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Past Events

Assistive Technologies – Medilink EM Thursday 8 November 9.30am-2pm, Woughton House, MK6 3LR

The event will showcase the expertise of academics working in the area of assistive technologies focusing on the development of novel solutions to challenges faced by SMEs working in the field of assistive technologies. The workshop will begin with a series of presentations from experienced academics followed by an opportunity to network and discuss how industry can work with the Open University to address the challenges faced in the development, application and commercialisation of assistive technologies.


Topics that will be presented on:
– Assistive Technologies for active and healthy ageing

– Solutions for Assistive Technologies in the 21st Century

– What practitioners want?

This free to attend event is being held as part of the ACTIS programme – a project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, click here to be re-directed to further information about the project.

The programme for the day can be found here.

PRA Seminar Series

17th January 2017 at 12.30 in CMR 15
Andrew Smith, Senior Lecturer in Networking the STEM School of Computing & Communication presents: ‘Pedagogical Social Media – how the experiences of network engineering could be translated into health and social care’ (open to all)

The Cisco networking team within the STEM faculty have been using social media as part of the teaching experience since 2013. Engaging students and other communities of practice via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This seminar explores what has been accomplished – where Twitter/Facebook and Facebook Live have been adopted and changed the way we interact with our students and wider community of practice.

14th March 2018 at 12.30 in Library Presentation Room
Dr Jerome Devaux, Lecturership in French from Faculty of WELS presents: Interpreting in the Healthcare Context: The interpreter as the third participant (open to all)

This presentation will first cover the history of interpreting in the health sector. Based on the main research paradigms in Interpreting Studies and the most recent findings, the second part will examine the reasons why interpreters should no longer be considered as ideological invisible language conduits but as fully-fledged participants. The third part will focus on how technologies, such as videoconferencing systems, have impacted on the role and the work of the interpreter. This presentation will conclude by presenting some potential research avenues.

16 May 2018 at 12.30 in CMR15
Dr Sarah Russell, Head of Research and Clinical Innovation from Hospice UK, details TBC (open to all)

Fast Track Impact Workshop, 7th December 2017

We invite health and wellbeing researchers to this impact workshop run by Professor Mark Reed from Fast Track Impact. Fast Track Impact are an international training company working in the Higher Education and research and innovation sectors. They provide up to date training based on the latest research that can be tailored to specific needs of attendees. Please get in touch if you have specific issues around impact that you would like addressing.

Participants will also receive a copy of the acclaimed Research Impact Handbook and will receive ongoing support from Prof. Reed during a five week follow up programme. Spaces to this workshop are limited so please email to reserve your place.

2nd Digital Health & Wellbeing Conference, 1st – 3rd May 2018

This years theme is “Fusion – All things Digital Health & Wellbeing”.. After a successful symposium held in March 2017, we have decided to extend and expand. The 2nd Digital Health & Wellbeing Conference is a 4-day conference held at The Open University campus, Milton Keynes. Due to the nature of the conference, we aim to challenge research and practitioners to explore, uncover and inspire the ethos of Digital Health & Wellbeing & how this can be deployed across varying environments, research & practice, innovation, health, community and non-profit organisations.

Call for Papers: We are seeking papers, symposium, doctoral work and workshop papers to be presented during the 3-day conference. The deadline for all submissions is 30th November 2017.

Registration is now open! For More details visit the conference website . If you have any queries contact the conference organisers via

26th October 2016: Dr Alex O’Neill-Kerr, Medical Director Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust presents: ‘Magnets in Mental Health: The New Way Forward’ (open to all)

Dr Alex O’Neill-Kerr (Medical Director Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust) will talk about the Neuromodulation Centre’s clinical experience with rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation). This is a new clinical application of magnetic energy to the brain in order to treat Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD). He will discuss the clinical application of rTMS and some of the current theories about its mode of action and the results achieved in our clinic from a patient experience perspective, as well as details of a particular aspect of iWantGreatCare that was introduced into the prisons that are serviced by the Trust.

