Keele-led engineering initiative leading research to tackle Covid challenges

A not-for-profit group of engineers led by Keele University’s Professor Peter Ogrodnik have appealed for support to help them tackle challenges facing the NHS posed by Covid-19.

ENG4 was set up by biomedical engineer Professor Ogrodnik during the first Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020, after he put out an appeal for engineers to come together to help the NHS by building ventilators to address the shortage.

Since putting the appeal out, more than 300 volunteer engineers have signed up to be part of the initiative, with a number of project leaders also being assigned to lead the group’s work tackling healthcare challenges posed by the pandemic.

The team leaders include a hospital doctor, a software engineer, and a public health chartered environmental health practitioner, and along with their teams of volunteers the group are working to find innovative and technical solutions to the problems Covid-19 is posing for the health service and the wider public.

The projects they are working on include the development of anti-microbial coatings for hospital clothing to minimise viral transmission, protective face coverings and resourceful methods to enable opening of doors without hand contact. Other innovations such as developing reusable hospital gowns are also being investigated, and the group have developed a public information film on the correct ways of wearing a mask.

The group hope their work will enable the lifting of lockdown restrictions by both slowing the spread of the virus in the wider community, as well as helping the health service to cope with increased demand through technical innovations.

The project also poses the possibility for the creation of jobs, as the intention is for any products arising from the research to be manufactured in the UK.

Professor Peter Ogrodnik said: “The collaborative is in the process of becoming a registered charity and we are actively seeking a Patron for the charity who can assist our mission. It is exciting to find new technical and scientific solutions to Covid-19 and to be part of a dynamic, innovative team of volunteers who are passionate about the project. A Patron would be a real asset to our charitable venture, to assist with our fund raising, by raising the Profile of ENG4, and our crowdfunding page.”