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Equity and Improvements in Health and Wellbeing

A healthy life for everyone

We work to improve healthcare to create equal opportunities for everyone to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

We put our global knowledge into action to promote wellbeing across mental, physical and social health in all parts of society.

Using nanotechnology to target drug therapies

What problem does the research address? 

The development of new drug therapies costs up to £4bn to reach FDA approval stage however many therapies are not reliable despite this significant investment. For example, approximately 99% of drugs administered through freely circulating methods do not reach their target site.

How is the research impactful? 

Our work focuses on the use and understanding of gold nanoparticles for more effective and targeted therapies. This has considerable importance for pharmaceutical research, with the potential to optimise medical intervention for diseases including cancer, dementia and COVID-19, as well as improve the delivery of new vaccines. These ground-breaking therapies could significantly reduce the side effects associated with other treatments, like chemotherapies.

Where was the research impactful regionally and globally?

UK, USA and China

Uses of gold nanoparticles in cancer treatement

Who are the key partners and collaborators? 

Emergex, Proxima Concepts, Ascend Diagnostics, St Mary's Hospital, UCL, ASU, Imperial College London, King's College Hospital, Nanjing University of Science and Technology and other partners in China.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Equity and Improvements in Health and Wellbeing theme links to 12 Sustainable Development Goals. The goals were set by the United Nations General Assembly as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Preventing railway suicide

What problem does the research address? 

Every life lost to suicide on the railways is a tragedy, with immeasurable emotional costs to bereaved family and friends, as well as train drivers and other witnesses. We were commissioned to carry out this research by the suicide prevention charity Samaritans, on behalf of the rail industry, to better understand how to support people in crisis and prevent future suicide attempts.

How is the research impactful?

The project contributed to suicide prevention activities including changes to industry practice and staff training and an award-winning public awareness campaign called ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’. This led to a significant decrease in suicides on the London Underground and increase in life-saving interventions at railway locations by staff and members of the public. Universities UK recognised project lead Dr Lisa Marzano as a “Nation's Lifesaver” for making a life-changing difference to UK health and wellbeing, and she received a ‘Lifesaver Award’ from Transport for London.

Where was the research impactful regionally and globally? 

UK railways and coastal locations, roads and bridges, Germany, the Netherlands.

Small Talks Saves Lives campaign poster

Who are the key partners and collaborators? 

Samaritans, Rail Safety and Standards Board, Transport for London, Network Rail British Transport Police, ProRail Netherlands, Caritas Berlin. Colleagues at the University of Westminster and Canterbury Christchurch University.

Image: Samaritans

Improving children’s digital experiences

What problem does the research address?

There are concerns about the harmful impact of the internet on children’s wellbeing, including of viewing pornography. Before our research however there was a lack of incontrovertible evidence about the effects of the internet on young people’s behaviour. There were also gaps in policing practice and statutory requirements to protect them online.

How is the research impactful?

Our research findings and recommendations relating to the digital experiences of children and young people across the UK have informed important legislative, policy, education and policing changes. This included a new statutory requirement to teach relationships and sex education in all secondary schools and the Online Safety Bill 2022 which promises to give users more control over who can contact them and what they see online. Our work also lead to changes in police practice and training for front line practitioners internationally.

Where was the research impactful regionally and globally?

Across the UK and Netherlands, Italy and Ireland.

A child using the internet on a phone

Who are the key partners and collaborators?

Office of the Children’s Commission for England, NSPCC, Barnardos, Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command as part of UK's National Crime Agency, European Commission, Internet Watch Foundation.

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We want to find novel solutions to the practical problems facing the planet, and do that in collaboration with other researchers around the world.

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