1st February 2017: Paul Griffiths from Age UK Milton Keynes presents: ‘Local Services Provided by Age UK Milton Keynes’ (open to all)
The talk will be followed by a Q&A session with Paul.

29th March 2017: Professor of Psychology & Health (Open University) and Senior Scientific Adviser at NIHR, Louise M Wallace presents: ‘NIHR – Understanding what success looks like, trips, pitfalls and getting involved’ (internal only)
Prof. Wallace has ample NHS and research experience and is currently a Senior Scientific Advisor for NIHR.
The presentation will include:
• Overviews of NIHR health services and delivery research programmes
• Information about ‘Health Services & Delivery Research’, ‘Research for Patient Benefit’ and ‘Public Health Research’ research programmes
• Selection criteria
• Common pitfalls in proposals
• How to approach a proposal
This will be followed by an open session where you will get the opportunity to bring your ideas or proposals to Professor Wallace for confidential discussion.

5th July 2017: Muhammad Khan, Medical Advisor at ORCHA (Organisation for the Review of Care & Health Applications) presents: ‘Promoting better apps for better outcomes’
(open to all)
Apps are presenting new and exciting opportunities for both users and the NHS, and represent a considerable opportunity for both patient and health service benefits. As of 2015, it was estimated that 71% of Britons (45.5million in total) owned a smartphone, 75% use smartphones or tablets to search for health information online, and over 90% would use mobile-health services to engage with healthcare professionals, in the event that these services were available.
Apps enable the possibility of making positive changes from the comfort of your own home, and not confined by the constraints of appointment times and waiting lists, can enable the treatment of thousands of individuals at the same time, with the treatment of one individual having absolutely no impact on the time and resources available to treat others.
Regrettably however, while poor quality pharmaceuticals and medical devices rarely find their way to patients, the same cannot be said about the largely unregulated market for health apps.

25th September 2017 at 12:30 in CMR 15
Professor Martin Vernon, National Clinical Director for Older People and Person Centred Integrated Care, NHS England presents: ‘Ageing Well: Reducing unwarranted variation in health outcomes’ (open to all)

By 2025 it is estimated that the number of people aged 65 and over will increase by 20% to over 12 million. While we can expect the overall prevalence of disability in older people to remain constant at around 20%, the absolute numbers living with lost functional ability is expected to increase by a quarter to nearly 3 million people. There is emerging evidence of significant and sustained differences in the trajectories of frailty and wellbeing between the richest and poorest thirds of the population across cohorts as they age. Taking these various factors into account, this seminar will provide an overview of recent developments in NHS England’s approach to supporting the population to age well and provide opportunity to explore ways in which we can begin to reduce unwarranted variation in health and well-being in late life.

7th November 2017 at 12:30 in CMR 01
Emily Oliver, Senior Education Research Manager from the British Red Cross presents: ‘First Aid – A gap in public health strategy’ (open to all)

The British Red Cross promotes first aid education as easy to learn, easy to remember and easy to do. It is based on medical and educational science. Yet research shows increasing numbers of people attending A&E and using GP services for minor ailments and conditions, many of which could be treated at home. Evidence also suggests that people are confused about what constitutes ‘urgent care’ and about the range of services they might access for different conditions. Recent thinking about first aid education broadens its scope away from traditional curricula, aiming to develop learners’ confidence and willingness. Based on a newly developed ‘Chain of Survival Behaviour’ by the International Federation of the Red Cross, it endeavours to emphasise planning and preparing for medical emergencies, thus placing it more firmly within the public health agenda. As a preventative health too, we make the case for first aid in Public Health.

