaFin2Go creating standalone solar systems for cost effective access to electricity and thermal hot water for households in sub-Saharan Africa.

The MadeAtUni campaign is an incredibly important initiative for Ulster University as it allows students, alumni, the local community and the wider population to understand the work that we do and the impact it has.”

Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, said:

“Universities really do transform lives. The technology we use every day, the medicines that save lives, the teachers who inspire – all come from UK universities and the important work being done by academics.

The UK’s Best Breakthroughs list is a testament to the difference that universities make to people’s lives and we want everyone to join us in celebrating the work they do.”

The UK’s Best Breakthroughs list: 100+ Ways Universities Have Improved Everyday Life was put together in partnership with universities across the UK. As part of the MadeAtUni campaign, every university in the country was invited to nominate the one thing from their institution which they believe has had the biggest impact on people, lives and communities. Over 100 universities submitted a nomination. The entries cover health, technology, environment, family, community and culture and sport.

You can find out more about the UK’s Best Breakthroughs and the MadeAtUni campaign here www.madeatuni.org.uk.


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