Dr Neil Vaughan is Winner of EPSRC UK ICT Pioneers 2014

Dr Neil Vaughan has been announced as the winner of UK ICT Pioneer 2014. The competition was organised by the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The winning award was within the category: Impact of novel and emerging ICT on society. Dr Neil Vaughan is currently post-doctoral researcher from Data Science Institute, Bournemouth University.

The winners of the prestigious national competition for researchers who are pioneers in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) were announced last night on 30th June 2014 at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London.

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Fifteen researchers showcased the commercial potential and business impact of their research, at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Research Exhibition and Awards Ceremony, before the three finalists were awarded cash prizes of £2,000.

The EPSRC have published photos of Dr Neil Vaughan receiving the ceremony award on the EPSRC Facebook page. Further news and coverage from the awards was published on the EPSRC website.

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These pioneering ICT researchers demonstrate why the UK is an excellent place to do research. Progress within ICTresearch will drive forward innovative technologies for the benefit of us all, said Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive ofEPSRC.

The competition recognises the most exceptional UK PhD students in ICT-related subjects who are able to communicate and demonstrate the excellence and exploitation of their research.

The 2014 competition is being sponsored by EPSRC and industry sponsors: Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl); Hewlett Packard (HP); ARM Holdings; the British Computing Society (BCS); and BT.

Transforming Society Category:

Impact of novel and emerging ICT on society

Winner: Neil Vaughan, Bournemouth University

Epidurals are administered every two minutes in the UK however 3 per cent of patients get injuries. The procedure involves inserting an 8cm needle into the spine. Paralysing injuries cause the NHS significant insurance costs. My PhD aims to develop a virtual reality computer based patient-specific epidural simulator. This provides realistic, accurate, immersive experience to enhance epidural skills for anaesthetists, reducing patient injuries and NHS costs. This patient-specific simulator allows practice with obese patients of all body sizes, applying a data-driven approach using measured pressures from actual patients. My pioneering wireless sterile electronic epidural devices are already being used for clinical trials at Poole Hospital with obstetric patients. This trial has pioneered identification of how body mass affects needle insertion force, which allowed our creation of the first epidural simulator to model patients with various weight, height and BMI. I have developed all electronics and software models of human tissues including organs, ligament, fat, bone and skin with deformable soft and hard materials modelling.

Global target markets for these training platforms and developed medical devices include the NHS, private hospitals, medical training schools, university hospitals with opportunities for commercial partners. These devices enhance epidural training, significantly reducing NHS costs and risks of patient injury, said Neil.


  • James Bannock, EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Plastic Electronics at Imperial College London
  • Oliver Britton, Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford
  • Robert Merrison-Hort, School of Computing and Mathematics at Plymouth University
  • Jacques Carolan, Centre for Quantum Photonics at the University of Bristol
  • Neil Vaughan, Bournemouth University