A Physics Professor at the University of Strathclyde has been awarded a prestigious Chair in Emerging Technologies by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng).
Professor Keith Mathieson’s appointment will enhance his research into technologies interfacing with the brain that aim to advance treatments for brain disorders, dementia and sight loss.
Professor Mathieson has been Director of Strathclyde’s Institute of Photonics since 2012 and will use the funding to explore neurotechnologies to treat these conditions. His aims will include systems for restoring functional vision to blind people, to be developed in partnership with Stanford University.
He is also to establish a centre for excellence in neurotechnologies at the University.
Professor Mathieson took up his 10-year chair appointment on 1 April.
Professor Mathieson said: “The Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies will enable me to take forward my research into much-needed new technologies to further the understanding of brain circuits and how they are affected in neurological disorders.
“The human brain has almost 100 billion neurons and we need new tools to deepen our understanding of its complexity. This should in turn lead to the development of new treatments for degenerative neural conditions.
“One of the main goals of our research is to develop a retinal prosthetic device to restore useful sight to patients with degenerative retinal conditions. We aim to do this through the development of a high-resolution optoelectronic retinal prosthesis capable of restoring near-normal vision to the diseased areas of the retina - a step change in the field of visual prosthetics.”
Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “The new technological areas advanced by our Chairs in Emerging Technologies have the potential to transform our everyday lives, as well as positively impact to the UK’s economy and generate new sources of wealth. Engineering is critical to achieving the goals of the UK government’s industrial strategy, and investment in emerging technologies means that we can secure our footing in important future markets.
“For these technologies to reach their full potential it is important to invest in the pioneering individuals who advocate for them, as without their vision and foresight it is difficult to identify the products and services of tomorrow.”
Professor Mathieson’s appointment will be worth just over £2.6 million in funding over its 10-year term.
The Royal Academy of Engineering Chairs in Emerging Technologies supports world-leading engineers to advance new technological areas that have the potential to significantly benefit society and the UK economy.
The Institute of Photonics, within Strathclyde’s Department of Physics, is based in the University’s Technology and Innovation Centre. This is sited in the Glasgow City Innovation District, which is transforming the way academia, business and industry collaborate to bring competitive advantage to Scotland. The model – which is recognised for improving productivity, creating jobs and attracting inward investment in several cities around the globe – brings together researchers and high-growth firms with technology and creative start-ups, to work side-by-side in vibrant, walkable innovation communities.