Many clinical challenges persist in the field of incontinence because it is a condition that historically has received relatively little attention in the research environment. IMPRESS has been developing a national multidisciplinary network for incontinence research and we work to showcase the difficulties of dealing with this condition as a way of drawing together scientific experts, facilitating new research collaborations and inspiring novel ideas for next generation treatments.
What Has IMPRESS Achieved So Far?
IMPRESS is a medical technologies research project funded by an EPSRC and NIHR partnership. It aims to boost research collaborations related to incontinence.
We host incontinence focused multi-disciplinary events for knowledge exchange and networking opportunities.
We fund early stage research projects which seek to address incontinence needs with novel use of technologies.
We regulate our work through a team of academic, healthcare, industry and charity partners.
The impact of our work so far is evidenced by a range of publications from research papers to broad reach articles and even comics.
Where Are We Going?
Since 2014 IMPRESS has been funded by a partnership between the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). This first phase of funding drew to a close at the end of 2018 but the work of IMPRESS continues. Going forward IMPRESS will be managed by the Surgical Medtech Cooperative under their Colorectal Theme.
During 2019 IMPRESS will forge ahead, developing a number of projects in partnership with the Surgical MedTech, using their industry links to help translate incontinence technologies further towards patient benefit. Some of the highlights we’re excited to be working on include:
Kids Wearable Tech: Starting in 2018 and building on a range of workshops in collaboration with TITCH , we’ve seen huge enthusiasm from children, families and healthcare professionals in the early prototypes we’ve developed for a smart device app to help primary school aged children manage their continence issues. In 2019 we will continue to refine the design, working alongside Bristol University who are developing a similar aid for secondary school aged children.
Rethinking the Female Urinal: Working in conjunction with D4D and researchers at Bristol University we’ve been developing concepts and prototypes for improved female urinals. This is an area of huge unmet need and from our early work there is clear potential for innovations that could bring benefit in a range of circumstances.
Faecal Pellet Sensor: IMPRESS supported this early-stage technology development work which demonstrated the promise of enhanced sensing for the diagnosis of faecal incontinence and improved long term treatment. The technology is maturing and will now benefit from the support of the Surgical MedTech in moving towards pre-clinical evaluation.
IMechE Incontinence the Engineering Challenge XII: We’re excited to be involved in this conference. Dr Pete Culmer is co-organising the event alongside colleagues from across the IMPRESS network. More information here.