£13m for new surgical technology centre

University College London (UCL) has been awarded over £13m from Wellcome and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop a special centre focussed on the development of new surgical technologies.

The Wellcome/EPSRC Centre for Surgical and Interventional Sciences at UCL will bring together a wide team of engineering and clinical experts working to develop a range of new technologies. It will have a particular focus on intraoperative imaging and sensing, data fusion and extraction, human-technology interfaces, tissue modelling, interventional instrumentation and surgical navigation.

It’s hoped that advances in these areas will help create an intuitive and highly personalised surgical platform that enables more precise, less invasive procedures.

Greater precision will also mean more patients will be viable for complicated but life-altering surgery and those treated are expected to benefit from safer, more localised treatments and a shorter recovery time in hospital.

Centre director, Prof Sebastien Ourselin, said: “Being able to apply our excellence in engineering to the field of surgical and interventional sciences will allow us to come up with truly innovative solutions to the range of clinical problems surgeons face. Our research will be developed in close collaboration with UCL’s six specialist research hospitals to ensure we are producing world-class, high-impact results.”

The Centre will partner with specialist hospitals associated with UCL to ensure fast translation of technology to the clinic. These include University College Hospital, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Royal Free Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital.

Wellcome’s director Dr Jeremy Farrar, said: “Wellcome Centres play a special role in the global research ecosystem. By creating places where researchers can flourish we can catalyse world-leading research and translation, and amplify its influence and impact. At Wellcome we believe in long term support for discovery-driven science, and Wellcome Centres are an outstanding environment for researchers to further our understanding of fundamental biology, accelerate translation to clinical practice, and explore the social and cultural context of medicine.”