THE University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) has appointed Chris Hopkins, Head of Clinical Engineering at Hywel Dda University Health Board, and a Consultant Clinical Scientist, as a Professor of Practice.

The title of Professor of Practice is bestowed upon an individual to honour and recognise that person for having attained academic and/or professional distinction in those disciplines, which are aligned with the strategic intentions of the University.

Chris, from Roch in Pembrokeshire, is based at Withybush Hospital, in Haverfordwest, and is a registered Clinical Scientist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), a Consultant Clinical Scientist and a Fellow of the Academy for Healthcare Science. 

He has more than 24 years’ experience in clinical science and engineering within NHS Wales, including at Swansea Bay University Health Board, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, and most recently Hywel Dda UHB.

Chris, who leads Hywel Dda UHB’s recently-established TriTech Institute, the new healthcare engineering innovation institute in Wales, will be affiliated with the University’s Wales Institute of Science and Art (WISA), and its Assistive Technologies Innovation Centre (ATiC) will be a key academic partner in TriTech.

Chris is currently working with ATiC, which is part of the £24m Accelerate Wales programme co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, to develop a number of exemplar projects across a range of medical devices and products, including a real-world evaluation of the efficacy and impact of a novel bioelectronic device for chronic and acute pain management.

They also hope to collaborate in the near future on the second phase of an industry-funded research project on Smart Infusion Pumps, the first phase outcomes of which Chris has recently submitted to the Global Clinical Engineering Conference, Florida 2021.

Chris said: “It’s such a great honour to be receiving this award. It is something that is really close to my heart as I started my academic life in Llanelli many years ago. I have had a close relationship with UWTSD growing up in the area, so it is fantastic to be affiliated with the Wales Institute of Science and Art and I am very much looking forward to expanding on our research interests over the coming years.”

Barry Liles OBE, PVC & Head of the Wales Institute of Science and Art, UWTSD, said: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Chris to the role of Professor of Practice at the University and look forward to his engagement with not only the ATIC project but across the University as a whole, benefitting from his wealth of knowledge and experience in a sector key to the University’s future development.”

Dr Sean Jenkins, ATiC Principal Innovation Fellow, added: “We warmly congratulate Chris on the conferment of the title Professor of Practice, which further strengthens the University and ATiC’s relationship with Chris, the TriTech Institute, and Hywel Dda UHB.

“We are delighted to engage in further collaboration with Chris and Hywel Dda UHB through the new TriTech Institute. This partnership has already seen the establishment of a year-long secondment of a clinical scientist, Billy Woods, who recently joined ATiC’s complement of Innovation Fellows. 

“Billy and TriTech will work with the ATiC team to develop new research, development and innovation opportunities, to bring demonstrable healthcare benefits to NHS patients in Wales.”

With an early career in the RAF as a Telecommunication Engineer and then Chief Calibration Engineer at Haven Automation Ltd, Chris progressed to the role of Senior Medical Engineering Specialist at Swansea Bay UHB in 1996.  

In 2006, he became the Medical Device Training Manager at Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB, and from 2010 to 2013, he was Head of Clinical Engineering. Later in 2013, he became the Scientific Lead in Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB, and in 2014 he became General Manager of Scheduled Care in Hywel Dda UHB.

In 2017, he became interim Head of Clinical Engineering at Hywel Dda UHB, moving to a substantive position in 2019, having managerial and professional responsibility for Clinical Engineering services across the health board.

Chris continues to contribute to the National School of Healthcare Science agenda, supporting the education, training and development of all healthcare scientists from apprentices to scientific consultant grade.

He actively participates as a Clinical Scientist/STP assessor within the Academy of Healthcare Science (ACHS) and External Moderator Examiner for the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) throughout the UK.