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Clinical wet wipes project cleans up at Innovation Awards

A partnership which developed clinical wet wipes to tackle hospital ‘superbug’ infections has been named the People’s Choice at Cardiff University’s Innovation and Impact Awards 2015, sponsored by leading law firm Geldards and IP Group.

The partnership has helped GAMA, a UK market leader in clinical wet wipes, develop new products whilst increasing the University’s international reputation in infection control.

GAMA required clinical proof that their antimicrobial wipes were effective against the so-called ‘superbug’, Clostridium difficile.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) grant was awarded by Innovate UK and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs which allowed GAMA to use the University’s knowhow to set up and run clinical trials, train staff and develop in-house R&D capability.

Microbiologist Harsha Siani, the KTP Associate, transferred scientific knowledge and expertise from Cardiff University into GAMA, helping to ensure the company’s products complied with EU regulations and met stringent test conditions which better reflected product use.

Presenting the People’s Choice Award to GAMA healthcare, Dr Andrew Goodall, Chief Executive NHS Wales, said: “It has been a real pleasure to attend, and even more pleasing to see four of the five awards have gone to projects from the healthcare sector. This really demonstrates the vital importance of innovation to the NHS in Wales.”

Receiving the Award, Professor Jean-Yves Maillard, from Cardiff University’s School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, said: “We are delighted to win this Award. Our project shows how researchers can interact with industry ‘in the real world’ to create innovation with impact. We helped to ensure a product used as part of an infection control regimen in healthcare settings can make a difference and help infection control against troublesome pathogens.”

Guy Braverman, Director and Co-Founder of GAMA Healthcare said: “The award is wonderful recognition of the great support we received from Cardiff University, not just in terms of enhancing our knowledge but in terms of practically embedding capability that enables us to continue as a UK market leader. Working with Cardiff University has enabled us to be an integral part of innovative research.”

The project also picked up the Business Innovation prize at the Awards, which celebrated four other winning finalists.

A team of mathematical modellers who use data to save lives picked up an award for Innovation in Healthcare. The experts, led by Professor Paul Harper, School of Mathematics, study queues and flows in hospitals to help improve NHS services, cut waiting times, and improved access to care.

An Innovation Policy Award went to research which has shown how best to support families of loved ones with severe brain injuries. Professor Jenny Kitzinger (Cardiff University) and her sister and colleague Professor Celia Kitzinger (University of York) translated accounts of catastrophic brain injury into a multi-media online support/training resource.

The Social Innovation Award went to University researchers who helped change the lives of homeless young people. The team worked with Llamau, a leading charity that supports homeless young people and vulnerable women in Wales. They developed new screening techniques to help Llamau staff identify ‘at risk’ warning signs and deliver effective support services.

The Innovation in Sustainability Award went to a team who designed a smart house that produces more energy than it uses. In a bid to meet targets for zero carbon housing, Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Architecture developed the first low-cost energy positive house – the first to combine reduced energy demand, building integrated renewable energy supply and energy storage.