The award is a new initiative from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in association with the Wellcome Trust. It is the first time in the UK people and projects that are helping to inform and transform the quality of life and wellbeing using arts and humanities led research are to be recognised by a major award.
Professor Macdonald has been nominated for his ground-breaking work in the areas of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) and anti microbial resistance (AMR).
Over the last five years Macdonald and his team of researchers at the GSA have been working with academics from other institutions across the UK and with medical professionals using design and computer technology to help raise awareness of the spread of Healthcare Associated Infections with health professionals.
One major project, VisionOn, included the development a tablet-based infection prevention control training tool which uses visualisation techniques to raise awareness about how pathogens spread in the hospital environment.
150 NHS staff (cleaners, nurses and doctors) helped to test the tool, which proved particularly effective in reinforcing understanding of how HAIs occur and offered staff a new perspective on pathogens – being able to ‘see’ them contextualised in a virtual ward setting made them ‘seem more real’.
Macdonald and experts in 3D visualisation and virtual reality from GSA SimVis are now partnering with the University of Surrey and Fitzpatrick Referrals, the practice run by supervet, Noel Ftizpatrick, to develop a tool to help change perceptions of risk and raise awareness of the conditions that can lead to the spread of microbial infections in the complex setting of the veterinary practice.
This is one of three GSA-led AMR research projects which together were awarded £600,000 of Arts and Humanities Research Council funding last year.
Professor Macdonald said: “Design has a fundamental role to play in in health and care. This best research nomination recognises how a collaborative design-led approach can have a significant impact on human and animal healthcare practices.”
“The nomination also recognises the input of all the people who have helped in the research from fellow academics with whom the GSA has worked to the hospital and veterinary staff who helped us develop and test the tools.”
The winners of five individual categories and of the overall winner of the Humanities Health Medal will be awarded on Tuesday, September 11.