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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T015683/1
Title: GCRF Translation Awards
Principal Investigator: Thomas, Professor PA
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Warwick
Scheme: UKRI
Starts: 01 October 2019 Ends: 31 March 2021 Value (£): 757,928
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
14 Aug 2019 GCRF GRTA Panel19 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The Warwick GCRF GRTA will deliver two focussed interventions, fully aligned with our strategy, in Nepal (LDC) and Brazil (UMIC).

Work Package 1 with an initial focus on Nepal, is a programme to produce "Affordable High-Quality Hearing Aids for LMICs" in collaboration with the INF Ear Hospital in Pokhara Nepal, which will finalise development and test the world's first hearing aid (HA) that meets both the WHO's target unit cost (3% of GDP/capita) for low-middle income countries (LMICs) and UK NHS clinical standards. HA chipsets account for approximately 90% of the total cost (Bill of Materials) of a HA. The novel approach taken by the Warwick team has been the re-purposing of chipsets recently developed for ultra-low power implementation of 'always on' artificial intelligence algorithms. When combined with proprietary algorithms these new generation of chips are now sufficiently advanced to be capable of competing with specialist Application Specific HA chips at reduced cost.

Specific to investment from this award the project will (1) achieve a reduction in the cost of Hearing Aid (HA) chipsets; (2) develop an FDA and CE certified device (the recognised global standards for medical devices); (3) in collaboration with the INF Ear Hospital in Pokhara Nepal, develop HA fitting procedures that are congruent with the availability and skills of clinical staff in LMICs, (4) expand ear care services to rural communities in Nepal.

At the present time the incidence of hearing loss is approximately two-to-three times that in high-income countries, the WHO predict that by 2030, hearing loss will become the World's 7th highest burden of disease ahead of HIV, neonatal infections and diarrheal disease. HA technology leads to greater financial independence and improve access to mainstream education addressing UN SDG 1 (End Poverty) and SDG 4 (Universal Education) and also aligns with World Health Assembly resolution WHA60.29 , which urges member states "To collect, verify, update and exchange information on health technologies, in particular medical devices, as an aid to their prioritization of needs and allocation of resources".

Work package 2 is targeted at developing, deploying and evaluating a mobile application and community-based intervention to increase the resilience of flood-prone communities around several cities across the territory in Brazil, in close partnership with Cemaden, the National Disaster Monitoring and Early-Warning Centre in Brazil. This work package builds upon the results of a previous Global Research Challenges Fund award in which the partners have developed and piloted a methodology to engage schools, flood-prone communities and local governments in the production and circulation of flood-related data to improve flood resilience. This methodology has been successfully piloted and is being currently applied in two schools of the cities of São Paulo and Rio Branco in Brazil and there is a need to expand this to other flood-prone communities of 43000 areas in 1000 different municipalities across Brazil.

Specific to investment from this award the project will be (1) development of a mobile app to allow school students and citizens living in flood-prone communities to generate data about local impacts of flooding, whilst fostering social learning on flood risks and adaptive strategies.(2) development of guidelines and materials for schools and local stakeholders to implement flood resilience interventions in prone communities based on the mobile app and on the integration of this with contents related to climate change adaptation and disaster early-warning of the school curriculum. (3) roll out the mobile app and interventions for the flood-prone communities to 81 schools across Brazil. (4) Perform a rigorous monitoring and evaluation of the impacts of the community-based research interventions to improve flood resilience, and disseminate results within Latin America.
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Organisation Website: http://www.warwick.ac.uk