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Bubble PAPR was created through an ongoing collaboration between Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Designing Science and University of Manchester. The three organisations work collaboratively to identify un-met clinical needs and develop new technologies and products to address and resolve them.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a ‘what do you need? How can we help?’ conversation, where Dr Brendan McGrath of Wythenshawe Hospital outlined the experiences of front-line staff using inadequate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in the ITU environment. The partners then worked with Dr McGrath and his clinical colleagues to design and build improved solutions, and Bubble PAPR has emerged from this activity.

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust is an NHS Acute Foundation Trust which operates nine hospitals throughout Greater Manchester (including the Wythenshawe Hospital) and employs over 20,000 staff.

Dr Brendan McGrath is a consultant at Wythenshawe Hospital and also leads the University of Manchester Academic Critical Care Research Group (MACC).

Fellow consultant Dr Cliff Shelton is a clinical academic with extensive experience of PPE evaluation implementation and training and works closely with the Trust’s Infection Prevention and Control team.

James Corden is a Senior Project Manager at MFT and played a key role in the Steering Group team.

Designing Science is a product design company focused on supporting and enabling medical technology development within the university and start-up sector. The Designing Science team is led by Patrick Hall and includes Andrew Forbes and Andy Spragg. On Bubble PAPR, the team is being assisted by Nicholas Duggan of Viadynamics (a leading innovation agency) who is managing the interactions with potential licensees.

The University of Manchester is a world leading centre for research and development. It has a history of science and technology development from splitting the atom to the world’s first programmable computer and more recently the discovery of graphene. Prof. Jackie Oldham, director of MIMIT, was instrumental in assembling and coordinating the team that developed Bubble PAPR. This included Dr Glen Cooper, a Senior Lecturer from the School of Engineering at the University of Manchester, who brings his expertise to help refine and optimise the engineering performance of Bubble PAPR.


The development team would like to thank all the early funders of this project, specifically Manchester Oxford Road Corridor, MIMIT, the University of Manchester (EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account) and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

Their financial support has been gratefully received and enabled the development of Bubble PAPR.


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