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Engineers assist efforts to offer support during pandemic

03 June 2020 @TeessideUni

 

Teesside University engineers have been involved in helping to provide vital support both home and abroad during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Michael Short, from the University’s School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies, has been involved with a team which has been busy liaising with local companies and national groups related to PPE production and distribution.

The team’s collaboration led to the creation and design of face mask filters and visors which have been donated to keyworkers across the region in healthcare, retail and the police. The most recent local delivery included visors to the Unicorn Centre in Middlesbrough, which provides horse riding for disabled children and adults.

Claire Pitt, Unicorn Centre manager, said: 'We are a small registered charity and it has been very difficult financially for us during lockdown. As the Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease, we have been looking to start preparing for starting up some of our activities again, but as we have no budget for PPE this donation of face shields will help us to take those first steps. We’re utterly grateful.'

Dr Short said: 'It has been a real community-led effort which we have been proud to be part of. We are pleased to have been able to share the Universities’ expertise and join forces with local businesses and other volunteers in the region.'

Further afield, Dr Short has also been providing technical support for an overseas initiative launched in response to Covid-19 to design ventilator prototypes which could help to provide life support for patients in Nigeria.

The not-for-profit Ikuku Ndu challenge aimed to encourage teams of industrialists, doctors, academics and students in Nigeria to create prototype designs using locally sourced materials.

Dr Short, a Reader in Engineering and academic lead for the University’s Centre for Sustainable Engineering, was part of an advisory panel comprising international medical, technical and crisis response experts.

At Teesside University, we are ready for the challenges ahead whether they be at a local, national or international level.

Dr Michael Short, Reader in Engineering

He has been working closely with Ikpeka Princewill, lecturer at Federal University of Technology in Nigeria, who is also a member of the Centre for Sustainable Engineering. They led the challenge with support from the Nigerian community and the University’s research centre, and also received funding support from the Maths4Life charitable foundation.

As a result of the challenge, three designs – all judged as meeting World Health Organisation (WHO) ventilator specification requirements – where shortlisted. Two of those designs have progressed to the prototype manufacture stage, with the future aim of patent application support and wider rollout across Nigeria.

Dr Short said: 'It has been an honour to support this important initiative and to provide technical guidance, specifications advice and to critically judge entries.

'Engineering research, development and technical innovation are proving to be key elements in the recovery from the global crisis caused by Covid-19. At Teesside University, we are ready for the challenges ahead whether they be at a local, national or international level.'

Ikpeka added: 'The Ikuku Ndu challenge was envisioned to encourage local experts in Nigeria to design and build low-cost, simple and easy to use ventilators that can serve Covid-19 patients within an emergency timeframe.

Dr Short and other members of the advisory panel have been providing critical technical insights to support and judge the design challenge. Little efforts really do make a big difference.'


In the News

University academic provides key workers PPE in the region
Northern Echo, p.4 and online, 26/06/2020
A Teesside University academic has provided and distributed PPE to businesses across the area.


Helping charity to get back in the saddle
BBC Tees, 8/6/20
Dr Michael Short talked about his involvement in efforts which are helping local businesses and charities during the covid crisis


Charity set to saddle up safely
Evening Gazette, p.7, 04/06/2020
Engineers from Teesside University are helping a much-loved charity get back in the saddle.


Horseriding charity saddles up for reopening with support from university
Gazette Live, online, 03/06/2020
Engineers from Teesside University are helping a much-loved charity get back in the saddle. The experts are part of a team working with local and national groups to produce and distribute PPE.


Engineers assist efforts to offer support during pandemic
North East Chamber of Commerce, online, 03/06/2020
Teesside University engineers have been involved in helping to provide vital support both home and abroad during the Covid-19 pandemic.