St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences Gets New Endowed Professorship for Applied Biomechanics in Rehabilitation Research
The endowed professorship pursues the mission of optimising patient care within the framework of rehabilitation through the application of innovative technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence, thus making a substantial contribution to faster and better rehabilitation. The professorship provides a long-term enhancement of the existing research focus on motor rehabilitation at the St. Pölten UAS and the training in the field of physiotherapy.
Gait abnormalities and other motor disorders are frequently occurring problems across all age groups. These conditions not only constitute an enormous socio-economic burden but also have an impact on the lives of those affected by them. The quantitative evaluation and diagnosis of movement disorders is of paramount importance for the planning of targeted and adequate treatment strategies.
“The work we do and the newly created professorship strengthen the focus on the active and passive human musculoskeletal system, and all other aspects that can impact motor performance, in particular those relating to orthopaedic, neurological and neuro-orthopaedic causes. Technological innovations provide a major potential to meet challenges in rehabilitation“, explains Brian Horsak, who coordinates the specialisation motor rehabilitation at the St. Pölten UAS.
Milestone for the St. Pölten UAS and the Region
“This endowed professorship marks yet another decisive milestone in our development and entrusts us with the important task of continuing our forward-thinking research into optimising movement rehabilitation by exploiting the opportunities of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and digital sensor technology. We also perceive the professorship as a great honour for the pioneering work at the interface of health care and digitalisation that our researchers have achieved so far“, says Hannes Raffaseder, Chief Research and Innovation Officer at the St. Pölten UAS.
“On the one hand, the endowed professorship sends the important signal that universities of applied sciences also yield exceptional research. On the other hand, it provides us with the opportunity to implement the St. Pölten UAS’s principle to closely combine research and teaching even better“, says Andrea Kdolsky, Head of the Department of Health Sciences at the St. Pölten UAS.
“The funding contribution to the endowed professorship at the St. Pölten UAS shows once again that our researchers and lecturers are among the leading experts in their fields. I congratulate all participants on this success that strengthens St. Pölten as a location of education and research“, adds UAS Executive Director Gernot Kohl.
Modern Diagnosis and Therapy
The application of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual or augmented reality, or motion capturing technologies for the three-dimensional quantification of movement offers enormous potential for supporting and further developing diagnosis and therapy. For many years, the St. Pölten UAS has been directing its competencies towards the interface of rehabilitation and digitalisation: in 2016, a corresponding specialisation was created at the CDHI – Centre for Digital Health Innovation, which will soon be expanded through the currently built Digital Health Lab. Furthermore, the St. Pölten UAS is already undertaking several funded research projects with relevant cooperation partners.
Incorporating the disciplines of digitalisation and rehabilitation research, the endowed professorship aims to deepen this specialisation, which is primarily devoted to the following areas of research: personalised medicine in rehabilitation, explainable AI, augmented and virtual reality, and osteoarthritis research.
The endowed professorship is designed to ensure that the St. Pölten can allocate sufficient resources and competencies in terms of personnel and infrastructure to these areas of research. This will enable the long-term establishment of the research specialisation “Applied Biomechanics in Rehabilitation Research“ of the highest scientific quality in teaching and research in Lower Austria – the only such research specialisation in the whole of Austria. By closely combining research and teaching, new findings and methods go directly into teaching, being passed on to the next generation of physiotherapists.
The position of the endowed professorship as well as other positions in support of the corresponding specialisation will be posted soon. The endowed professorship is funded by the Province of Lower Austria through the Lower Austrian Research and Education Association (NFB). The position is one of two newly created endowed professorships in Lower Austria.