Mental Health Seminar Series

2nd May 2017: Professor Cathy Lloyd and Professor Louise Wallace (OU) present: ‘Multi-Country Research: The ‘wow’ and the home truths’ (internal only)
Conducting applied research can be can be taxing, and often deflating, especially when a bid you felt passionately about doesn’t get funded, or when a paper you have spent an age working on gets rejected. There are also additional challenges in the area of engagement with participants (e.g. service users and/or providers). These research challenges pop up for even the most seasoned academics. In our next “Priority Research Area – Mental Health Seminar” Professor Cathy Lloyd and Professor Louise Wallace will share their top tips on “getting over the barriers”, and will highlight how they have managed to overcome the road blocks in carrying out complex mental health research projects across several organisations and countries. The session will also involve brief presentations from the Mental Health Research Group’s members who have a recently completed a project (or have one in the pipelines). The session will be held in-person between 1-3 pm on 2 May 2017 at Walton Hall (The Open University, Milton Keynes) and concurrently online for those that pre-book.

30th October 2017: Autumn OU Mental Health Research Group
1. Journal selection – finding the right home for that mental health paper you have written.
2. ‘Getting over writer’s block’ – what to do when you’re stuck on a mental health paper.
3. ‘Top tips for rebuttals’ – managing challenging manuscript reviews and/or funding applications.

Professor Louise Wallace is also going to be presenting on NIHR funding opportunities.

Death & Dying Seminar Series

Details and recordings of past seminars can be found here.

Digital Health & Wellbeing Symposium 2017

The first Digital Health and Wellbeing Symposium was a huge success. We welcomed researchers and healthcare professionals from a wide range if institutions, many of which were able to build their networks at the event. The talks were fantastic and provided great insight into interesting research areas within Digital Health and Wellbeing.

The videos can be replayed via stadium (The Open University’s webcasting platform) using the links below, alternatively you can download the PowerPoint presentation.

Friday 24th March, 2017

Time Schedule Presentation
08:45-09:45 Registration
09:45-10:00 Welcome Address
Professor Regine Hampel, Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
Watch the replay
10:00-10:30 Dr Josephine McMurray, Wilfred Laurier University, Canada Title of Presentation: Tertius iungens: Connecting the disconnected and other notions that help build ecosystems to support health & agetech innovation
10:35-11:05 Dr Malcolm Fisk, De Montfort University Title of Presentation: Developments in Telehealth: How Consumers will Change the Way that Services are Provided
Watch the replay
11:05-11:30 Comfort Break & Networking
11:35-12:05 Dr Matthew Fay, GP Principal The Willows Medical Practice, West Yorkshire Title of Presentation: A new paradigm in palpitation management
Watch the replay
12:10-12:40 Dr Charles Musselwhite, Swansea University Title of Presentation: Supporting mobility of older people: Why technology is getting it wrong
Watch the replay
12:40-13:45 Lunch & Networking
13:50-14:45 Panel Discussion Watch the replay
14:50-15:15 Dr Elisabeth Boulton, University of Manchester Title of Presentation: Motivating 60-70 year olds to be more active using smart technology: The PreventIT project
Watch the replay
15:15-15:30 Comfort Break & Networking
15:35-16:05 Professor Josie Tetley & Dr Emma Koivunen, Manchester Metropolitan University Title of Presentation: Using technology to reduce isolation
Watch the replay
16:10-16:35 Dr Verina Waights, The Open University Title of Presentation: Enhancing quality of life of carers through innovative ehealth technologies
Watch the replay
16:35-16:50 Closing Remarks Dr Hannah R Marston, Research Fellow, Health and Wellbeing Priority Research Area

Save the Date – Health & Wellbeing PRA – AWAY DAY 2 July 2019

Are you a researcher interested in Health & Wellbeing? Date: 2 July, 2019 Time: TBC Location: Chicheley Hall The Health and Wellbeing PRA Team will be hosting our third annual Away Day event on 2nd July 2019 at Chicheley Hall. The aim of the day is to get health and wellbeing researchers together to develop and reflect on all aspects of health and wellbeing research. There will be talks...

Opportunities for Retreats, Writing Days, Sandpits and Meetings

We are delighted to announce that the PRA has several opportunities throughout the coming year for events to be held off campus.  We have availability in October 2018 and February, March, May and July 2019 for meetings to be held at Horwood Estate. These meetings would include a working lunch and refreshments for up to 10 people.  These could be used for grant writing days, scoping...

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