Diagnostic radiographer wins research grant for Manchester Metropolitan University

James McStravick, who also sits on the SoR Research Advisory Group, and team have been awarded £400,000 to research healthy ageing

Published: 19 February 2024 Researchers

Diagnostic radiographer James McStravick and his team have been awarded a research grant of £400,000, which will go to the Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Sport (IoS) to research healthy ageing.

Mr McStravick is a co-applicant on the grant and also sits on the SoR Research Advisory Group.

This grant, provided by the Wolfson Foundation, will support new equipment and a biomedical imaging laboratory, the ACTIVE lab, which will enhance research in human movement and how it is affected in people with dementia, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.

Specialist imaging

The specialist imaging equipment will enhance the current MRI scanner at the IoS. The lab will also allow researchers to track changes in blood oxygenation and volume from certain diseases, simulate new environments to study psychological impact in virtual reality, use motion capture to monitor movement, and use respiratory equipment to research fatigue.

This is the first such award the university has received from Wolfson, which grants funding to “promote excellence in science and medicine, health, education, and the arts and humanities”.

The ACTIVE lab will be complete in July and will help the IoS tackle the challenges of an ageing population in mobility, social connection, dementia, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases as well as chronic fatigue.

New discoveries in the lab will help shape and inform public policy and health practice in the city-region and nationally. 

'How we can live well as we grow older'

Malcolm Press CBE, vice-chancellor and professor at Manchester Metropolitan University said: “We’re very grateful to the Wolfson Foundation for this award – the university’s first – which represents an ambitious milestone for Manchester Met as we focus on delivering research with impact as part of our Road to 2030 strategy. 

“We live in an increasingly ageing society and the Institute of Sport is pivotal in helping us to understand how we can live well as we grow older, working alongside partners in the public and health sectors.” 

Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Sport is a sporting and health hub in the heart of Manchester. It provides support and research for elite sporting organisations and the university’s student athletes. The centre also works with health organisations and communities to support wider healthy living and ageing.  

'An increasingly ageing population'

Professor Nick Brook, pro-vice-chancellor for research at Manchester Met, added: “As a university, we are incredibly proud of how we support and transform health – using our research to tackle the challenges we face as a society. 

“We have an increasingly ageing population and with that comes many obstacles, but we are focused on overcoming these so people can continue to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. 

“ACTIVE will be working closely with the NHS, local and national government, and policy makers to ensure that the research that takes place there can have a meaningful and direct impact on people’s lives.” 

It is anticipated that the number of people in the UK aged 65 or over will increase by 35 per cent from 12.5 million in 2020 to 15.9 million in 2040, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

(Image: James McStravick, operating the IoS MRI scanner)