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Engineering at the Life Sciences Interface

Strategic Outlook

The interface between engineering, the life sciences and medicine presents a significant, complex and multi-disciplinary field of opportunity and challenge for our nation.  The Scottish research base has major strengths across a wide range of engineering and technology areas where application to the research fields and key areas of challenge across the life sciences can produce major impact and benefits to society. These include medical devices and technologies; imaging and photonics; diagnostics; assistive and interventional healthcare technologies and synthetic biology. The research excellence and critical mass offered by SRPe can make a substantial difference for Scottish and UK science, industry and healthcare and Scotland is well positioned to benefit from a number of real opportunities and initiatives within this theme within a global market. To deliver truly innovative solutions beyond incremental advancements it is essential to have strongly integrated research and development with good links between the NHS, academic and commercial sectors active in healthcare research and delivery.


Our sub-themes align with the grand challenges and opportunities at the interface between engineering, the life sciences and medicine and their application sectors. They align with the strengths and capabilities of Scotland across the interface between engineering, the life sciences and medicine and the opportunities for growth and synergy which can be catalysed by adopting a pan-Scotland SRPe collaborative approach across the university research sector with industry and the public sector. They reflect the challenges and opportunities that exist today and are anticipated for the future based on knowledge of megatrends (e.g. population growth, growing demand for customised products; ageing population and workforce; changing skills needs), technological trends / innovations (emerging and disruptive technologies e.g. the Internet of Things (IoT); digitalisation & scale-up), emerging policies and opportunities for economic growth and socio-economic impact. 

SRPe's Sub-Themes within the Engineering at the Life Sciences Interface theme are:

  • Healthcare Technologies and Devices of the Future

  • Improving Patient, Consumer and Clinician Experience

  • Smart Technology for Global Transformation and Inclusion

  • Innovation Pipeline for Medical Industries

Key Underpinning Research & Technology Areas

The key research and technology areas underpinning the Engineering at the Life Sciences Interface theme are:

  • Data & Digital Technologies

  • Medical Devices & Technologies

  • Sensors & Measurement Technologies

  • Imaging & Photonics

  • Assistive and Interventional Healthcare Technologies (Including robotics)

  • Tissue Engineering & Synthetic Biology

  • Micro-electronics (including MEMS)

  • Diagnostics & Therapeutic Imaging

  • Advanced Manufacturing

  • Advanced Materials

  • Modelling & Computation

  • Synthetic Biology

  • Environment Engineering and Sustainability

  • Health Economic Assessment

  • Life Sciences 

Thematic Leadership Group

The SRPe Engineering at the Life Sciences Interface Thematic Leadership Group (ELSI-TLG) is a national strategic research resource that provides expertise to government, industry and the wider UK and international research community.

The ELSI-TLG membership comprises key experts from across Scotland's leading universities delivering world-class research and development at the interface between engineering and medical / life sciences and its underpinning technology areas.

Leadership and membership details of the ELSI-TLG are provided below:


Professor Patricia Connolly
Professor Biomedical Engineering /
Director of the Strathclyde Institute of Medical Devices
University of Strathclyde


Professor Iain Gibson
Professor of Biomaterials & Regenerative Medicine
University of Aberdeen

Professor Jos Derksen
Research Group Leader for Chemical and Materials Engineering
University of Aberdeen

Professor Andreas Melzer
Director of the Institute for Medical Science and Technology
University of Dundee

Dr Srinjoy Mitra
Senior Lecturer Electronic Engineering
University of Edinburgh

Professor Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez
Chair of Biomedical Engineering
University of Glasgow

Professor Jim Woodburn
Interim Director of Institute for Applied Health
Glasgow Caledonian University

Dr Uwe Wolfram
Assistant Professor School of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Heriot-Watt University

Professor Bernard Conway
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
University of Strathclyde

Dr Caroline Cantley
Executive Director
Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering (SRPe)