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NHS Scotland Assure awards new £1million budget

Edinburgh Napier University will receive a £1m research budget for developing international best practice in the built environment for healthcare.

Published on 06 May 2022

NHS Scotland Assure logo: a purple circle containing the name overlapping with a blue circle containing the text Quality in the healthcare environment

The £1million fund, launched on 1 April 2022, is open to researchers who are looking to work collaboratively to identify ways to deliver safe healthcare environments that are free from avoidable risk.

NHS Scotland Assure has been designed to improve the management of risk in the built environment across Scotland, providing greater confidence to stakeholders. A key focus is to develop opportunities for multi-disciplinary working within the healthcare built environment.

This fund aims to provide opportunities to explore development of a consortium of different disciplines which delivers research in line with the identified needs of NHS Scotland Assure. The service will share best practice case studies in standards and models for the built environment.

The buildings and environment in which healthcare is delivered play a large part in preventing and controlling the risk of transmission of infection and other harms, and it is essential that buildings are safe, resilient and not vulnerable to these risks, where they can be prevented.

The guidance and advice generated by NHS Scotland Assure helps to ensure that patients, their carers and those delivering healthcare are in an environment which is not only safe but also effective and person-centred. Research plays a pivotal part in supporting this as it ensures that produced guidance and given advice are based not only on best practice but also on best evidence.

It will also ensure that the most up-to-date and robust research is translated into practice to improve future health outcomes.

Over the next two years, the research programme will focus on eight healthcare environments:

  • Water systems, including drainage (Design, Installation, Commissioning and Maintenance (DICM))
  • Ventilation systems (DICM)
  • Pathogens, the microbiome, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), transmission risks and burden of disease in the hospital environment 
  • Hospital design, including size and single room provision 
  • Lessons learned from COVID-19
  • Human factors/Ergonomics and Infection Prevention and Control 
  • Climate change requirements and the unintended consequences on built environment risks 
  • The role of safety and harms in relation to medical gases, electrical systems and fire safety

The closing date for the first round of funding applications, based on research meeting one or more of the eight themes above, will be set for July 2022. 

Professor Nick Antonopoulos, Vice Principal, Research & Innovation, Edinburgh Napier University, said:

“We are very excited to announce this award, which is a good fit for the University’s experience and ongoing strategy, and reflects our commitment to develop our well-established research and teaching expertise in health and wellbeing.

“The success of the fund will be a priority for our Schools of Applied Sciences and Engineering & the Built Environment, and the University’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise department, who will all play their part in supporting the research programme.”

The Research Service at Edinburgh Napier will also be running regular events over the next two years, to nurture an inclusive approach between professional roles within the built environment and across infection prevention & control (IP&C); healthcare providers; academia; and research institutions.   

Further information and relevant pro formas for application can be found on Edinburgh Napier's website.