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Fernandes Fellows enrich our departments, applications now open for the next cohort

Dr Leandro Pecchia, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, nominated and hosted two Fernandes Fellows in 2019. Dr Pecchia is Director of the Applied Biomedical Signal Processing and Intelligent eHealth (ABSPIeH) Laboratory at University of Warwick which aims to face emerging problems of health and wellbeing, especially in later life. Dr Pecchia said;

“The United Nations has set 17 interconnected Sustainable Development Goals to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. In my opinion, a multidisciplinary approach is the only way to face these global challenges and achieve our goals.

The ABSPIeH is a multidisciplinary laboratory of biomedical engineering, which is the application of engineering to biology and medicine. We are 12 members (7 PhD students, 4 PDRAs and me) from 4 Continents (America, Asia, Africa and Europe) with different backgrounds, including engineering, math, health economy, computer science, medical physics and pedagogical sciences. However despite this, fostering and supporting multidisciplinary collaboration is not easy.

Dr Giuseppe Fico and Dr Alessia Maccaro, who both won fellowships to join our department last year, have fundamentally improved our approach to think and act with true multidisciplinarity. Giuseppe has enriched our lab with his long experience of translational medicine, Alessia with her background in philosophy and bioethics.

Last week we were all in Rome for the world conference of Clinical Engineering. Observing our members enthusiastically engaged in deep conversation on the concept of Free Will and moral implications arising from translating our research into everyday clinical practices was a dream becoming true!”

If you would like to host a Fernandes Fellow, applications are now open.

Supported by a generous donation from Warwick alumnus Rui Fernandes, the Fernandes Fellowships aim to develop lasting research collaborations between Warwick and Europe. The Fellowships allow those in research, tenure-track or early academic positions at European institutions to undertake a three-month visit to Warwick (possibly split over two or three visits).

The nine high-calibre academics, who were recruited during the first round of the fellowships programme, have demonstrably strengthened Warwick’s research collaborations with European universities.

Gatekeeper2Dr Fico, who was nominated and hosted by Dr Pecchia, emphasized his gratitude for the programme;

"Thanks to the Fernandes Fellowship I’ve improved my skills in coordinating systematic research activities. I’m defining methods and tools to inform policy-decision makers in healthcare and I’m learning how to do research-orientated teaching. The domino effect of my Fernandes Fellowship has already been incredible”.

The strength of collaboration between Dr Pecchia and Dr Fico is evident by the recent successful award of a €20million Horizon2020 project. Working together with a range of partners they will develop GATEKEEPER, an innovative tool that connects healthcare providers, businesses, entrepreneurs, elderly citizens and the communities in which they live, in order to originate an open, trust-based arena for matching ideas, technologies, user needs and processes. Ultimately, this aims to ensure healthier independent lives for ageing populations.

Professor Seán Hand, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Europe) at the University of Warwick said;

“I am confident that we shall observe the multiple dynamic effects of these exciting Fellowships for many years to come. The Fernandes Fellowships Programme at Warwick has quickly gone from strength to strength and we are very grateful to our donor, Rui Fernandes, for making this possible.”

The Fernandes Fellowships act as an effective catalyst for fellows to further their research and their careers. Dr Maccaro has recently been awarded a highly prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie WIRL-COFUND Fellowship which will enable her to continue her research at Warwick for a further two years;

“The Fernandes fellowship has given me the opportunity to focus my field of research, and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and expertise between Warwick and the University of Naples Federico II. I believe that my Fernandes fellowship and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie WIRL-COFUND Fellowship will give me the opportunity to continue my international research activity, trying to do my best to make this world a better place”.