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News The Staffordshire Conference on Clinical Biomechanics goes virtual

The international conference takes place across 1 - 2 May

The conference will take place completely online
Image: The conference will take place completely online

“A lot of conferences have been cancelled but we didn’t want the coronavirus to stop us going ahead. We have never had this many delegates sign up before – hosting the conference online has made it much more accessible to researchers across the world.

Nachi Chockalingam, Professor of Clinical Biomechanics

An international conference showcasing the latest research on problems affecting our musculoskeletal system and advances in assistive devices and technologies is being hosted completely online this week.

Now in its 18th year, the annual Staffordshire Conference on Clinical Biomechanics attracts keynote speakers from across the world and usually takes at place at Staffordshire University’s Stoke-on-Trent campus.

After successful live-streaming from the conference last year, organisers Dr Aoife Healy and Professor Nachi Chockalingam decided to move this year’s event fully online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move has proved popular, attracting 250 delegates from 22 countries, and the event taking place over 1 - 2 May promises to be the biggest and best yet.

Professor Chockalingam said: “A lot of conferences have been cancelled but we didn’t want the coronavirus to stop us going ahead. We have never had this many delegates sign up before – hosting the conference online has made it much more accessible to researchers across the world.

“Last year the live-stream was a great success and made the transition to online much easier. Our regular attendees will of course miss the social side but hopefully increasing our delegate numbers this year means that even more people will attend in person next time.”

Staffordshire University Vice-Chancellor Professor Liz Barnes CBE will introduce the conference which includes a range of biomechanics work, from lab-based science research to frontline benefits for patients.

Highlights include latest research on orthotic support for children with cerebral palsy, designed to improve their mobility. The project was led by Nicola Eddison, Principle Orthotist at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, and the biomechanics team at Staffordshire University.

This new approach, trialled with families in the West Midlands, is tailored to suit the individual needs of a child and proved to give them more energy to play or be physically active for longer periods of time.

Other invited speakers include USA-based Tom Kepple from C-Motion, Inc. who will share work which brings next generation markerless motion capture technology out of the academic arena and into the real world of professional baseball.

The conference offers an exciting programme ranging from tendon biomechanics to microcirculation. Whilst Dr Andy Franklyn-Miller from SSC Sports Medicine, Ireland will explore how biomechanically driven gait re-education can be used to alleviate sports injuries and leg pain, Michael Rexing (from Human Study, Germany) will present new approaches to lower limb orthotics.

Each presentation will be live followed by a live Q&A session and Professor Chockalingam believes there are definite advantages to hosting the conference virtually.

“Wherever they may be in the world, delegates have the flexibility of either watching the conference live or catching up with the recordings afterwards.”

He added: “This conference is all about encouraging students and early career researchers to present their work and to introduce them to academia. Going online gives them a platform to reach a global audience, which is a fantastic opportunity.”

Delegate places are still available for the Staffordshire Conference on Clinical Biomechanics 2020, which takes place on Friday 1 May - Saturday 2 May. Find more information and details of how to register here.

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