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Breaking boundaries

Rapid Identification of Infections in Children  

Point of Care Diagnostic Tests 

A research project that has led to an innovative and effective new point of care test to allow rapid, accurate diagnosis of serious bacterial infections in children.

In the early stages serious bacterial infection (SBI) can be difficult to diagnose in children. The research team, including Belfast HSC Trust and Queen’s University, have developed and tested a point of care test called LAMP that allows the rapid, accurate diagnosis of meningococcal disease (MD). The LAMP-MD is in use in the laboratory and is commercially available for point of care testing in Hospital Emergency Departments.

The team has further developed the test for group B streptococcus (GBS), the most common cause of meningitis in newborns, and for Pneumococcus. LAMP-GBS is now available, making it possible to test for GBS in pregnant women during labour, in order to treat only those who require it.

The LAMP technology is inexpensive and simple to use and has clear benefits for diagnosing SBI in developing countries that cannot afford microbiology laboratories. Currently, the McClay Foundation is supporting the field testing of LAMP-GBS in the Malawi.

The LAMP test enables doctors to efficiently diagnose meningococcal disease within an hour.  The test saves lives as well as saving precious time for hospital staff’

Dr James Mc Kenna

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Food Safety 

Inorganic Arsenic in Rice

Following ground-breaking research regarding the levels of inorganic arsenic in rice, this project now aims to develop effective mitigation.

Having first characterised the concern regarding inorganic arsenic, a carcinogen which is highly elevated in rice, Professor Andy Meharg and his Global Food Security team have turned their attention to mitigation.

Strategies include changes in rice farming, preparation and cooking. Through these approaches, up to 80 per cent of inorganic arsenic can be removed from the rice, making it much safer to consume, particularly for young children who are the most at risk. 

As part of the project, the team has worked closely with Bangladesh Agricultural University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“The programme of work greatly reduces the concentrations of a carcinogen in the diet, particularly the diet of young children.  This work has led to new regulations from the EU and the World Health Organisation, setting guidance standards, and it’s changing US laws.”

Professor Andy Meharg

Institute for Global Food Security 


International Sustainable Development and Peacebuilding 

LINKS, the NIHR Global Health Research Group on Early Childhood Development for Peacebuilding  

This project is building an international evidence base to inform work that will reduce the impact of violence on young children and help promote peacebuilding and social cohesion in low and middle income countries (LMICs)

Led by Queen’s University, this NIHR Group involves a strategic partnership with UNICEF and collaborations with Yale, Harvard and New York University. The project is an associate project of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium, and works in partnership with Early Years, the organisation for young children.

The Group includes an international network of researchers from several LMICs that have been affected by ethnic divisions and political violence. 

The network builds research capacity in those countries and supports the development and robust evaluation of Early Childhood Development (ECD) services, thus contributing to the international evidence base on what works in these settings.

For more on this project visit the webpage.

And watch the video here.

"We are delighted to be working in partnership with Queen's University, Yale, Harvard and NYU to help support the development and evaluation of ECD services in low and middle income countries. Peacebuilding is inevitably multifaceted and includes the need to deal with security issues and wider political processes. However, there is already strong and compelling evidence to suggest that it also needs to include investment in children, families and communities."

Dr Rima Salah

Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF

Building International Partnerships

UK-China Consortium on Engineering Education and Research

Building higher education links and helping to improve the quality of engineering research and teaching in China.

The consortium, headed by Queen’s, is the first of its kind to partner the E9 Chinese Excellence League – the top ten engineering institutions in China.

The project, focuses on energy and intelligent manufacturing in support of both countries’ manufacturing ambitions, promoting and facilitating strategic engagement and bilateral cooperation between the UK and China partners.

This partnership develops institutional and professional collaborations in materials development and platforms for the ‘Internet of Things’, producing solutions that work across international and technical boundaries.

In the UK, Queen’s University Belfast works in partnership with Birmingham, Cardiff, Nottingham, UCL and Warwick universities.

Our China Partners are Southeast University, Beijing Institute of Technology, Chongqing University, Dalian University of Technology, Harbin Institute of Technology, Northwestern Polytechnical University, South China University of Technology, Tianjin University and Tongji University.

"With 270 joint programmes, institues, and campuses, the UK and China are already world-leading partners when it comes to transnational education. But if we want to take forward our shared ambitions we need to look beyond institution-to-institution partnerships. We have made this alliance a reality, and in doing so we have placed another milestone on the path of UK-China education collaborationl."

Jazreel Goh

Director of Education

Marketing and Sport, British Council China 

Equipping Future Entrepreneurs

Enterprise SU

Encouraging students to embrace social entrepreneurship and equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to create new businesses. 

Enterprise SU provides a wide range of networks and collaborations with businesses across Northern Ireland that participants engage with, providing 'real world' experience. 

The Students Union has commissioned an Entrepreneur in Residence to provide ongoing support to students. In addition to this, students also have the opportunity to take up a place in ‘The Hatch Student Incubation Space’, which provides free office space for a year and access to expert advice. Both undergraduates and postgraduates are supported during their studies and two years after graduating.


“Enterprise SU empowers students, providing them with the skills and knowledge to equip them for the world of business. This initiative contributes positively to Northern Ireland’s business community, providing graduates from a wide range of degree pathways with business and enterprise skills.”

Kat Maguire

Enterprise and Development Support Officer, 

Queen's University Students' Union