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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X025187/1
Title: Extending the clinical reach of MRI scanning through innovative low-field engineering and hyperpolarised xenon technology
Principal Investigator: Wild, Professor J
Other Investigators:
Stewart, Dr N Marshall, Dr H Ford, Professor KL
Norquay, Dr G Collier, Dr G J H
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
GE Healthcare
Department: Infection Immunity & Cardiovasc Disease
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2023 Ends: 30 June 2027 Value (£): 1,001,621
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip. Medical Imaging
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
15 Nov 2022 Prosperity Partnership Round 5 Full Proposal Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Most magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners used in hospitals operate at a magnetic field strength of either 1.5T or 3T. Research scanners used for advanced imaging applications can have a magnetic field of 7T or higher. However, the build, installation and running costs of these "high field" imaging systems scales with the magnetic field strength. This limits the accessibility and reach of MRI as a versatile and clinically-useful imaging modality. Recent technological advances in artificial intelligence for high-quality image reconstruction pioneered by GE Healthcare (GEHC) with their AIRTM Recon DL product, alongside radiofrequency coil and scanner system engineering developments, make a strong case to revisit "low-field" MRI; e.g. 0.5T. In parallel, novel technologies - such as hyperpolarised 129Xe gas MRI for the lungs pioneered at the University of Sheffield (UoS) - are poised to help maximise the clinical relevance of low-field MRI by providing information on physiology that cannot be visualised by other imaging modalities. In particular, lung MRI is a field of rapid development that will realise benefits at low field; the recent COVID pandemic has highlighted the real and present clinical need for more sensitive lung imaging technologies.

This EPSRC prosperity partnership will take the 12-year strong collaboration between UoS and GEHC to the next level through a synergistic research programme that capitalises on the strengths of both partners. Our programme will focus on two main themes:

(i) The development and integration of hardware and software needed to achieve clinically-useful lung MRI on the NHS's most common "high-field" systems.

(ii) Research into low-field MRI physics and engineering, and the development of hardware and software to demonstrate high-quality imaging at low-field.

The work plan for these themes is divided into several work packages, each of which will be led by a team of dedicated experts from either UoS or GEHC with expertise matched to the specific research goals. In addition, this partnership will support four PhD students (three of whom are GEHC staff) to undertake a unique industry-academia co-supervised PhD programme and deliver on demonstrator projects that are distinct yet highly complementary to our main research goals.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk