People, health and wellbeing

Our research puts people at the heart of technology. We work with private, public and third sector organisations to deliver robust, inclusive, and human-centred computing technology for a diverse range of end users.

To find out more about research in this area, contact Dr Paul Cairns or read our recent publications.


Theme lead: Dr Paul Cairns

Dr Robert Alexander
Dr Iain Bate
Dr Paul Cairns
Dr Christopher Crispin-Bailey
Dr James Cussens
Dr Ibrahim Habli
Dr Suresh Manandhar
Professor Richard Paige
Dr Nick Pears
Professor Helen Petrie
Dr Christopher Power
Dr Siamak Fayyaz Shahandashti
Dr William Smith


The Wearable Clinic: Connecting Health, Self and Care

Contact: Dr Ibrahim Habli

Funder: EPSRC

Partners: Cerner Corporaton, NHS Digital, Health Innovation Manchester, Manchester Mental Health & Social Care, Manchester mHealth Ecosystem, UK Renal Registry, Withings SAS.

A collaboration between the Universities of Manchester and York, the EPSRC-funded Wearable Clinic aims to develop algorithms, statistical models, and software that integrate electronic healthcare records with data collected from wearable wrist sensors and smartphone technologies. Being able to monitor symptoms in daily life will help predict adverse events. The project will focus on two clinical exemplars of long-term conditions: schizophrenia and chronic kidney disease.


Dynamic Risk Assessment, Lloyd's Register Foundation

Contact: Dr Ibrahim Habli

Funder: Lloyd’s Register Foundation

Partner: NHS Digital

The main focus of this project is to make the system safety case dynamic and to explore ways of making relevant aspects of the safety case a run-time object capable of being 'interrogated' to inform operational decision-making and assure 'through-life' safety. The work will have to take into account different sources of information for updating risk, including: safety management, operational and maintenance data, and incident and accident reports. The project has a particular focus on healthcare applications that involve machine learning capabilities.


Reducing Medication Errors through Proactive and Dynamic Safety Reasoning

Contact: Dr Ibrahim Habli

Funder: NIHR Patient Safety Translational Research Centre

Partners: Bradford Institute for Health Research, NHS Digital, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

This project builds on the Safety Modelling, Assurance and Report Toolset (SMART) that is currently being developed and evaluated by the University of York and NHS Digital. The research will extend SMART through new dynamic risk models and uncertainty assessment algorithms for proactively computing the confidence in, and updating the reasoning about, the safety of the medication services based on real-time data.

This will be combined with a set of update rules triggering actions in response to changes in the services, clinical settings, the safety argument or the confidence in that argument, prompting action on leading indicators/precursors before they potentially develop into errors and patient harm. Usability and user acceptance is a primary requirement. Data and risk communication interfaces will be adapted to suit the different needs and concerns of various stakeholders, eg patients, clinicians, managers, researchers and engineers.


The Liverpool-York Head Model

Contact: Dr Nick PearsDr William Smith

Funder: Google, Royal Academy of Engineering, Leverhulme Trust, Forrester Cole

The Liverpool-York head model project is a collaboration with the Craniofacial Unit at Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool. The aim is to build 3D models of human face and cranium variation in order to support clinical planning and surgical intervention evaluation tools for craniofacial surgeons. This is a partner project of the Alder Hey Headspace Project, which employed 3dMD's static 3dMDhead scanning system to capture over 1,500 3D images of the human.


CRACK-IT Maximise

Contact: Dr James Cussens

Funder: NC3RS

Partners: Simomics

The Maximise project aims to develop reliable predictions that confidently classify mixtures of chemicals for acute oral toxicity, skin and eye irritation with a focus on relevance for human safety. These should fulfil acute GHS Classification and Labelling requirements for non-encapsulated agrochemical mixtures using existing information on components and formulations without the need for additional in vivo, and ideally in vitro, studies.


ACESO: Low-cost wound management system for primary care

Contact: Professor Helen Petrie

Funder: InnovateUK

Collaborators: Cadscan Ltd

The ACESO project will develop and evaluate a system to allow nurses and other healthcare professionals to monitor the status of a patient’s wound over time. The system will also guide wound management.


Assistive Adaptive Rehabilitative Technology Beyond the Clinic (AART-BC)

Contact: Professor Helen Petrie

Funder: EPSRC

Collaborators: Universities of Cardiff, Kent, Oxford Brookes, Salford, UCL, and Warwick

The AART-BC Project is investigating how people with physical disabilities use their mobility aids such as wheelchairs and walkers. Little is known about how people fare with their aids once they leave the clinic. The project is developing sensors that can be placed on the mobility aid and innovative wearable sensors for the mobility aid users. It is also developing a multi-platform app to be able to conduct experience sampling studies with the mobility aid users – sending them very short questionnaires approximately seven times a day to assess their use of their aids and what problems they might be having. The app will allow users to report a problem with their mobility aid at any time. Additionally, the project is developing a system for healthcare professionals, such as physical and occupational therapists, to easily monitor information about their patients’ mobility aid use.


GUFO: An airborne robotic assistant for older people

Contact: Professor Helen Petrie

Funder: InnovateUK

Collaborators: Canscan Ltd, Cosmonio Ltd.

The GUFO Project will explore the potential of a small drone as an assistive robot for older people living independently. The project will investigate the acceptability and usability of small drones for older people and develop a prototype with the ability to monitor for abnormal behaviour, such as falls, and find small objects, like glasses and medicines.



Contact: Dr Christopher PowerProfessor Helen Petrie

Funder: EPSRC

Collaborators: Health Sciences, Centre for Housing Policy, Stockholm Environment Institution (University of York), University of Leeds, University of Newcastle, Northumbria University.

The Co-Motion project investigated the links between mobility and wellbeing among older people as well as what motivates mobility in later life. By studying older adults, it was found that fitness and exercise are less important motivational factors than wanting to visit local friends, experience nature and investigate history in the area. The project team co-designed the Walking for Wellbeing app to encourage older adults to be more active.


Social Barriers for People with Disabilities in Digital Games

Contact: Dr Paul CairnsDr Christopher Power

Funder: Morrell Centre for Toleration

Collaborators: The AbleGamers Charity

Digital games provide immense opportunities to increase social contact between individuals. This is particularly important for people with disabilities, where games can provide social connectedness in ways that otherwise may not be possible due to their location, physical mobility or other factors. This project involved collaborative with the AbleGamers Charity to understand what social barriers there are for people with disabilities to get involved in digital games, and how those barriers compare and contrast with their non-disabled peers'.