For the industrial physicist, on the other hand, innovation is something much more immediate, and with a clear financial imperative that demands a return on investment from those R&D dollars. For a few lucky companies, that might mean a game-changing new product, though these are rare and getting rarer. More likely, but equally valid, innovation is about making existing technology "simpler, cheaper and better" for the clinical practitioner/customer.

If it's about anything, then, innovation is about changing the status quo - either in a big way (disruptive innovation) or, more often than not, in some incremental way (sustaining innovation). Sustaining innovation, the kind that's based on targeted improvements to existing equipment lines or diagnostic/therapeutic methodologies, is the stuff of everyday working life for medical physicists, whether in the university laboratory, in clinical practice or product design and development in industry.

If you're not convinced, take a look through the abstracts of the 1000-plus conference papers presented at the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) meeting in Orlando, Florida, earlier this month. Here, all manner of sustaining innovation provides the defining theme, bridging the multiple subdisciplines of medical physics. Out in the market-place, meanwhile, three days walking and talking the aisles at the AAPM trade exhibition proved to this correspondent that sustaining innovation is the glue that binds equipment makers - large and small - to the customer base. It was right there in the slick multimedia booth presentations, just as it was in the one-to-one sales conversations in nearby coffee houses, restaurants and bars.

In the same way, innovation lies at the heart of the collective conversation we're trying to encourage here at medicalphysicsweb. For the editorial team, the task is clear: to make this website the principal hub through which the medical physics community and its related biomedical disciplines forge high-value connections. To do that, we will be endeavouring to make sure that our core competency - like yours - is innovation: the fundamental science that makes it possible, the people who make it happen and the applications that, ultimately, make it worthwhile from a wider clinical and commercial perspective. So read on, sign up and pass the URL on to your colleagues if you like what you see.