Space technology and infrastructure have the potential for wide application within society and can be a major stimulant to innovation. In the area of medical applications and healthcare this can lead to tangible improvements in quality of life. In this article, ROOM Editorial Board member, Barbara Ghinelli, considers the interaction between medical and space professionals to accelerate the translation of ideas between these disciplines, and looks at some of the novel applications of space to healthcare that are already in train at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire, UK.
Innovative ideas and solutions are often born of chance encounters between individuals with different knowledge, backgrounds and skills. Harwell Campus hosts several large national facilities that are used for a broad spectrum of scientific discovery, and is populated by a wide range of organisations in the public, commercial and academic sectors, making it an ideal location for stimulating such interactions.
These organisations include the Diamond synchrotron, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (with its ISIS neutron spallation source, RAL Space and a host of other capabilities), the Medical Research Council’s mammalian genomics institute, ESA’s European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications, the Satellite Applications Catapult, and a thriving community of commercial companies.
To aid the development of an ecosystem that promotes company growth and the commercialisation of new ideas, we have established clusters focused on the key disciplines of Space, Healthcare Technology (HealthTec) and Energy (EnergyTec).