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Research project ‘will change the world’

26 August 2014 @TeessideUni


An innovative research project to help children understand more about older relatives suffering from chronic pain has topped a survey to find 20 new ideas from UK universities that will change the world.

The survey – commissioned as part of Universities Week 2014 – asked the general public about the issues that they want university research to address. 30% of respondents said they wanted improved wellbeing in old age, 47% wanted better treatments for the UK’s most deadly diseases, a quarter wanted technologies that would improve people’s quality of life and 38% said they cared about living in cities that are safe, enjoyable places.

Twenty UK university research projects that hope to tackle these were highlighted as part of the celebrations for Universities Week and Denis Martin, Professor of Rehabilitation at Teesside University, topped the list with an innovative way of using comic book superheroes to help children understand more about older relatives suffering from chronic pain.

Working with academics from various institutions and London firm Medikidz, the comic uses superheroes to put medical information into plain words which children can understand. It can be difficult for a child to comprehend an adult’s physical pain – whether through injury or illness – as there may be no visible symptoms.

Professor Martin said: ‘The idea for the comic came about as we were talking to older people to find out their ideas on how to improve the lives of people living with chronic pain.

'We learned that there was a need to help grandchildren to better understand the experiences of a grandparent living with chronic pain.’

View the full list of 20 ideas that could change the world