Imperial’s proposal for a new Medical Device Prototype and Manufacture Unit has won £1.7m funding from EPRSC.
The grant will create a world-leading manufacturing facility aiming to enable breakthroughs in musculoskeletal health research. Dr Jonathan Jeffers from the Department of Mechanical Engineering is the Principal Investigator on the project, working with a cross-departmental team of researchers from the departments of Surgery and Cancer, Materials, Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering and in partnership with Renishaw plc, the only UK manufacturer of powder bed fusion additive manufacture machines.
The Unit’s two additive manufacture machines will make implants and smart instruments with features from the millimetre to the sub-micron scale. The facility will also include nano CT and digital 3D microscopy for inspecting the manufactured parts and investigating their interaction with the human body.
Musculoskeletal disorders are one of the largest expenditures in the NHS budget, due to our musculoskeletal system’s inability to keep up with increases in life expectancy in the last 150 years.
The Imperial team’s vision is for lifelong musculoskeletal health by identifying problems early in life and making small interventions to correct them before they become chronic. The new manufacturing facility will use state-of-the-art technology and groundbreaking materials to produce devices for early intervention.
“Engineers have a tremendous responsibility to apply science in a way that improves the health and wealth of the nation. It is imperative that we take technology out of the laboratory and put it in the surgeon’s hands. This exciting award gives us the tools and now we’ll finish the job”, says Dr Jeffers. The project is due to start in September 2018.
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