Four Arts University Bournemouth students design new NHS research bus

‘It’s very rewarding’: We spoke to the AUB students who designed the South West’s new NHS research bus


Four students at Arts University Bournemouth have designed a new NHS research bus which will help deliver health and care research to underserved areas and communities across Dorset, Hampshire and South Wiltshire.

Lenya Hulford-Greig, Thomas Roberts, Annika Shaill and Lucas Thompson-McClure were selected from their interior architecture and design course at AUB to create the design for the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), which is a partner of the NHS.

The buses carry “everything needed to deliver research on the road”, which will make it easier than ever for patients and members of the public to take part. Their first use will include an innovative asthma study and a dementia trial.

Each of the students were in their first year when the collaboration started, and they all took on different roles in the design and development, from creating visuals for presentations and videos, to direct communication with NIHR.

via AUB

One of the key elements of the project was the creation of the bus mascot, Maxwell, designed by Thomas. He said: “I created this DNA strand and I was like, hold on, this could be a little little figure. I put a head in and I made it more of an embodied form.

“Maxwell was a name that summarises the two core symbols that it’s made up of: maximum (the plus) and well-being (of the heart), so that worked very well.”

Annika spoke of them wanting to create a different design that hasn’t been seen before. She said: “We wanted to create a design that was a bit more outside the box and not traditionally seen on previous NHS vehicles and NHS designs.”

The bus was unveiled at a launch event occurring on Friday 2nd February in Southampton. The students gave a presentation as part of the launch, explaining the design process, from concept to creation, to an audience of around 80 people.

via AUB

Lenya described how she felt seeing the bus in person at the lunch: “It was so surreal to see something we’ve been working on since last year, and seeing it in person was just a bit crazy.”

Annika added: “It was really surreal.”

via AUB

Lucas described how it felt to be part of a project that will have such an impact on communities: “It’s very rewarding knowing that this is our first project. Hearing stories about how much these will go towards something good, and knowing that your bus design could have potentially got that one person in that needed to do the research, for them to find out that this certain medicine works a certain way in a certain community.”

“It’s just really rewarding to think about, and you’ve done something that’s going to really impact the future of health.”

The four students have taken away skills including public speaking, client experience and communication, with Thomas describing the experience as “amazing”.

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Featured image via AUB