Prof Kneebone profile

Profile: Professor Roger Kneebone

In the second Penny Lecture of the autumn series Professor Roger Kneebone explores the links between the operating theatre and the performance theatre. Here we find out more about Professor Kneebone’s career and work.

Roger Kneebone trained first as a general and trauma surgeon, working both in the UK and in Southern Africa. After finishing his specialist training, he decided to become a general practitioner and joined a large group practice in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. In the 1990s he pioneered an innovative national training programme for minor surgery within primary care, based around intensive workshops using simulated tissue models and a computer-based learning program. In 2003, Roger left his practice to join Imperial.

Roger is committed to education in its widest sense. He established and leads the UK’s only Masters in Education (MEd) in Surgical Education, which started in October 2005. This challenging programme builds on educational theory and practice to explore relationships between the biomedical sciences, the craft of surgery and the humanities and social sciences. In July 2011 he became the first Imperial academic to receive a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship Award.

Much of Roger’s current research focuses on simulation. He leads an unorthodox and creative research group, bringing together clinicians, educationalists, computer scientists, psychologists, social scientists, design engineers and experts from the visual and performing arts. Key research concepts include Hybrid Simulation (the combination of professional actors with inanimate models to create realistic clinical encounters), Distributed Simulation (low-cost, portable yet highly convincing environments such as the ‘inflatable operating theatre’) and Sequential Simulation (concatenated sequences that model clinical pathways from multiple points of view).

Roger publishes widely and speaks frequently at national and international conferences.  He has a wide range of professional interests and is especially interested in collaborative research at the intersections between traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Current work is exploring synergies between clinical care, biomedical science, art, humanities and performance in order to communicate the hidden world of surgery. He is working on innovative projects with the Science Museum, Wellcome Trust and Royal Institution as well as a number of major science festivals.

Roger’s current focus is the theory and practice of engagement. He is committed to outreach and public engagement, leading numerous high profile Festivals and venues to bring simulation into the public domain and highlight both the patients’ and clinicians’ perspectives. The recent award of a prestigious two year Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for him to develop engagement and simulation science within and beyond Imperial.

Professor Kneebone will be giving his Penny Lecture, entitled Performing Surgery: The Theatre of the Theatre, on Thursday 16 October.

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